A general overview and comprehensive discussion of this topic may be found in the article Liberalism.

In general, liberalism in Europe is a political movement that supports a broad tradition of individual liberties and constitutionally-limited and democratically accountable government. These European derivatives of classical liberalism are found in centrist movements and parties as well as some parties on the centre-left and the centre-right.

When liberalism is divided into two in Europe, it is largely into "social" and "conservative".[1] This is somewhat different from the American method of dividing liberalism into "modern" (simply liberal) and "classical" (or libertarian). Because most liberalism in Europe are classical liberalism. (European social liberalism and progressivism is rooted in radicalism, a left-wing classical liberal idea.)

Liberal practices

Emmanuel Macron, President of France, is often described as the strongest advocate for liberalism in Europe.[2]
Emmanuel Macron, President of France, is often described as the strongest advocate for liberalism in Europe.[2]

Liberal political parties have specific policies, which the social scientist can either read from party manifestos, or infer from actual actions and laws passed by ostensibly liberal parties. The sources listed below serve to illustrate some of the current liberal attitudes in Europe.

Additionally, liberal value preferences can be inferred from the liberalisation programmes and policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The liberalism visible in these sources emphasizes in comparison with other ideologies more belief in individual development as a motor for society and the state providing a social safety net. The liberal policies differ from country to country and from party to party.

Ideology

European liberalism is largely divided into classical (practically economical), social, and conservativeliberalism.[9]

Liberalism in Europe has a different meaning from the signification it has in contemporary politics in the US.[10] In America, liberals might be confused with social-democrats and leftists which advocate for a larger government, some forms of protectionism and more economic interventionism;[11][12][13][14] whereas European liberals usually favor limited government, free trade and adhere to economic liberalism.[10] In the context of European politics, liberal itself generally refers to classical liberal (including both centre-left and centre-right), so classical liberal in European politics means a "centre-right" with a prominent economically liberal tendency. (Germany's FDP is representative.) There is also an evaluation that mainstream conservative liberal (ex. ordoliberalism, Christian democracy, enc.) in Europe have weaker economic liberal tendencies than social liberal.[9] However, some classical liberal (economic liberal), are included in conservative liberal.[15][16]

European Union

European liberalists tend to support the European Union[17][18][19][20][21][22] such as Emmanuel Macron, President of France who campaigned against Marine Le Pen a National Rally candidate a far right nationalist anti EU party.[23][24][25] Some European liberalists support Federalisation of the European Union such as prominent European Liberalist politicians such as Guy Verhofstadt (Prime Minister of Belgium 1999 to 2008),[26][27] Viviane Reading (Vice-President of the European Commission),[28] and Matteo Renzi (Prime Minister of Italy 2014 to 2016).[29]

Social issues

Among European liberals, "classical liberals" and "social liberals" support cultural liberalism (ex. LGBT rights issues including same-sex marriage, legalization of some drugs, opening immigration, etc.), but most "conservative liberals", including ordoliberals, Christian democrats and some agrarians, take a socially moderate-to-conservative stance on cultural liberalism. (Finland's Keskusta is representative.)[30][31]

Parties

Government

Country Symbol Parties Head of State/Head of Government Upper/ Lower House Founded Leader/Founder Former Party European/ International Affliction Ideology/ Political Position
 Belgium
Open VLD.svg

Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats

Flemish

Open Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten

Prime Minister

Alexander De Croo

Chamber of Representatives (Lower House)
12 / 87
Senate (Upper House)
5 / 60

Coalition

1992 (VLD)

2007 (Open VLD)

Leader

Egbert Lachaert

Preceded By

Party for Freedom and Progress

European

Renew Europe

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)

International

Liberal International (LI)

Ideology

Liberalism (Belgium)[32][33]

Conservative liberalism[34][35]

Pro-Europeanism[17]

Political Position

Centre-right[36]

Logo of the Mouvement Réformateur.png
Reformist Movement

French

Mouvement Réformateur

N/A

Chamber of Representatives (Lower House)

