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The ECR Group is centre-right and euro-realist.​
It is made up of local and regional politicians working together within the EU Committee of the Regions ​

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Pavel Branda appointed rapporteur on people-to-people projects <img alt="" src="/ecr/news/PublishingImages/branda.jpg" width="698" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />http://web.cor.europa.eu/ecr/news/Pages/Pavel-Branda-appointed-rapporteur-on-people-to-people-projects-.aspx2016-11-30T23:00:00ZPavel Branda appointed rapporteur on people-to-people projects <p>​Pavel Branda, ECR member and Deputy Mayor of Rádlo Municipality, has been appointed rapporteur for the European Committee of the Regions' opinion on 'People-to-people projects (small projects) in cross-border cooperation programmes'.</p><p><br>Mr Branda's own-initiative opinion was adopted by members of the Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER), for which Mr Branda is the ECR's coordinator, during yesterday's COTER commission on Wednesday 30 November.</p><p><br>The objective of the opinion is to stress the importance of people-to-people projects for local and regional authorities, where they play an essential role in cross-border cooperation programmes. Despite their success, they have been questioned by some representative for not being anchored in the cohesion policy regulations of the European Union. </p><p><br>Discussing his own-initiative opinion in more detail, Mr Branda said: "People-to-people projects form a basis upon which further cross-border cooperation in different areas can be developed. They contribute to making contacts across borders, they help normalise relationships between neighbouring regions, and they can build trust among partners."</p><p><br>"What's more, they are delivered in a decentralised way through a localism approach where local and regional authorities are the intermidary bodies that bring the projects closer to the citizens."</p><p><br>"This is why I strongly believe in promoting the benefits of people-to-people projects, and look forward to providing strong arguments in my opinion on why sustaining this aspect of cross-border cooperation should be a key priority of the future EU cohesion policy."</p><p><br>The opinion will likely have strategic relevance for local and regional authorities as the future of cross-border cooperation is set to be discussed in the framework of the future of the cohesion policy 2020+ and cross-border review. </p><p><br>Having been appointed as rapporteur, Mr Branda will now conduct research and draft his opinion ahead of the next COTER commission in early 2017. </p>
ECR calls for reform of EU regional policy at localism conference in Italy<img alt="" height="354" src="/ecr/news/PublishingImages/lecce%20conference%20rob%20and%20fitto.jpg" width="400" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />http://web.cor.europa.eu/ecr/news/Pages/ECR-calls-for-reform-of-EU-regional-policy-at-localism-conference-in-Italy.aspx2016-10-23T22:00:00ZECR calls for reform of EU regional policy at localism conference in Italy<span class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" id="ms-rterangepaste-start"></span><div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span lang="EN-GB">The ECR Group's latest localism conference looking at the future of the EU's regional policy took place in Lecce in Southern Italy on Friday 21 October. The event held at the famous Teatro Paisiello boasted an impressive line-up of speakers, including <b>Raffaele Fitto MEP</b>, President of <i>Conservatori e Riformisti</i>, and Mayor of Lecce <b>Paolo Perrone</b>. </span></div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span lang="EN-GB"> </span></div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span lang="EN-GB">Welcoming participants to his home province of Lecce, <b>Raffaele Fitto MEP</b> said: "The cohesion policy is a very important instrument and Italy is one of its main beneficiaries. However, current decisions made in the EU do not match the needs of local populations. To change this, we need to ensure a stronger voice for local and regional authorities at the EU level by enhancing the role of the Committee of the Regions."</span></div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span lang="EN-GB"> </span></div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span lang="EN-GB">The EU's regional policy accounts for approximately one third of the total EU budget, with the policy aiming to support all regions and cities across the EU with job creation, economic growth and sustainable development. Despite this, the EU's current regional policy has been hindered by the lack of strategic programming, centralisation, inflexibility, and not responding to the needs of small localities. </span></div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span lang="EN-GB"></span> </div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;"><div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span lang="EN-GB">ECR Group President <b>Rob Jonkman</b> said: "Our conference has illustrated the urgency in reforming the EU's regional policy along a more bottom-up, place-based approach. Local and regional government must have a voice in this process. Currently, the EU is trying to do good but is not fully delivering. The solution is