Budapest, November 20 (MTI) – The European Union is more important than ever with the continent facing serious internal and external challenges, Graham Watson, chairman of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), said after the party’s Budapest congress on Friday.
Watson told a press conference that ALDE was a political party focused on building the EU. There are many people in European parties and member states who are stopping the EU from growing, but the integration of European nations is the best path available for security and growth, he said. Having the EU is the best way to respond to both external challenges and internal ones, posed by those who want “an illiberal state”, he added.
Watson announced that ALDE had admitted its first Hungarian member, the liberal party MLP, on Thursday and sought to develop closer relations with Hungary’s Egyutt party.
Anne Brasseur, president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), said the ALDE congress was well-timed as Europe must now ask itself after the Paris attacks whether it is right to restrict freedom in the name of protecting it.
Brasseur said that the migrants arriving from the Middle East are not terrorists; on the contrary, they fled from terror. Giving shelter only to Christians is incompatible with the tenets of Christianity, she said, stressing the need of cooperation and warning of the danger of falling into the trap of populism.
The ruling Fidesz party responded by saying that it has now become clear that terrorist organisations had taken advantage of the flow of migrants and made their way into France, Sweden “and who knows where else”. Fidesz said ALDE continues to promote the idea that despite the increased threat of terrorism in Europe, “migrants should still be welcomed with open hearts”.
Fidesz said it was the liberal culture of open doors that had led to Europe not knowing how many terrorists had made their way in and as a result, the security and culture of European people are now under threat.