Skip to main content


EU Elections Unpacked: a close look at the Liberals’ manifesto

As part of our series of EU elections unpacked briefings, we have already examined the manifestos of the Greens, centre-right Christian Democrats and the centre-left Socialists. Now we turn our attention to the Liberal Party manifesto. In our next briefing on party manifestos, we will explore the Left party, followed by the last manifesto from the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR).

The ALDE Party, represented in the European Parliament by the Renew Europe (RE) group, known as the Liberals, comprises liberal parties from across EU Member States. Positioned as the third-largest party in the European Parliament, the liberals have played a crucial role in forming majorities and passing legislation during the current mandate. However, the upcoming elections present a significant challenge to the Liberals as they face competition from other parties aiming for this position.

The Liberals have adopted a clear and ambitious manifesto for the 2024 European Parliament election. Their proposals focus on delivering a free, safe and democratic Europe, driving economic growth through investments in digital and sustainable technologies to create jobs, and reducing dependencies on third-countries while decoupling growth from the use of natural resources. They also advocate for reforming EU institutions to enhance efficiency, transparency and accountability, ensuring that those who breach the rule of law principle are held accountable.

Although not explicitly stated in their manifesto, the Liberals have publicly argued for a ‘cordon sanitaire’ around far-right political groups, opposing any coalition with the far-right.

Below, we delve into the Liberals’ main proposals, organised by business-critical areas.

Deepening the CMU to improve competition

The Liberals pledge that, under a Liberal-led European Commission, the Single Market would be a top priority, emphasising its role in driving competitiveness and job creation. Their vision includes modernising and advancing the Single Market through efficient regulation, economic integration and removal of internal barriers to products, services and public procurement.

They propose deepening the Capital Markets Union and the European Banking Union to improve financing opportunities. By applying the principle of ‘one market, one rule,’ they aim to ensure uniform regulation across all Member States and establish a unified digital reporting portal to streamline company obligations and reduce administrative burdens.

The Liberals also intend to support all industries in scaling up and positioning the EU as an attractive investment destination without favouring industrial “champions”. On taxation they aim to provide equal taxation opportunities, simplify tax reporting for cross-border operations and support the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base. Adhering to the fundamental principle of reducing burdens on companies, they want to ensure that all businesses follow the same rules, with improved enforcement of EU legislation.

Additionally, they seek to conclude Association Agreements with Andorra and San Marino to enhance the Single Market and strengthen ties with those microstates.

Empowering citizens and business through digital transformation

The Liberals want to establish a clear and stable digital rulebook to encourage private investment, emphasising the implementation of recently adopted rules such as the Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act. They argue that new digital legislation should prioritise incentives, technological openness and the protection of citizens’ data and privacy, alongside fostering innovation.

Their vision includes implementing a ‘digital-first principle’ to enhance interactions with public administration, payments and funding processes. They also aim to accelerate the digitalisation of European businesses and the public sector by deploying secure, resilient, high-capacity networks. They seek to harness the potential of new digital tools, such as AI, to boost the economy and improve lives while simultaneously combatting disinformation through the enforcement of existing regulations. In addition, they support the promotion of vocational programmes to train citizens and attract highly skilled professionals, addressing the growing demand in the digital sector.

A liberal approach to sustainability in energy and agriculture

On energy, the Liberals are committed to implementing existing energy and climate rules to meet the 2040 targets, firmly supporting the sustainable transition.

They propose empowering the European Environmental Agency to ensure consistent implementation of environmental standards across the EU and aim to reduce dependence on external resources, particularly from non-democratic countries like China and Russia. The Liberals also pledge to invest in renewable, carbon-neutral, low-carbon and waste-based energy sources, including nuclear energy, and to advance carbon removal, capture and storage technologies. This will be achieved through public-private collaboration, while explicitly rejecting ‘green’ natural gas

The Liberals emphasise the need to promote energy efficiency and savings through incentives, digital solutions, alongside simplifying and expediting the digitalisation of licensing and permitting procedures for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. They also stress the importance of enhancing electricity interconnections between Member States to improve market efficiency, supply security and reduce dependency on third-country supply. They aim for at least 15 per cent interconnection by 2030. Furthermore, they advocate for expanding the European Emissions Trading System (ETS) to cover all carbon-polluting sectors and developing a certification system for verified negative emissions.

They also propose facilitating intra-European cooperation in sectors like clean tech development, with investments from the European Investment Bank in green energy projects to ensure EU competitiveness and strategic autonomy. On transportation they seek to enable decarbonisation across all transport modes.

On agriculture, the Liberals advocate for reforming the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) to reduce bureaucratic burdens on farmers and promote sustainable food production while respecting biodiversity and animal welfare. Their primary goal with CAP is to compensate farmers for providing collective goods overlooked by the market, with a focus on reducing administrative hurdles for small and medium-sized farmers.

Regarding budgeting, the Liberals see potential in using new EU resources such as the ETS, the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, and international tax on multinationals specifically for sustainability and resilience. They underline the need for pension and social security policies to ensure long-term solvency in light of changing demographics in Europe.

A liberal, innovative, diversified and circular economy

Turning to the economy, the Liberals pledge to incentivise businesses to invest in sustainable production methods and to empower consumers with information. They plan to achieve this by implementing carbon footprint transparency on product labels and revising rules on food product marking. They also oppose premature obsolescence and advocate for the reuse and repair of electronic appliances, building on initiatives started during the 2019-2024 mandate.