14 / 87
Senate (Upper House)
8 / 60

Coalition

21 March 2002 Leader

Georges-Louis Bouchez

Preceded By

Liberal Reformist Party

Citizens' Movement for Change

European

Renew Europe

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)

International

Liberal International (LI)

Ideology

Liberalism (Belgium)[33][37]

Pro-Europeanism

Political Position

Centre-right[38][39]

 Croatia
HNS Logo.svg
Croatian People's Party – Liberal Democrats (HNS – LD)

Croatian

Hrvatska narodna stranka – Liberalni demokrati (HNS – LD)

N/A Sabor
1 / 151
Coalition

Croatian Democratic Union

Independent Democratic Serb Party

with support from HSLS, HDS, HDSSB, HNS, Reformists, Democratic Union of Hungarians, Kali Sara, Union of Albanians and Independents

13 October 1990 Leader

Predrag Štromar

Founder

Savka Dabčević-Kučar

Preceded By

Coalition of People's Accord

Regional

Liberal South East European Network

European

Renew Europe

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)

Ideology

Social liberalism[40]

Pro-Europeanism[18]

Political Position

Centre[41] to centre-left[42]

 Finland Centre Party

Finnish

Suomen Keskusta, Kesk

Swedish

Centern i Finland

Deputy Prime Minister

Annika Saarikko

Parliament
31 / 200
European Parliament
2 / 14
Coalition

Social Democratic Party

Centre Party

Green League

Left Alliance

Swedish People's Party

1906 Leader

Annika Saarikko

Preceded by

Annika Saarikko

European

Renew Europe

International

Liberal International (LI)

Ideology

Agrarianism[43]

Economic interventionism[44]

Conservative liberalism[9]

Political Position

Centre[43][45][46]

Swedish People's Party of Finland

Swedish

Svenska folkpartiet i Finland

Finnish

Suomen ruotsalainen kansanpuolue

N/A Parliament
10 / 200
European Parliament
1 / 14
Coalition

Social Democratic Party

Centre Party

Green League

Left Alliance

Swedish People's Party

1906 Leader

Anna-Maja Henriksson

Founder

Axel Lille

Axel Olof Freudenthal

Preceded by

Svecoman movement

European

Renew Europe

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)

International

Liberal International (LI)

Ideology

Swedish-speaking minority interests[47]

Liberalism (Finland)[48][49]

Pro-Europeanism[19]

Political Position

Centre[50]

 France
Logo-LREM-noir.svg
La République En Marche! President

Emmanuel Macron

Prime Minister

Jean Castex

National Assembly (Lower House)
280 / 577

Senate (Upper House)

23 / 348
European Parliament
11 / 79
Coalition

LREM

MoDem

MR

Agir

TDP

6 April 2016 Leader

Stanislas Guerini

Founder

Emmanuel Macron

European

Renew Europe

Ideology

Liberalism (France)

Classical liberalism

Pro-Europeanism

Political Position

Centre

Logo of French political party Agir.png
Agir Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs

Franck Riester

National Assembly (Lower House)
11 / 577

Senate (Upper House)

6 / 348
European Parliament
1 / 79
Coalition

LREM

MoDem

MR

Agir

TDP

6 April 2016 Leader

Franck Riester

European

Renew Europe

Ideology

Conservative liberalism

Christian democracy

Pro-Europeanism

Political Position

Centre-right[51][52]

 Germany
Logo der Freien Demokraten.svg
Free Democratic Party Secretary of the Treasury

Christian Lindner

Bundestag
92 / 736

State Parliaments

134 / 1,884

European Parliament

5 / 95

Coalition

SPD

Grüne

FPD

6 April 2016 Chairman

Christian Lindner

General Secretary

Volker Wissing

European

Renew Europe

Ideology

Liberalism (Germany)

Classical liberalism

Conservative liberalism[53]

Pro-Europeanism

Political Position

Centre to centre-right

 Italy
Logo Forza Italia.svg
Go Italy

Italian
Forza Italia

N/A Chamber of Deputies (Lower House)
79 / 630

Senate of the Republic (Upper House)

