ALDE party has agreed to renounce the “L” of liberalism in its name to welcome the French of Renaissance. Its new name, “Renew Europe”, also marks the citizens’ frustration with Europe as it is.
Back in the XVIth century, wars between Catholics and Protestants in France killed thousands of people. It stopped in 1598 when King Henry IV, called the “good king Henry”, issued the Edict of Nantes giving religious freedom to both Catholics and Protestants.
A few years before, in an attempt to get back to peace, he had converted to Catholicism, though he was baptized a Protestant. “Paris is worth a mass” he would have said according to a legend.
Paris is also worth forgetting about liberalism, it seems.
The centrist group ADLE has indeed renounced the “L “of its name to satisfy the French, and embraced the name “ReNew Europe”.
Emmanuel Macron’s 21 supporters had insisted since the beginning of the negotiations: they did not want a reference to liberalism in the name of their group in the European Parliament.
However, liberalism is part of the group. A member of ALDE quickly claimed it loud.
Until now, the reference to liberal economic ideology has been the backbone uniting people from different backgrounds. The biggest parties joining were also coming from a mostly Protestant country, just like Henry IV : from Denmark, Nederlands, Sweden.
Liberalism is overrated
The main values of ALDE were of course democracy, but also work, all-powerful market , trade and a bit of federalism.
The European elections have shown that these values are overrated. Eurobarometers also testify that citizen want a Europe that protects. The losers of globalisation voted for Brexit in the United Kingdom, and that is also why Europeans mobilized more during these elections: to show that they are committed to Europe. But the high number of anti-European or Eurosceptic votes shows a real concern for today’s reality in Europe. It is often considered neo-liberal and undemocratic.
A name change certainly does not address these issues. But it’s better than nothing-and it’s a sign that liberalism might not be the best solution for the future of the EU.