decentralisation." </span></div></div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;"> </div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span lang="EN-GB">During the conference, the example of the management of the <i>Xylella fastidiosa</i> outbreak was presented as a case study to demonstrate how a lack of localism can harm the economy. The outbreak, first reported in 2013, is a virus that results in olive trees no longer being able to produce olives, affecting olive oil producers in Mediterranean countries. The virus heavily impacted the south of Italy, whose economy is reliant on the olive industry. "If local government had been more effectively involved, we could have better tackled the crisis", said <b>Francesco Bruni</b>, </span><span>Member of the Italian Senate for Puglia</span><span lang="EN-GB">.</span></div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span lang="EN-GB"></span> </div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span lang="EN-GB"> <span lang="EN-GB"><img class="ms-rtePosition-4" alt="Lecce conference.jpg" src="/ecr/news/Documents/Lecce%20conference.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:706px;height:591px;" /></span></span></div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span lang="EN-GB"></span> </div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span lang="EN-GB">Speaking in the first panel discussion on the EU's current regional policy, <b>Paolo Perrone</b> said: "We are not empowering regional and local government enough, which undermines the effectiveness of EU Funds. This can be addressed by reforming regional policy, putting the emphasis on localism and streamlining procedures."</span></div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span lang="EN-GB"> </span></div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;text-align:justify;line-height:115%;"><span lang="EN-GB">Other speakers at the ECR event were <b>Zoltan</b></span><b><span lang="EN-GB"> Kész MP</span></b><span lang="EN-GB">, Member of the Hungarian Parliament, <b>Antonio Palmisano </b>from LUISS University, <b>Oldřich Vlasák</b>, Vice-President of the ECR CoR Group and <b>Pavel Branda</b>, ECR CoR Coordinator for Commission for Territorial Cohesion and the EU Budget. </span><span lang="EN-GB"></span></div> <span class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" id="ms-rterangepaste-end"></span>
ECR rapporteur Daiva Matonienė's opinion on heating and cooling adopted unanimously<img alt="" height="180" src="/ecr/news/PublishingImages/Rob%20and%20Daiva%20at%20119th%20plenary.JPG" width="281" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />http://web.cor.europa.eu/ecr/news/Pages/ECR-rapporteur-Daiva-Matonienė's-opinion-on-heating-and-cooling-adopted-unanimously.aspx2016-10-16T22:00:00ZECR rapporteur Daiva Matonienė's opinion on heating and cooling adopted unanimously<div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="text-align:justify;margin:0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span lang="EN-GB">The opinion, which was voted through by Committee of the Regions' members during the 119<sup>th </sup>plenary, calls for more concrete action to boost sustainable heating and cooling in Europe.</span></div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="text-align:justify;margin:0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span lang="EN-GB">With 50% of energy in the EU being consumed by heating and cooling, improving sustainability is crucial for the EU to reach its energy and climate commitments. In her opinion, rapporteur </span><span lang="FR">Daiva Matonienė</span><span class="st1"><span lang="FR"> </span></span><span lang="EN-GB">(LT/ECR), </span><span lang="EN-IE">member of Šiauliai City Council and Deputy Minister for Environment of Lithuania, argued for the developing of smart district heating solutions that would have a positive impact on the environment, as well increasing energy security.</span></div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="text-align:justify;margin:0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span lang="EN-IE">Whilst the European Commission has started to concentrate on sustainable heating and cooling solutions, the Committee has now asked the Commission to come up with more concrete actions, as well as better connect existing financial support mechanisms in the EU.</span></div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="text-align:justify;margin:0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span lang="EN-IE">Ms </span><span lang="FR">Matonienė said: "The European Commission's strategy on heating and cooling</span><span lang="EN-GB"> is</span><span lang="FR"> a major</span><span lang="EN-GB"> step</span><span lang="FR"> forward but it lacks clarity."</span></div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="text-align:justify;margin:0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span lang="FR">"As local and regional authorities, we need to lead on this local issue and work towards preparing strategies for the promotion of sustainable heating and cooling. The Commission has a role to play in providing support, be it financial or technical, but it is important that the EU recognises that local and regional authorities are at the heart of this process."