In the week that the EU traditionally celebrates European cooperation on 9 May, the Day of Europe, a FNP delegation travels to the annual meeting of the European Free Alliance (EFA) in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. FNP was one of the founding members of EFA in 1981. In the European Parliament EFA is together with the Greens the fourth largest group.
FNP hopes to get support from the general assembly for three motions. Sijbe Knol: ‘We are concerned about the deterioration of our beautiful landscape and want that a better balance is struck, for example when new infrastructure is built. Landscape is very important for our well-being. We also ask attention for the safety of shipping along the Wadden Islands, also in response to the disaster with the container vessel MSC Zoë. The issue is closely related to a motion of our sister party in Galicia, where the consequences of the accident with the oil tanker Prestige 20 years ago has damages the coast.'
Wouter Wouda, president and local councillor for FNP: ‘We also point out the difficult financial situation for municipalities in our country. They risk such financial hardship that they as a consequence may only be able to perform the tasks that the national government is imposing on them. When councillors can no longer make a choice, democracy in the municipalities withers. The municipalities in Fryslân and Groningen already protested against this development and now we ask support for our municipalities in Europe.'
New European board
On the agenda is also the election for a new board (Bureau) of EFA for the coming three years. The new candidate for FNP, Frank de Boer, who hopes that he can become the successor of Olrik Bouma, is no newcomer in Europa. De Boer has in large network and represented the European minority organisation FUEN in Brussels and Strasbourg for several years. He is one of the architects of the Minority SafePack Initiative, which forced the European Commission to take serious consideration of the rights of linguistic minorities and smaller languages in the EU.
Frank de Boer: ‘De world has changed a lot in the last few years. Europe has to find new ways and become stronger as a community. At the same time, the EU must take into account what our people in the different regions want. There has to be space for diversity, but we also have to cooperate in order to solve the problems of our society. I hope that the members give me the chance to work on these issues within EFA.'