Efficient waste management is another priority for the Liberals. They aim to tackle waste through innovative product design and explore EU-wide deposit return schemes for packaging. Furthermore, they support investments in waste management and recycling facilities to promote a circular economy.

The Liberals also aim to advance living environments by implementing policies and economic incentives. Their goal is to make living spaces more affordable, sustainable and energy-efficient, thus improving the quality of life for citizens across the EU.

Enhancing education and labour markets

The Liberals dedicate a section of their manifesto to educating workers and labour market improvements. They pledge continuous support for the Bologna Process and the European Universities Initiative to strengthen the European higher education system. Additionally, they advocate for mandating the teaching of at least one foreign language in primary school to foster linguistic proficiency from an early age.

Furthermore, the Liberals propose establishing a fast-track pathway to attract highly skilled specialists from outside Europe. They aim to facilitate legal pathways for labour migration within and across the EU by implementing an EU talent pool. This initiative seeks to streamline processes and provide opportunities for skilled workers to contribute to European economies.

Reinforcing European identity and promoting the EU’s fundamental values

The Liberals advocate for significant reforms within the EU aimed at increasing citizen engagement and transparency. They propose allowing voters to choose representatives based on ideals rather than nationality, thus fostering a more inclusive democratic process. Additionally, they call for amending treaties to enhance citizen participation and accountability, as well as transforming the European Commission to ensure more efficient governance.

To promote professional development, and cross-border collaboration, the Liberals suggest establishing an Erasmus programme for civil servants. They also propose granting the European Parliament a single seat with increased powers to initiate legislation and cast a no-confidence vote against Commission members. Furthermore, they encourage Member States to observe Europe Day as a national holiday, reinforcing the sense of European identity among citizens.

In terms of protecting and promoting fundamental values within the EU, including the rule of law, equality, human rights and minority rights, the Liberals outline a comprehensive approach. This includes leveraging Article 7’s conditionality principle to tie EU funding to adherence to its values, strengthening institutions to combat judicial erosion and maintaining vigilance on the rule of law protection across Member States. Additionally, they propose further developing the EU rule of law mechanism and establishing, in cooperation with the European Public Prosecutors Office, an anti-corruption sanction regime. Reinforcement of national anti-corruption agencies is also emphasised to uphold integrity and accountability within the EU.

Using trade to enhance economic security

The Liberals outline a strategy to strengthen the EU’s economic security through a series of trade and investment initiatives. They advocate for reviving trade agreements with market-based economies such as the US, Australia, Mercosur and selected African and Indo-Pacific partners, with a strong emphasis on adherence to international laws and climate commitments. Prioritising the conclusion of ongoing negotiations and expediting the ratification of existing agreements are key objectives.

Furthermore, the Liberals propose pursuing a trans-Atlantic free trade agreement with the US, aiming to reduce dependency on non-aligned regimes through de-risking and diversification strategies. They also suggest revisiting the China investment agreement, contingent upon the lifting of Chinese sanctions after meeting specified commitments. Additionally, they suggest exploring bilateral agreements with Taiwan, revitalising trade with Africa to counter Chinese influence, and taking a leading role in World Trade Organization reforms.

Enhancing European security and maintaining an open-door policy

The Liberals prioritise making Europe a safe place to live, dedicating a key section of their manifesto to this goal. They aim to maintain a balanced approach between EU defence cooperation and NATO, while increasing investment from EU countries into a pan-European defence framework. Central to their strategy is the establishment of a new, revised and enhanced EU defence policy, in which they emphasise the importance of investing in advanced cooperation in the European Defence Union, and improving European capacity for independent action. They emphasise the importance of synergies with NATO, recognising it as a primary structure for military cooperation. Specifically, they propose creating a European Defence Union by 2040 to ensure effective and rapid deployment of military capability.

To strengthen the EU’s role in global geopolitics, the Liberals advocate for a shift to qualified majority voting on foreign affairs, defence and security policy. They seek to enhance the roles of the High Representative and the European External Action Service, and advocate for granting the EU a seat on the UN Security Council.

In addition, they propose introducing a military area of free movement within Europe and preparing a €100bn defence investment plan to bolster Europe’s defence industry. Addressing digital and cyber threats, they aim to establish foundational rules to enhance EU capacity to respond to digital threats and disinformation through public-private partnerships.

The Liberals affirm their solidarity with Ukraine, pledging increased military assistance and advocating for the creation of an EU Special Representative for Ukraine Military Assistance and Reconstruction. They also support Ukraine’s full membership of NATO.

Regarding China, the Liberals propose implementing ‘Magnitsky-style’ sanctions on Chinese officials and members of the Chinese Communist Party who violate human rights. They also stand with Taiwan, opposing any attempts by China to challenge the sovereignty of Taiwan.

On enlargement, the Liberals reiterate their commitment to an open-door policy for European countries that meet the Copenhagen criteria, emphasising the importance of compliance and benchmarking achievements, as well as alignment with the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy. They aim for the Western Balkans, Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine, to meet all criteria by 2029. The Liberals propose offering observer non-voting status in the European Parliament to candidate countries until full membership and seek to deepen ties with the UK through the Windsor Framework Agreement.

Visit our Elections Hub


Léa Bareil, Deputy head, EU Regulatory and Public Affairs 

Gonçalo Loureiro, EU Regulatory and Public Affairs Intern

Annabelle Duramé, EU Regulatory and Public Affairs Intern