Liberal International has presented one Europe’s greatest liberals, Sir Graham Watson, with its highest political honour at a special ceremony in Sofia, Bulgaria.
In the margin of the ALDE Party council meeting on Saturday 28th April, LI president Dr Juli Minoves presented Sir Graham with the medal of liberalism, recalling his 20 years’ service as a Member of the European Parliament, his seven years as leader of Europe’s liberals, and his ongoing battle against the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
Alongside LI president of honour, Hans van Baalen MEP, LI vice-president Dr Dzhevdet Chakarov MP, and leader of the MRF (LI full member – Bulgaria), Mustafa Karadaya, Sir Graham recalled: “With the Liberal International and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation I have fought for forty years for freedom. And I have always found among you kindred spirits in that fight.”
Receiving the medal – whose previous recipients include Presidents Tsai and Ouattara and Prime Minister Bettel – Sir Graham spoke of what it means to be a liberal in times of rising nationalism and geopolitical tensions. Sir Graham said: “Liberalism asserts that if you start with justice for the individual, justice for the group will follow. The converse is not true.”
“There can be no such thing as a clash of civilisations, because civilised people do not clash; they engage”, he added.
Sir Graham is presented with the medal of liberalism from Dr Juli Minoves in Sofia, Bulgaria