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

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 

 

Click Image to Open

 

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

FNF Greece: Forging tomorrow’s free marketeers

Entrepreneurship

If liberalism is for free market economy, then entrepreneurship stands at its very core. Innovation, private initiative and economic freedom are the most important elements for an individual to grow and for society to prosper.

Greece may still be in crisis, but many of its people dare to invest on themselves seeking opportunities in entrepreneurship. To support young entrepreneurs getting the fundamentals and implementing their own start-up idea, FNF Greece hosted the “3rd Entrepreneurship Academy” in Xylokastro together with various partner organizations. Michael Iakovidis, Co-Founder of the Greek Liberties Monitor (GLM), participated for a day and presented the GLM/FNF co-production “Greek Crisis Success Stories”. Continue reading

FNF Greece: “Defending Individual Freedoms in Times of Turmoil”

img_3571It is a custom in Greece to welcome the New Year with the cutting of the traditional Greek New Year’s Pie (“Vasilopita”). This year Lakis Gavalas, a well-known and controversial Greek fashion designer whose work is internationally recognized, paid a visit to FNF Greece’s annual Vasilopita event and shared his thoughts on freedom and the arts. Continue reading

FNF Greece: Η ελευθερία της Τέχνης και η τέχνη της ελευθερίας 

Δευτέρα, 30 Ιανουαρίου 2017
20.00-21.30
(ακολουθεί δεξίωση)
Τοποθεσία: Musique Café, Αρριανού 37 & Αρχελάου, 11635, Παγκράτι

capture_001_20012017_12150420.00h – Χαιρετισμός
Αναστάσιος Καραμπογιάς, Απόφοιτος Φιλελεύθερων Σεμιναρίων Νέων

20.15h – Ομιλία
Λάκης Γαβαλάς, Σχεδιαστής μόδας – καλλιτέχνης

Η ελεύθερη έκφραση είναι εκ των ων ουκ άνευ της Τέχνης γι’ αυτό κάθε καλλιτέχνης πρέπει να είναι ελεύθερος να εκθέσει τις ιδέες του χωρίς περιορισμούς ή εμπόδια. Σε μια ταραχώδη εποχή όπως αυτή, η συμβολή των καλλιτεχνών είναι απαραίτητη διότι μπορεί να ρίχνει φως στα κοινωνικά και πολιτικά ζητήματα από μια άλλη οπτική. Continue reading

FNF Greece: Forstering liberal youth activism in difficult environments

hhtj9804FNF’s Liberal Youth Seminars are an integral part of our work in Greece. Young people get educated about liberalism’s core positions and also learn how to promote their ideas effectively. Recently, several graduates from various seminar cycles joined forces to form a liberal youth think-tank. To facilitate their efforts and get them in contact with other European youth organizations, FNF Greece invited some of them to a study trip to Berlin on the occasion of the high-level conference “Re-shaping Europe”. The conference on the future of the European Union took place with the presence of very important speakers, among which the President of the Federal Republic of Germany Joachim GauckContinue reading