Road to EU 2024

Draft ALDE manifesto seeks to prioritise competitiveness

February 2024
By Maximilian Powell

As the European Union prepares for the upcoming elections, it is expected that liberal factions within Renew Europe, including ALDE, EDP, and other parties such as French President Macron’s Renaissance, will unite on a shared platform. The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (ALDE) has provided a sneak peek into their proposed agenda within a leak of the party’s draft political manifesto.

With current opinion polls indicating a notable decrease in support for liberal factions, parallels emerge between their manifesto and proposals from the EPP. Both advocate for cutting administrative burdens and red tape for EU companies, a move that many interpret as an attempt to capture similar voter bases.

The draft manifesto presents a holistic approach to fostering competitiveness, advocating for a sustainable and digital economy through support for businesses, vocational programmes, and digital initiatives. To achieve this, the manifesto proposes new fiscal rules and resources aimed at incentivising sustainable investments and streamlining access to EU programmes. With a dedicated focus on digitalisation, ALDE promotes the digital-first principle, urging investment in secure networks, AI regulation, and measures to combat disinformation.

The draft manifesto has been viewed by some as a direct criticism of the current Commission. It states an aim to “complete” the EU’s Single Market and reintroduce it to the EU agenda after what ALDE perceives as years of neglect under the EPP-led European Commission.

Another instance of criticism towards the current Commission can be found in the manifesto’s emphasis on the rule of law and transparent institutions. It outlines measures to protect individual rights, combat corruption, and reform EU treaties. On January 16, many believe that liberal members of the European Parliament made an effort to undermine von der Leyen by proposing an amendment to a resolution, which called for a motion of censure against the Commission if it were to unfreeze more EU funds for Hungary. However, their attempt did not receive enough support from other political groups.

Addressing migration challenges, seen as one of the hottest topics in the elections, ALDE calls for reforms to asylum systems, enhanced search and rescue operations, and prioritised integration efforts. On defence, the manifesto advocates for investment in pan-European defence forces, cooperation within NATO, and bolstered EU capabilities in digital warfare.

The final version of the manifesto is slated to be approved at the electoral congress on 20-21 March, following consultation with ALDE’s national party members.