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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>
Oldřich Vlasák, ECR Vice-President: Clean energy transformation will not happen overnight<img alt="" src="/ecr/news/PublishingImages/3.%20Vlasak%20Canete.jpg" width="605" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />http://web.cor.europa.eu/ecr/news/Pages/Clean-energy-transformation-will-not-happen-overnight.aspx2018-07-04T22:00:00ZOldřich Vlasák, ECR Vice-President: Clean energy transformation will not happen overnight<p style="text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-GB">In his speech at the July plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions, the ECR's vice-president, Oldřich Vlasák, outlined the group's key messages on climate change. The debate was attended by the European Commissioner for Climate Action, Miguel Arias Cañete. Mr Vlasák, who also serves as a councillor for the city of Hradec Králové in the Czech Republic, said that the Commission needed to be more realistic about the pace of change in some parts of Europe. Furthermore, he underlined the need for more action to prevent natural disasters.</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">Mariusz Skiba, deputy mayor of Katowice in Poland, also took part in the debate, which took place ahead of the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 24) which will take place in Katowice on 3-14 December. </span></p><div style="text-align:justify;"><font color="#000000" face="Times New Roman"> </font></div><div style="text-align:justify;"><font color="#000000" face="Times New Roman"> </font></div><p style="text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-GB">Mr Vlasák called on the Commission to respect the diverse EU energy landscape, pointing out that some regions and cities will need more time to successfully transition to clean alternative energy sources. </span></p><div style="text-align:justify;"><font color="#000000" face="Times New Roman"> </font></div><div style="text-align:justify;"><font color="#000000" face="Times New Roman"> </font></div><p style="text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-GB">He explained that "countries like the Czech Republic and Poland will not be in a position to phase out coal completely in the short term". He also asked the Commission "not to forget that the transformation of the Ruhr, the former coal-mining region in Germany, took more than 60 years, and in our part of the continent we started reducing emissions only after 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell". </span></p><div style="text-align:justify;"><font color="#000000" face="Times New Roman"> </font></div><div style="text-align:justify;"><font color="#000000" face="Times New Roman"> </font></div><p style="text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-GB">Mr Vlasák warned that phasing out coal entirely in the short run would lead to "blackouts and the loss of thousands of jobs". Furthermore, looking at the wider context, he observed that the Czech Republic, in spite of having received bad press for its coal industry, managed to cut its emissions by 37% in 2014 in comparison to the levels detected in 1990, while at the same time enabling the country's economy to grow. </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 vice-president of the ECR also spoke about the link between the increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters hitting our cities and regions and climate change. It was therefore necessary, Mr Vlasák pointed out, to "focus more on increasing our disaster resilience as part of our climate action work". </span></p>
Conservative and reformist local and regional politicians call for structured cooperation after Brexit<img alt="" src="/ecr/news/PublishingImages/12%20Downing%20Street.jpg" width="714" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />http://web.cor.europa.eu/ecr/news/Pages/Conservative-and-reformist-local-and-regional-politicians-call-for-structured-cooperation-after-Brexit.aspx2018-06-09T22:00:00ZConservative and reformist local and regional politicians call for structured cooperation after Brexit<p><span class="ms-rteFontSize-2">​ECR Group Members with <span class="st ms-rteFontSize-2"><em><em>Lord Martin Callanan (</em></em>the United Kingdom's <em><em>Minister</em></em> of State for Exiting the European Union) and Andrew Lewer MP at 10 Downing Street, London</span></span></p><p><strong class="ms-rteFontSize-2"></strong> </p><p><strong>Conservative local government and devolved administration from the UK met with their counterparts from other European countries to discuss their future cooperation after the UK leaves the EU.</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the European Committee of the Regions held its external group meeting in London today. The local and regional politicians met at the Local Government Association (LGA) premises to discuss areas where structured cooperation will be needed at the local and regional level. Group members met private sector and had meetings at 10 Downing Street.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"The UK and EU will continue to be key strategic partners even after the UK leaves the EU. We face many common global challenges ranging from digitalization to climate change and addressing these requires not only national but also local action. We need to continue working together at the local and regional level in a structured way to share best practices and continue promoting greater localism and free market values", said ECR CoR Group President Rob Jonkman (Alderman in Opsterland, the Netherlands).</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Cllr David Simmonds (leader of the LGA Conservative Group) underlined that "local authorities exercise powers in the EU in a way that they do not in the UK. In the EU, local and regional authorities are formally consulted when laws are being prepared.  We (UK) need to ensure that UK local government maintains its positive influence for efficient and effective government in areas currently with the EU. We also need to devolve some of the powers coming back to local government so that local challenges can be addressed through local solutions." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">In a panel co-organised with the Think-Tank Localis, President of the Polish region of Podkarpackie Wladyslaw Ortyl and Mayor of the Italian city of Morazzone Matteo Bianchi presented examples of localism from their respective countries. In its second panel, bringing together London Assembly Member Keith Prince and private sector representatives, members of the group looked at the case study of digitalization and how cities like London are using technologies to deliver public services. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Among the issues under discussion was how the future cooperation could be structured in the European Committee of the Regions, the EU's political assembly bringing together 350 local and regional politicians from EU member states. The UK currently has 24 Members in the CoR represented in four out of five political groupings. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Given that the UK will continue to pay into the EU budget until 2020, it would be good if we could continue to take have our seats in the European Committee of the Regions. We need to avoid taxation without representation," said Vice-President of the ECR CoR Group Cllr Joe Cooney (Member of the Pendle Council, leader of UK delegation in the ECR). </p><p>The UK will cease to be a Member of the EU after 29 March 2019. The EU has structured relations with a number of third countries. It remains to be seen what form of cooperation UK and EU will have post-2019.</p>

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