ALDE is the group that stands firm for European values. We believe the European Union is a community of values. ALDE believes values are the outcome of ongoing public debate, of the confrontation of ideas and convictions, of a process shaped, directed and owned by citizens themselves. ALDE puts values first.
Whilst we are proud of the European single market we have built, Liberals and Democrats believe the European Union is more than just a market, it has been and must remain a values - based community first and foremost. It is our shared values, even more than our shared interests that bind us together. Values, more than anything, are the very heart of European citizenship and the DNA of European identity. The protection of those values and citizens’ rights and freedoms has always been at the core of our European Liberal Democrat family. Values are the very “raison d’ 'être” of ALDE. Now more than ever before. As authoritarianism and nationalism are on the rise once more, and liberal democracy is under attack both from within and from outside the European Union, Liberals and Democrats will stand up to protect democracy, the rule of law, individual freedoms, fundamental rights and indeed the European project itself. For the very purpose of European integration is safeguarding democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights. They are one and the same, inseparable. In these times of great uncertainty, insecurity and societal turbulence, it is not easy to defend our shared values. But we have not defined our shared values for fair weather conditions only. It is when conditions are rough, that our convictions are put to the test. Democracy is not for cowards.
The European Union is not only an economic powerhouse, but it has great moral authority in the world. We can be proud our values have inspired many around the world, and many people dream of living in the kind of free, fair, stable and democratic society we have in Europe. So much so that others see our values as a threat, something they seek to destroy. Democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights are not just ideals. They are essential for the functioning of the European Union in all policy areas. Without democracy, our public authorities would lack the legitimacy needed to make good public policies. Social justice is a precondition for a stable climate for investment and development. Respect for fundamental rights is vital for common migration policies and police cooperation. The rule of law is absolutely essential for the internal market and investor confidence. Our common standards on democracy, the rule of law and human rights are the corner stones of our foreign and security policies. ALDE is the group that stands firm for European values. We believe the European Union is a community of values.