Germany, Greece and Diaspora Perspectives 

Grigoris Aggelidis MdB Delivers Keynote Speech in Athens

Four years has been far too long without the liberals in the Bundestag. Nevertheless, it proved enough time for FDP to restart the party, renew its social contract and allow new, dynamic members emerge and convey the liberal message across Germany and the entire Europe. One exemplary case is Mr Grigorios Aggelidis (MdB) from Hannover. Born in Neustadt, the son of immigrants from Greece, Aggelidis represents the new and promising political staff of the liberal family. A banker, an active member of civil society and the President of FC Walker, he entered politics to defend hope and freedom in what he considered a stagnant social environment. He joined the party only in 2012 and by 2017 he was elected Member of the Bundestag, where he currently serves as the vice-chairman of the Committee on Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.

 

On Wednesday, July 17, the Greek office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom had the honour to welcome him and his family in Athens, at a very special evening with distinguished liberal guests. A few years after the last time a German FDP parliamentarian addressed the Greek audience, Mr Aggelidis presented his views about the future of liberalism in Europe, his vision for Germany and the potential contribution to Greece from abroad.

He began his speech with a quote from Pericles: “The secret of happiness is freedom, and the secret of freedom is courage,” to continue highlighting the value of individual responsibility for social progress. Next, he said that the actual question is how Europe can give the opportunity to Greece to become a competitive state with a sound economic basis, strong institutions and properly reformed. “If we provide the fertile environment, the people, the individuals, will find the way to thrive and prosper,” he added. The second hot issue, and something that concerns him personally, is to find a way to help the Greek citizens and the small and medium enterprises in ways that make new jobs and increase their income, without bringing advantage to governments and political systems who don’t work to the right direction. “It took tough reforms and mentality change to make Germany what it is today, a great economy not only in Europe but also in the world and this is what Greece should do,” he commented.

 

Later, Mr Aggelidis answered to many questions, especially from young people and alumni of the FNF Political Academy, about undemployment, economic development and the refugee crisis. In a question about what Greece should learn from Germany, he did not hesitate to point out the system of education.

The next day, Mr Aggelidis was invited to the prime-time talk show of the National Public Radio (Proto Programma) where he had the opportunity to discuss with anchor-people Mrs Konstantina Dimitrouli and Mr George Pikoulas. When asked if Germany plays the role of the “bugbear” in the EU, he answered a clear “no”, explaining that nobody would align with its proposals, hadn’t they been well reasoned; “We can, however, discuss if some of the implemented policies [the years of the crisis] were right or wrong and I believe that some of them were wrong,” he added. At some point, he was asked to define liberalism, given that in many countries and Greece there are some misconceptions about it. He argued that the core liberal idea says that people are responsible for their own fate but a strong state, with fair rules, is needed to provide the framework. This state has also the role to help the weak citizens in a constructive way, he concluded.

 

 

Dr. Athanasios Grammenos

Project Manager Greece

Liberalism, Politics and Diaspora: Europe’s Success Story 

Liberalism is the advocate of free movement. The opportunities provided in the framework of the European Union have benefited not only the individuals who move to work, study or travel, but also the very states themselves, enriching their societies with new skills and capacities. The emerged European diasporas have become a link of friendship and partnership among states symbolizing how much we can achieve together. They are ambassadors of the European identity and they have the ability to promote political and economic transformation from an institutional and discursive perspective.

In this liberal Europe, the children of immigrants have equal opportunities, even to become a Member of Parliament just like Grigoris Aggelidis MdB, a German politician (FDP) of Greek origin. In this event, we invite him to give us a fresh view about the future of liberalism in Europe and Greece. Moreover, we shall discuss the dimensions in the potential contribution to Greece from abroad. What impact can the Greek diaspora have on the country’s development, in our networked era of globalization? How could the Greeks turn the “brain-drain” to “brain-gain”? What should change and what can be improved in order to make Greece competitive again? In the aftermath of the European elections 2019, Mr Aggelidis will offer the perspective of a Northern European who, nevertheless, is well aware of the Greek situation.

