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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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Statement from ECR Group President Rob Jonkman on the ACRE Spitzenkandidat <img alt="" src="/ecr/news/PublishingImages/Jan%20Zahradil.jpg" width="683" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />http://web.cor.europa.eu/ecr/news/Pages/Jan-Zahradil.aspx2018-11-15T23:00:00ZStatement from ECR Group President Rob Jonkman on the ACRE Spitzenkandidat <p>​As the European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the European Committee of the Regions, we are proudly supporting the Spitzenkandidat of our political family <strong>Jan Zahradil MEP</strong>. </p><p>As local and regional authorities, we look forward to working with our political family's candidate for the May 2019 elections to the European Parliament so as to ensure not only a high turnout for ECR candidates, but also to facilitate a bottom-up engagement of the grassroot supporters of our political parties. </p><p>Our Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe has been the consistent voice of a genuine reform of Europe led by the principle of governance at the most practicable level as underlined in ACRE's Prague declaration. We look forward to working with Jan Zahradil in advocating a euro-realist and euro-localist EU and in ensuring that this message is heard.</p>
Pavel Branda advocates decentralisation of EU financing for the Eastern Partnership and shares lessons learnt from the Czech Republic's economic transformation <img alt="" src="/ecr/news/PublishingImages/PBranda.jpg" width="708" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />http://web.cor.europa.eu/ecr/news/Pages/Pavel-Branda-advocates-decentralisation-of-EU-financing-for-the-Eastern-Partnership-.aspx2018-09-24T22:00:00ZPavel Branda advocates decentralisation of EU financing for the Eastern Partnership and shares lessons learnt from the Czech Republic's economic transformation <font color="#000000" face="Times New Roman"> </font><p style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="color:black;font-family:"calibri","sans-serif";">“Promoting enhanced cooperation with Eastern Partnership countries requires decentralised solutions. The new Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument proposed this year by the European Commission would benefit from earmarking funds specifically for local and regional authorities,” said ECR member Pavel Branda (Deputy Mayor of Radlo in the Czech Republic) during the annual meeting of the Conference of Regional and Local Authorities for the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP). </span></p><div style="text-align:justify;"><font color="#000000" face="Times New Roman"> </font></div><p style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="color:black;font-family:"calibri","sans-serif";"> </span></p><div style="text-align:justify;"><font color="#000000" face="Times New Roman"> </font></div><p style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="color:black;font-family:"calibri","sans-serif";">CORLEAP is the political forum of local and regional authorities from the European Union and the Eastern Partnership countries. At the meeting on 24 September in Kiev, Ukraine, CoR members held discussions with their counterparts from Eastern Partnership countries on the Commission proposal, which envisages scrapping the twelve existing instruments for financial assistance to non-EU countries and replacing them with one global instrument with an increased budget. As it stands, the proposal does not envisage any financing dedicated specifically to local and regional authorities from Eastern Partnership countries. It is also very vague as to the level of funding to be allocated to particular geographical regions.</span></p><div style="text-align:justify;"><font color="#000000" face="Times New Roman"> </font></div><p style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="color:black;font-family:"calibri","sans-serif";"> </span></p><div style="text-align:justify;"><font color="#000000" face="Times New Roman"> </font></div><p style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="color:black;font-family:"calibri","sans-serif";">In addition to taking part in CORLEAP, Mr Branda attended the meeting of Task Force Ukraine on 25 September, where he shared the Czech Republic's experiences of economic transformation after the fall of communism. Mr Branda stressed that it is often more economically sound to support the development of new companies than to restructure the ones that do not function. He also pointed to the fact that supporting foreign investors “cannot be done at the expense of local business”, which has been the case in the Czech Republic. The Task Force meeting was attended by Ukraine's First Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade and the Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine.</span></p><font color="#000000" face="Times New Roman"> </font>
ECR Localism Summit: A New Vision for Europe<img alt="" src="/ecr/news/PublishingImages/Localism%20summit%20pic1.jpg" width="712" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />http://web.cor.europa.eu/ecr/news/Pages/ECR-Localism-Summit_A-New-Vision-for-Europe.aspx2018-09-18T22:00:00ZECR Localism Summit: A New Vision for Europe<p lang="ar" style="text-align:justify;">The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group in the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) today held its first Localism Summit, bringing together leading thinkers and leaders from government and business to advocate for more bottom-up solutions to global trends. Organised under the theme of <a href="/ecr/events/Pages/Localism-Summit.aspx"><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>'A Glocal Vision for the Future of Europe'</strong></span></a>, the Summit addressed issues such as access to urban services, social inequalities, climate change, disaster risk management and migration.</p><p lang="ar" style="text-align:justify;">"Our Group believes that empowering communities and developing bottom-up solutions is the best way to prepare for and respond to global trends," said <strong>Rob Jonkman</strong>, President of the ECR Group in the CoR. He added, "localism is about civil empowerment. Understood as taking decisions at the most practicable level, by the individual where possible and by local or national authorities in preference to supranational bodies, it can help us achieve an improved and better-functioning EU. We need better governance, not bigger government."</p><p lang="ar" style="text-align:justify;">The summit was held in Lombardy's Milan, Italy. On 22 October 2017 the regions of Lombardy and Veneto held a referendum on more autonomy from the central government in which the vast majority of those participating voted in favour of more power decentralisation. The Summit was attended, among many others, by <strong>Marcin Ociepa</strong> (ECR/PL), Polish Deputy Minister for Entrepreneurship and Technology, <strong>Dario Galli</strong>, Italian Undersecretary for economic development, <strong>Attilio Fontana</strong>, President of Lombardy Region as well as regional ministers for autonomy and culture & immigration and security.