ELDR: A Caucus In The Caucusus…

By Mark Valladares

Liberal Democrat Voice

May 1 2012

When I was elected to the Liberal Democrat delegation to the Council of
the European Liberal Democrats (ELDR), adventure was not necessarily
high amongst my expectations, and trips to Dresden and Palermo
last year were, whilst very nice, not particularly off the beaten
path. And so, when it was announced that the Spring Council meeting
would take place in Yerevan, I have to admit to an awakening of my
passion for obscure routes and means of transport. So, why Yerevan,
and what will be happening at the end of next week?

Sunday sees Parliamentary elections in Armenia, and this, combined with
the recent moves towards an Association Agreement between Armenia and
the European Union, makes it an excellent time to fly in about one
hundred liberals from across Europe. The host member, the Armenian
National Movement, lead by Aram Manukyan, is part of the Armenian
National Congress, a coalition of thirteen Parties, led by Levon
Ter-Petrossian, the country’s first President in the post-Soviet era.

So, what’s on the agenda? Only two policy issues, both deferred from
the Congress in Palermo;

Cyprus, with a revised resolution calling for further progress towards
reunification, as well as granting the Turkish Cypriot community
those rights envisaged at the time of Cypriot accession to the EU.

a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base for Europe, which would
lead to increased competitiveness between EU companies and make the
EU a more attractive market for investment by taking advantage of its
economy of scale (I’m not entirely convinced by this, I must confess)
Otherwise, there will be talk of budgets, of potential members new or
to be lost, a breakfast meeting on energy security and a political
debate, topic unknown at the time of writing. I’ll be reporting on
events in a fortnight’s time, when we hope to have details of the
2012 ELDR Congress, expected to take place in Dublin.

* Mark Valladares is a member of the Liberal Democrat delegation to
ELDR’s Council, and a member of the ELDR Financial Advisory Committee.