 

Wednesday, 17 July 2019
20:30-23:00

Venue: Hotel Amalia, Roof Garden (7th floor), 10 Amalias Ave., 10557, Athens, Greece

 

20:30 – Welcome
Dr. Athanasios Grammenos

Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit

20:40 – Keyonote Speech
Mr. Grigorios Aggelidis (MdB)

Freie Demokratische Partei (FDP)

21.10-21:30 – Discussion

21:30 Reception

 

If you wish to attend the event, please contact athens@fnst.org.

Another Session Without Liberals 

 

Greece’s conservatives returned to power after a decisive victory in last Sunday’s snap elections. New Democracy (ND), run by Kyriakos Mitsotakis (son of Konstantinos Mitsotakis who served as Prime Minister in the early 1990s, brother of former foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis and uncle to newly elected mayor of Athens Kostas Bakoyannis) has achieved an overwhelming majority in the new parliamentary session with 39,9% and 158 out of 300 seats. It is the first time since 2009 that Greece has a single-party government. “I will be working hard for all the Greeks, even those that did not vote for us. And I will begin immediately because there is no time to waste,” Mitsotakis said. Continue reading

Creating their Future: Young People in Europe 

Presentation and discussion of the book “Young People in Europe” by Young Liberals-Greece

The world is changing rapidly while stereotypes are collapsing. The new generation is seeking new roles and identity, beyond conservative determination and assumptions. In addition, emerging challenges such as climate change and economic inequality are rapidly growing and exceeding expectations.

Certain surveys, such as theEurobarometer-EY2016, emphasize that although young people are not actively involved in politics, they do have a profound political perception. This suggests that while they are concerned with political issues, they do not find fitting political channels of expression. Continue reading

YOUNG PEOPLE IN EUROPE – Η ΘΣΗ ΤΩΝ ΝEΩΝ ΣΤΗΝ ΕΥΡΏΠΗ 

 

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The future is here. The world is changing rapidly while stereotypes are collapsing. The new generation is seeking new roles and identity, beyond the conservative determination and assumptions. The emerging challenges are for the first time greater than the human size: we cannot deal with climate change locally and if we do not deal with it at all, the consequences for humanity will be dramatic; economic inequalities are not met only in countries with economic and political problems but they have reached even the most developed ones and, as they grow, democracy is losing its political substance, facing the threats of populism; security combined with open society was an „experiment“ that worked for years, but now it is considered incompatible from both extremes of the political spectrum, that nowadays see their influence increasing, generating risks for the liberal global order as we knew it.

Certain surveys (see: Eurobarometer-EY2016), emphasise that although young people keep a distance from politics, they do have a profound political perception. This suggests that while they are concerned with political issues, they do not find the most fitting political channels of expression. Here lies the great responsibility for the liberals: we must clearly (re-) articulate our values, especially in the areas of human and civil rights, democracy, social market economy and European integration. It is also crucial to tackle populism in its essence and isolate the elements of the „extreme centre,” that distort the spirit of the theory of liberalism.

At the beginning of its second period in Greece (2012), the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom understood the call of many young people for proper means of conduct for a broad, open,  mature and permanent political discourse that will enlighten and educate democratic, progressive and liberal citizens. Responding to this need, we established a political academy which, since 2013, has been organizing liberal seminars, workshops and conferences throughout the country.

Over the years, hundreds of students, young professionals, journalists and councillors have been trained, many of whom have participated in pan-European forums and events. Continue reading

Call for Applications Greece: Summer Symposium Young Leaders in the Liberal Order 

 

For the Greek version click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When:  July 7-11

Where: Porto Vitilo – Mani, Greece

 

Call for participants

Liberalism is the political theory that supports individual responsibility. If freedom leads to happiness, citizens must be free to pursue their personal goals. The same time, individuals, as social beings, need a robust democratic rule of law should societies grow and prosper.

Continue reading