</p><p lang="ar" style="text-align:justify;">The Localism Summit welcomed speakers, experts and local and regional leaders from many fields of interest and countries who explored the value and role of the principle of localism in the way our cities and regions are run, in tackling climate change and natural disasters, in combatting social inequality as well as in managing migration and integration. </p><p lang="ar" style="text-align:justify;">Opening the Summit, President of Lombardy Region <strong>Attilio Fontana </strong>said: “we need more localism and more regionalism. From Lombardy we are calling on the European Commission for greater simplification at the EU level". Deputy President of the Lombardy Regional Council <strong>Francesca Brianza</strong> welcomed the Summit's participants in the region and expressed the desire "to build together a new direction at the EU level listening more to regions and local communities."</p><p lang="ar" style="text-align:justify;">The timing of the event is of pressing importance as it takes place ahead of the EU elections in May of next year. Concerning this point, <strong>Matteo Bianchi</strong> (ECR/IT), Member of the Italian Parliament and Mayor of Morazzone, underlined that "the citizens of Lombardy recently voted with a majority of over 90% in favour of greater decentralisation of powers. They want to be empowered to decide for themselves how to manage their localities. They do not want big national or EU government."</p><p lang="ar" style="text-align:justify;">Offering some concluding remarks, <strong>Carlo Fidanza</strong> (ECR/IT), Member of the Italian Parliament and Member of Rosazza Municipal Council said that he has seen "first-hand the importance of reforming the EU. Events such as this Summit play an important role in enabling collective thinking on genuine reform so that the EU is better able to serve its citizens. In light of the upcoming European elections, I can think of no better time than the current to be discussing Europe's future and how we deliver a reformed EU."</p><p lang="ar" style="text-align:justify;">In the coming months the ECR Group will work with policymakers to ensure that localism is accepted and embraced both at the national and EU levels so that it can significantly contribute to addressing global trends that are having a profound impact on the local communities.  </p>
ECR Group President supports Austrian EU Presidency's focus on subsidiarity<img alt="" src="/ecr/news/PublishingImages/2.%20Jonkman%20Austrian%20Presidency.jpg" width="688" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />http://web.cor.europa.eu/ecr/news/Pages/ECR-Group-President-supports-Austrian-EU-Presidency's-focus-on-subsidiarity.aspx2018-07-05T22:00:00ZECR Group President supports Austrian EU Presidency's focus on subsidiarity<p style="text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-GB">On 4-5 July the ECR members of the European Committee of the Regions met in Brussels to take part in the 130th plenary session. The programme for the two-day plenary saw the adoption of 11 opinions and was full of topical discussions, including one on the Austrian presidency's priorities. In light of the publication of the report of the Task Force on subsidiarity, proportionality and "doing less more efficiently", and of the priorities of the Austrian presidency, ECR Group President Rob Jonkman (Alderman in Opsterland in the Netherlands) called for the EU to place more of a focus on the role of local and regional authorities in the policy-making process, in order to ensure that the EU does more with less, more efficiently and with an emphasis on the level of government that is closest to the citizens.</span> </p><div style="text-align:justify;"><font color="#000000" face="Times New Roman"> </font></div><p style="text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-GB">The Austrian government was represented at the plenary in Brussels by Juliane Bogner-Strauss, Federal Minister for women, families and youth. In her speech to CoR members, Ms Bogner-Strauss stressed that Europe was facing numerous challenges, including international competition, conflict, migration and climate change. She noted that the EU needed to be closer to the citizens. Referring to the presidency's slogan, 'Europe that protects', she explained that the EU needed to strengthen the subsidiarity principle and give local and regional authorities the capacity to find solutions that worked. The EU, in other words, should 'deliver more for less'. </span></p><div style="text-align:justify;"><font color="#000000" face="Times New Roman"> </font><font color="#000000" face="Times New Roman"> </font></div><p style="text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-GB">Speaking on behalf of the ECR Group, its president Rob Jonkman welcomed Austria's emphasis on subsidiarity and reminded those arguing for an ever closer union that "an ever closer union does not require ever more regulation". He gave a clear example of how the EU unnecessarily intervenes in areas that are best managed by local and regional authorities, the closest level of government to citizens.</span></p><div style="text-align:justify;"><font color="#000000" face="Times New Roman"> </font><font color="#000000" face="Times New Roman"> </font></div><p style="text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-GB">Alongside his comments on subsidiarity, Mr Jonkman also welcomed the presidency's effort to highlight the issue of digitalisation and its importance for the economy. He underlined the key role of local and regional authorities, noting that "modernising our public administration through the use of digital technologies will bring benefits and added value to our citizens and businesses".</span><span lang="EN-GB"> </span></p><div style="text-align:justify;"><font color="#000000" face="Times New Roman"> </font><font color="#000000" face="Times New Roman"> </font></div><p style="text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-GB">Austria assumed the six-month Presidency of the Council of the EU on 1 July, taking over from Bulgaria. The Task Force on subsidiarity, of which the CoR has been part, published its long-awaited report on 10 July. The document argues that the EU needs a new way of working when it comes to subsidiarity and proportionality, and also recommends that the EU institutions agree on a "focused" multi-annual programme that would "promote a rebalancing" of the EU's work in some policy areas towards "more effective" implementation of existing legislation and away from initiating new legislation.</span><span lang="EN-GB"> </span><span lang="EN-GB">The full report can be accessed online. </span></p><font color="#000000" face="Times New Roman"> </font><p align="left" style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;text-align:left;line-height:normal;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size:12pt;"><font color="#000000" face="Times New Roman"> </font></span></p><font color="#000000" face="Times New Roman"> </font>

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