ECR Party

6-9 April 2017, Tirana, Albania

The Liberty Summit, Albania

The Damaging Legacy of Communism

As demonstrably failed and anachronistic as communist ideology is, it remains a powerful influence in the modern world, particularly in those societies on which it inflicted the most damage.

2017 marks the centenary year of the Bolshevist Revolution. Yet much of the evil done in the name of Marxist-Leninism has been forgotten. The Liberty Summit in Europe will look, not only at the wickedness of Communism itself, but at the way it vitiated civil society, making it difficult to rebuild social capital.

Today, more than a quarter of a century after the collapse of “existing socialism”, the true picture of its historic failure is beginning to fade. The purges, the mass killings, the forced relocations, the land collectivization and the famines are all too quickly being forgotten.

As a result, we are now witnessing a resurgence of communist and socialist ideologies, camouflaged under the guise of progressivism. On the eve of the 2016 US election, a survey found that one-third of American millennials believed more people to have been murdered by George W. Bush than by Joseph Stalin. Even amongst Russians, a recent survey revealed that almost 40% believe that Stalin’s regime was “more good than evil” – an increase from 18% in the early years following the collapse of the USSR.

Communism must be reckoned in crude mathematical terms as the most widely oppressive and murderous system ever devised by human intelligence.

But we cannot take the popular acceptance of this reckoning for granted.

Liberty must be won in every generation. Ronald Reagan once famously said:

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same”

In Europe, mainstream parties have neglected ideology in favor of political pragmatism, creating an intellectual and emotional void which is being hijacked by the populist left and extreme right in Spain, Italy, and Greece - to name only a few. Political pragmatism is not enough. The Centre-Right’s ideological vision needs to be continually articulated.

Conservatives understand that open societies rest upon the dignity and autonomy of the individual, who should be as free as possible from state coercion. The inaugural Liberty Summit in Europe will be the occasion for Conservatives to gather, recall and boldly pronounce this ideological foundation of our convictions.

Why Albania?

2017 marks the centenary year of the Bolshevist Revolution. Yet much of the evil done in the name of Marxist-Leninism has been forgotten. The Liberty Summit in Europe will look, not only at the wickedness of Communism itself, but at the way it vitiated civil society, making it difficult to rebuild social capital after the formal end of the dictatorship.

No location could be more fitting for this conference than Albania.

The 47-year communist dictatorship of Enver Hoxha marked the darkest period in Albania’s history. Human rights and fundamental freedoms were suspended, political parties were outlawed and opposition executed, land and properties seized, religious freedom crushed, social and cultural institutions destroyed. Today, like many other post-communist countries, it remains a hotbed of crony capitalism, corruption, trafficking, and poverty.

Therefore Albania, like so many post-communist and post-authoritarian societies, is ripe for the advance of free-market ideas: for the replacement of aid, grants and corruption with democracy, the rule of law and capitalism.

Its for these reasons we have chosen Tirana to host the inaugural Liberty Summit in Europe, our message is applicable to all countries that suffered behind the Iron Curtain, and to all who face the threat of communism’s encroachment. 

The Summit will advance the discussion on how to build societies that are democratic, pluralist and committed to the ideas of: Individual libertyNational sovereigntyPrivate enterpriseRepresentative governmentRule of lawProperty rightsLow taxesPolitical pluralism, Sound moneyFree tradeOrganic societyReligious freedomOpen competition.

In addition, the Summit will strengthen the conservative movement, particularly in Central & Eastern Europe and the Balkans, by bringing together more than 200 Political participants including party leaders, ministers and representatives from more than 30 countries and political parties.



Friday, 7 April 2017



Reserved for ACRE Council Members


Registration desk opens


Think Tank Central

Participating think tanks have dedicated their work in the areas of property rights, individual freedom, free trade and the rule of law as solutions to the challenges post-communist societies face. With a dedicated exhibition space at The Liberty Summit in Europe, Think Tank Central will serve as a platform for the exchange of ideas, a forum for discussion between participants, supporters and friends, as well as a networking space for our guest think tanks to promote their work with potential institutional and corporate donors.


Visit to the National History Museum in Tirana


Dinner at ABA21

Keynote speech

  • Lulzim Basha, leader of the Democratic Party of Albania

Saturday, 8 April 2017


Welcome and registration of delegates


Opening remarks

  • Daniel Hannan MEP, Secretary General of ACRE
  • Fatmir Mediu MP, Chairman of the Albanian Republican Party


Keynote speech

  • Congressman Bob McEwen



How the Cold War was won

Discussing how the failings of Communism and the actions of the West led to the end of the Cold War.

  • Moderator: Daniele Capezzone MP
  • Anna Fotyga MEP
  • David Pryce-Jones
  • John O’Sullivan
  • Catalin Avramescu


Coffee break


Keynote speech

  • Ryszard Legutko MEP, Deputy Chairman of the ECR


Keynote speech

  • Andrzej Gwiazda, champion of the Solidarnosc movement



An incomplete transition

Discussing how the embedded legacy of communist ideology in societies and institutions in Eastern European and Balkan countries prevented their democratic transformation and institutional development.

  • Moderator: Brooks Newmark
  • Andrzej Gwiazda
  • Norman Stone
  • Jüri Adams MP
  • Ketevan Tsikhelashvili





Moving forward 

The need for a new strategy to build liberal and prosperous democratic societies based on free market principles and solutions.

  • Moderator: Patrick Chovanec
  • Peter Oppenheimer
  • Yaron Brook
  • Fatmir Mediu MP
  • Thierry Baudet MP
  • Andrew Shuen


Keynote Speech

  • Piotr Naimski MP, Secretary of State in the Prime Minister’s Chancellery


Closing remarks

  • Jan Zahradil, ACRE President


GALA DINNER: The Presidential Palace

Keynote speech

  • Sali Berisha, former President of Albania