</span></div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="text-align:justify;margin:0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span lang="FR">Ms Matonienė's pledges are key to the reaching the EU's energy and climate objectives, with only one month to go until the global climate summit COP22 in Marrakesh.</span></div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="text-align:justify;margin:0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span lang="FR">Ms Matonienė added: "EU support must taking into account the diverse conditions that exist for heating and cooling. No EU country or region is the same. They face different geographic and demographic conditions. In turn, the development of heating and cooling systems differs from one locality to another."</span></div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="text-align:justify;margin:0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span lang="FR">Having been adopted unanimously by CoR members at this week's plenary session, the opinion will now be shared with the other European institutions.</span></div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5" style="margin:0cm 0cm 10pt;line-height:normal;"><i><span lang="EN-GB" style="color:black;">Daiva Matonienė is a member of Šiauliai City Council in Lithuania and is also the Deputy Minister for Environment of Lithuania. She has been a member of the CoR since 2009 where she is the ECR Group ENVE Coordinator. In her home country she is directly responsible for the national programme of modernisation of multi-family apartment buildings, which aims to ensure that these buildings are more energy efficient. </span></i><span style="color:black;"></span></div>
Localism top of the agenda for ECR conference in Italy<img alt="" height="319" src="/ecr/news/PublishingImages/ECR%20Localism%20conference_Poster.jpg" width="259" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />http://web.cor.europa.eu/ecr/news/Pages/Localism-top-of-the-agenda-for-ECR-conference-in-Italy.aspx2016-10-13T22:00:00ZLocalism top of the agenda for ECR conference in Italy<span class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5 ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0" id="ms-rterangepaste-start"></span><div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5 ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0" style="text-align:justify;margin:0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="line-height:115%;">Taking place on Friday 21 October in Lecce, Italy, the ECR Group in the Committee of the Regions' forthcoming localism conference aims to look at how the principle of localism can be used to achieve a better functioning regional policy.</span><span lang="EN-GB" style="line-height:115%;"> </span></div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5 ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0" style="text-align:justify;margin:0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="line-height:115%;">The event will focus specifically on the EU's regional policy, which accounts for approximately one third of the total EU budget. The policy aims to target all regions and cities, and as a result our conference will bring together a variety of stakeholders and speakers to the historic city of Lecce, Italy. </span></div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5 ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0" style="text-align:justify;margin:0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="line-height:115%;">Confirmed guests include Paolo Perrone, Mayor of Lecce and First Deputy Chairman of the National Association of Italian Municipalities, and Raffaele Fitto MEP, Member of the European Parliament for Southern Italy and President of Conservatori e Riformisti.</span></div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5 ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0" style="text-align:justify;margin:0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="line-height:115%;">The conference will be split into two sections, where the first panel will set the scene for EU regional policy and look at ongoing challenges experienced at a local and regional level that require EU actions. The second panel will feature a discussion on the way forward for localism post-2020. </span></div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5 ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0" style="text-align:justify;margin:0cm 0cm 10pt;"><em><span lang="PL" style="font-style:normal;line-height:115%;"><font face="Calibri"><span class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5 ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">The discussion will be overseen by President of the ECR Group in the CoR Rob Jonkman and Vice-President </span></font></span></em><span lang="PL" style="line-height:115%;">Oldřich Vlasák. Other guests will be announced in due course. </span></div> <div class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5 ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0" style="text-align:justify;margin:0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span lang="PL" style="line-height:115%;">The event, taking place at the Teatro Paisiello in Lecce, will start with welcome speeches from 09.00 and is estimated to finish at 12.45. </span></div> <span class="ms-rteFontSize-3 ms-rteFontFace-5 ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0" id="ms-rterangepaste-end"></span>

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