Atlas Network’s Europe Liberty Forum, co-hosted by Free Market Foundation, held on September 21-22, 2017 in Hungary, was one of the largest gatherings of classical liberals and libertarians from Europe and the word. Around 140 people from more than 30 countries attended the two-day event.
The event boasted such speaker’s as Tom Palmer and Matt Kibbe from the US, and several 4liberty.eu members, such as Zilvinas Silenas from Lithuanian Free Market Institute and Richard Durana from INESS. Independent MP Zoltán Kész and Professor of Economics Leszek Balcerowicz from the Civic Development Forum honored the event by delivering keynote addresses.
Europe Liberty forum was launched by the ever popular speed networking, during which participants – students, think tankers, speakers, donors, and professors – could meet and get to know each other better. Participants of the Liberty Forum had the opportunity to attend panels on communication, fundraising, hybrid warfare, Hungary’s current situation, making impact, and fighting illiberalism.
During the lunch, co-founder and Honorary President of Free Market Foundation Zoltán Kész spoke of his experiences as an independent MP. He raised awareness of the populist tendencies in Hungary. He concluded his keynote in an optimistic manner, saying that populists can be defeated if people cooperate internationally and take action.
The Europe Liberty Awards Dinner took place on September 21, with the kind support of Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. During the dinner, Leszek Balcerowicz, a former chairman of the National Bank of Poland and deputy prime minister of Poland, delivered his keynote speech on the damage inflicted over 100 years of Marxism-Leninism and how the lessons of the past can inform our approach to the challenges Europe confronts today. He outlined the factors that are needed for economic liberalization and what hinders it. He also talked about the importance of a well-crafted communication strategy with the need of being faster than others.
After the dinner, the 2017 Europe Liberty Award was presented to Ukrainian Economic Freedoms Foundation for their achievement in the area of land reforms in Ukraine. The laws drafted by the group were passed in the Parliament helping economic liberalization.
All in all, Europe Liberty Forum successfully managed to gather a great number of highly motivated people, who are trailblazers in their own fields and countries, and who advance liberty in the world. Budapest has passed the torch on to Copenhagen, the location of next year’s Europe Liberty Forum. Nevertheless, the enthusiasm and the valuable lessons learnt during the event shall remain with the Hungarian pro-liberty people for a long time.
USA-based Atlas Network has been organizing a regional Liberty Forum with a local partner each year in a different region. Last year’s Europe Liberty Forum was organized in London, while this year, Budapest was the chosen location. Atlas Network’s local partner was Free Market Foundation.