50 / 315

European Parliament

9 / 76
16 November 2013 Leader

Silvio Berlusconi

Founder

Silvio Berlusconi

European

European People's Party (EPP)

Ideology

Liberalism (Italy)

Liberal conservatism

Conservative liberalism[54]

Berlusconism

Political Position

Centre-right

 Portugal
Iniciativa Liberal logo 1.png
Liberal Initiative

Portuguese
Iniciativa Liberal

N/A Parliement
8 / 230
13 December 2017 Leader

João Cotrim de Figueiredo

Founder

Alexandre Krauss
Bruno Horta Soares
Rodrigo Dias Saraiva (and others)

European

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (ALDE)

Ideology

Liberalism (Portugal)

Classical liberalism

Right-libertarianism

Pro-Europeanism

Political Position

Centre-right

See also

Notes

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  2. ^ "Emmanuel Macron, the resolutely modern philosopher king". The Economist. 2018-06-13. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2019-03-21.
  3. ^ ALDE Group in the European Parliament : Home[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party Manifestos
  5. ^ "FDP :: FDP Bundesverband". Forum.fdp-bundesverband.de. Archived from the original on 2012-04-26. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
  6. ^ "Liberal Democrats : Home". Libdems.org.uk. 2012-04-20. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
  7. ^ "democrats.nl". democrats.nl. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
  8. ^ "Liberales". Liberales.be. 2004-12-01. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
  9. ^ a b c Caroline Close (2019). "The liberal party family ideology: Distinct, but diverse". In Close, Caroline; van Haute, Emilie (eds.). Liberal Parties in Europe. Routledge. pp. 338–339. ISBN 9781351245487.
  10. ^ a b Goldfarb, Michael (2010-07-20). "Liberal? Are we talking about the same thing?". BBC News. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  11. ^ Greenberg, David (September 12, 2019). "The danger of confusing liberals and leftists". Washington Post. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  12. ^ N. Scott Arnold, ed. (31 May 2011). "Are Modern American Liberals Socialists or Social Democrate?". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 15 January 2022. This paper answers the title question, “Yes,” on both counts. The first part of the paper argues that modern liberals are socialists, and the second part argues that they are also social democrats.
  13. ^ "A plea for liberalism: Lessons from the 20th century". The Economist. 31 March 2010. Retrieved 15 January 2022. Social democracy, which Tony Judt calls “the prose of European politics”, is what Americans call liberalism.
  14. ^ Herb Jackson, ed. (27 June 2018). "How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won: Ultra-liberal pitch drew first-time voters in changing district". USA Today. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  15. ^ R.T. Allen, Beyond Liberalism, p. 2.
  16. ^ Paul Kelly, ed. (2005). Liberalism. Polity. p. 71. ISBN 9780745632902. Conservative liberal critics of social justice, such as Friedrich Hayek, have sought to reject precisely this distinction.
  17. ^ a b Almeida, Dimitri (2012-04-27). The Impact of European Integration on Political Parties. Routledge. doi:10.4324/9780203123621. ISBN 978-0-203-12362-1.
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  24. ^ Le Breton, Morgane (2017). "Ce qui est bon pour Enron est bon pour le climat". Entreprises et histoire. 86 (1): 151. doi:10.3917/eh.086.0151. ISSN 1161-2770.
  25. ^ "Graphique 4.2. Une consolidation budgétaire plus ambitieuse accroît la croissance potentielle". dx.doi.org. doi:10.1787/888932612306. Retrieved 2020-10-15.
  26. ^ Bruno Waterfield (18 February 2009). "Blueprint for EU army to be agreed". The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  27. ^ "International news – euronews, latest international news". Archived from the original on 6 February 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  28. ^ Europa – Press Release – Why we need a United States of Europe now
  29. ^ "Italy to push for 'United States of Europe' when it holds the EU presidency". The Telegraph. 22 June 2014. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  30. ^ "Väyrynen ryöpyttää keskustan liberaaleja". Kaleva.fi. Archived from the original on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  31. ^ Cracking open the numbers in the same-sex marriage vote Archived 3 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine, YLE 28 November 2014, accessed 5 November 2014.
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