German Liberals visit Portugal and Spain
In November, the FNF Madrid dialogue project received high-level visits from the German federal parliament.
Wolfgang Kubicki, Vice President of the German Bundestag, visited Portugal on a friendly visit organized by the German Embassy. In that framework and together with our partner IPDAL, we hosted a dinner for Mr Kubicki's delegation where he met with Portuguese members of parliament and representatives from media, science and the business community. Before an official visit to the parliament the next morning, he could also meet with the leadership of our liberal partner party, Iniciativa Liberal, which is thought to continue their impressive success story in the upcoming snap elections in March next year. Having risen from 1 to 8 MPs in the last elections, their caucus might well grow by another 50%. Mr. Kubicki's visit came just days before Prime Minister Antonio Costa stepped down in the midst of a scandal involving corruption allegations in the energy sector.
Later that month, Michael Kruse, liberal speaker on energy in the German parliament, visited Barcelona to meet with partner organizations and to explain the remarkable energy transition in Germany after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The visit was marked by the presentation of a study on the regulatory framework for renewable energy plants in the German region of Schleswig Holstein, the Spanish autonomous region of Catalonia and the Casablanca region in Morocco. The research was conducted by the Ostrom Institute, a free-market think-tank in Barcelona. The bureaucratic hurdles for renewables are especially high in Catalonia, where the ubiquitous "Not In My Backyard mentality" comes with strong opposition from nature conservancy organizations and farmer lobbies.
Both visits underscored the importance of dialogue efforts between German liberals and counterparts in Southern Europe. While relations between the two countries and Germany are traditionally excellent, the need for liberal reforms on all sides, which strengthen both the economies and European integration, are obvious. This is especially true for the energy sector where green hydrogen is a key factor for de-carbonizing the economies and Southern Europe and Germany should become close partners in the decades to come.