5th ALDE-CALD Summit in Brussels

ALDE-Asian network conference meets to discuss trade between continents

The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), led by its President, Guy Verhofstadt was hosting a delegation of members of parliament and party leaders from ten Asian countries for a two day meeting on the subject of “Trade: From Patronage to Partnership”. The delegates from the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) were present for the 5th ALDE-CALD Summit, a biennial meeting between European and Asian liberals, which was first established ten years ago. The last ALDE-CALD meeting was organized in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2010.

Participants included Cecilia Malmstrom, European Commissioner for Home Affairs; Hans van Baalen, MEP, President of Liberal International; Silvana Koch-Mehrin, MEP and Niccolo Rinaldi, MEP, Rapporteur for the EU – Malaysia FTA and for the FTA EU-India FTA (Safeguard Clause). Sir Graham Watson, MEP, President of the ELDR Party, also delivered the closing keynote address on “Chinese and Indian Dominance in Asia?”. Silvana Koch-Mehrin was chairing the session “Multilateralism vs. Bilateralism”.

Among the Asian participants were Sam Rainsy, MP, Chairperson of CALD and Leader of the Opposition in Cambodia and Win Htein, a newly elected MP of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy in Burma.

Special session topics dealt with “EU-Asia Trade Relations: Getting Through the Crisis”, “Sustainable Development Clauses in Trade Agreements: Effective Against Possible Threats to Democracy”; and “Multilateralism versus Bilateralism in International Trade”.