I am very happy to be a part of the liberal family. Eric Roesch from FDP International and myself from FDP Switzerland are the small but strong representation committee of the FDP Switzerland at the 60th Liberal International Congress taking place here in Mexico City. My name is Andri Silberschmidt, I’m the president of the Young Liberals in Zurich as well as an active member of the FDP. The ones of you who were in Zurich for the Liberal Symposium in June might know me already.
It is my honor to submit the proposal of FDP Switzerland to become – again, I might say – a full member of Liberal International. At this point, I would like to present you the best wishes from Doris Fiala, member of the Swiss parliament and President of the Swiss Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. She is the driving force behind the aspiration to be part of Liberal International again.
Let me shortly present you the FDP; We are a traditional and yet progressive party in Switzerland. The party was formed on 1 January 2009, after two parties, the Radical Democratic Party (FDP) and the smaller Liberal Party, united. For more than 60 years, the FDP was the largest party in Switzerland, representing all of the 7 members of the Federal Council, and hence forming the collective head of the government and state in Switzerland. With the rise of populism during the last decade, the right wing people’s party has outperformed the FDP and became Switzerland’s strongest political force, followed by the socialist party.
At the national elections two weeks ago, we were luckily able to stop the downward trend in mandates. Hence, for the first time in over 36 years, the FDP succeeded in the elections and has now a vote share of 16.4 %, which makes it Switzerland’s third strongest party.
I might add that the FDP, the Radical Democratic Party of Switzerland was among the founding members of the international liberal movement cosigning the declaration of Brussels in 1946 and the following manifestos.
In the political landscape of Switzerland, the FDP assumes the role of the liberal party when it comes to social and economic issues. We believe in self-responsibility and stand for individual property rights. Our philosophy is based on three main values: individual freedom, strong social cohesion and progress. Freedom, Cohesion, Progress – these are the key elements for a prospering country. We are liberal, positioned center-right on the political scale in Switzerland. The FDP has over 120’000 members in Switzerland and is therefore the party with the strongest member base.
Let me now speak about our motivation to join Liberal International as an active member. Nowadays, we face many global challenges, three of which I’d like to mention because of their relation to Switzerland.
• First of all: when it comes to migration, it is important to stress that the discussion has to take place on a global or rather European scale, when it comes to the role of Switzerland regarding this subject. That’s why we want to deliberate such issues with similar-minded people and organizations, going beyond the national borders.
• Secondly, an important and yet shocking subject is the big rate of youth unemployment in Southern Europe. What will happen to this so called «lost generation»? How big will the impact on the economy be?
• And lastly: Everyone speaks about free trade. What kind of action is required to increase free trade agreements with other countries?
These are just some examples of issues that matter in today’s world. It is our responsibility to come up with answers, to discuss them and to deliberate in an international context. So that both national and international policies can be put in place.
For the above mentioned reasons and on behalf of the FDP Switzerland, I would like to get your trust and approval of our application to become a full member of Liberal International again.
Eric and I remain at your disposal for any further questions regarding our proposal, and we are looking forward to interacting with you and to many interesting conversations.