This week MEPs of the ECR Party, and ECR-affiliated MPs of National Parliaments, will travel to Washington, D.C. to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference, better known as CPAC. Hosted by the American Conservative Union, CPAC convenes over 18 thousand politicians, celebrities, intellectuals, and activists in the U.S. capital, making it “the largest and most influential gathering of conservatives in the world.”
Created in 1974 amidst the fragmentation of conservative movements in the United States, this platform became one of the most prominent conservative forums after Ronald Reagan’s keynote address that year. With time, CPAC has become what the liberal media has coined a “barometer” for the conservative grassroots movement for the United States, and now for conservative discourse and goal setting at a global scale. CPAC’s influence has reached well beyond the borders of the U.S. with conferences being hosted in Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Korea, Australia and Israel.
CPAC is an ideal space for conservative intellectuals and politicians to exchange views on current cultural and political trends. It also allows current and future decision-makers in business and politics to coordinate regional and global responses to the expansion of socialism and build a comprehensive agenda of intellectual sensibility and common sense against the influence of progressivism and the far left. Behind the U.S. President’s State of the Union address and the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, CPAC is “the third ranked political and press event of the year”, so it is a crucial opportunity for conservatives to share the appeal of their views with a larger non-conservative audience.
As the leading and most influential conservative organization in the European Union, international delegations not only expect, but need the participation of the ECR. Since its founding 14 year ago, ECR-affiliated parties and MEPs have been champions of democracy, the rule of law, sensible legislation on sustainability, and religious freedom. They have given a voice to those quelled by repressive regimes around the world. As an example, this past week alone, Spanish ECR MEP Herman Tertsch received the distinction of “Ambassador of the Cuban Exile” from the expat Cuban community in the city of Miami. Expanding the salience of the ECR in shaping conservative political discourse beyond Europe is precisely the goal of the group’s participation in CPAC, and a key activity in advancing the “Cooperating with Global Partners” pillar of the ECR “Visions for Europe”.
Europe is the cradle of Western civilization, and the ECR is at the forefront of preserving its core traditional values against unbridled progressive policies, both within and outside the bloc. In CPAC, the ECR will share its global vision for fairer and freer communities and nations with resilient free-market economies and strong borders, a vision largely shared with the Republican Party and American conservative groups.
The ECR delegation will highlight its input and achievements on European immigration policy, including the standardization of European travel documents to speed up the return of non-EU nationals staying irregularly in EU Member States without valid documentation.
There would be no modern conservatism without Europe, and there would be no Europe without brave conservatives willing to uphold traditional Western values with resolve. When several corners of the world are falling back into the socialist trap, Europe is rising above.
Europe ought to be a beacon in charting the course for common-sense freedom-based policies around the world. CPAC is the place where conservatism is defined, and it is the ECR’s mission to leave a European mark in this endeavor.