The ECR Group is centre-right and euro-realist.​
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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>
Baku summit: Building a shared future <img alt="" src="/ecr/news/PublishingImages/12.%20Baku.jpg" width="703" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />http://web.cor.europa.eu/ecr/news/Pages/Baku-summit---Building-a-shared-future-.aspx2018-06-09T22:00:00ZBaku summit: Building a shared future <p style="text-align:justify;">​<span lang="EN-GB">ECR Members Matteo Bianchi (Mayor of Morazzone and Member of Italian Parliament) and Juraj Droba (Chairman of Bratislava Self-Governing Region) spoke at the Baku Summit in Azerbaijan on 8-9 June in the localism panel. The panel looked at how localism can help improve the economy and governance of a locality. It also looked at the kind of local action required by current global issues and challenges. The panellists underlined that in the current multi-level governance system, each government has a role to play and that in order to be effective, the system needs to be bottom-up.</span></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-GB">The Baku Summit was organised by the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe. It brought together leaders from politics, business, government, academia and the not-for-profit sector from across Europe and the world, in order to shape the debate on our shared future.  The Summit explored the topics of the digital economy, economic freedom, connectivity through transportation, education transformation, local governance and energy security .</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 localism and governance panel was featured as the closing panel discussion. The panellists were Mr Matteo Bianchi, Mr Juraj Droba, Mr Elmar Valiyev (Mayor of Ganja city in Azerbaijan) and Mr Max Rangeley (Ediyor at the Cobden Centre). The panel moderated by Neva-Sadikoglu-Novaky (Secretary-General of the ECR Group in the European Committee of the Regions).</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">Localism is a founding principle of the ECR Group in the European Committee of the regions and is featured in the founding documents of the ACRE family; it is featured in the Reykjavik Declaration of ACRE and the Prague Deceleration of the ECR Group in the European Parliament. Localism is the idea that in governance, decisions should be taken at the lowest practicable level, by the individual where possible and by national authorities in preference to supranational bodies. </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">According to Mr Droba, reshaping the EU and its neighbouring countries into entities that truly work for the citizens will only happen if political activity is conducted at the lowest meaningful level. "Localism prevents governments from making decision which do not reflect people's wishes. The further away from the citizens decisions are made, the less they reflect people's preferences", explained Mr Droba.</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">Matteo Bianchi MP agreed that a localist approach is the best way to achieve economic development. To illustrate his case, he used the example of Northern Italy: "Coming from Lombardy, I see that public spending is much more efficient when decisions are taken close to the citizens instead of being taken in Rome or in Brussels. Studies show that if all public services in Italy were run as efficiently as in my region, Italy would save four billion EUR a year".</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 Mayor of Ganja explained that local government is one of the cornerstones of Azerbaijan's constitutional system. Under President Aliyev, Azerbaijan has also taken strong measures to decentralise, including referenda in 2009 and 2016 that voted to increase local governance through the introduction, and then empowerment, of municipalities. </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">Max Rangley underlined the economic argument in favour of greater localism and explained how global trends like the digital revolution and the digital economy can revolutionise local governance. </span></p><font color="#000000" face="Times New Roman"> </font>
Now is the time to reform and improve the EU's Cohesion Policy says Oldřich Vlasák <img alt="" src="/ecr/news/PublishingImages/38.%20Vlasak.jpg" width="710" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />http://web.cor.europa.eu/ecr/news/Pages/Now-is-the-time-to-reform-and-improve-the-EU's-Cohesion-Policy-says-Oldřich-Vlasák-.aspx2018-06-06T22:00:00ZNow is the time to reform and improve the EU's Cohesion Policy says Oldřich Vlasák <p style="text-align:justify;">​<strong>The European Committee of the Region's (CoR) </strong><strong>Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy (COTER)</strong><strong> held a meeting on 6-7 June in Bulgaria, the country currently presiding over the Council of the EU. Bringing together representatives and elected officials from the EU Member States, the meeting took place against the backdrop of the publication of the EU's budget proposal for the period 2021-2027, as well as sectoral legislation on the future of the EU's Cohesion Policy.</strong> </p><p style="text-align:justify;">This was a crucial meeting, as the CoR, the voice of local and regional authorities (LRAs) in the EU, will play an important role in providing expertise during the legislative process. Members of the COTER Commission had a chance to exchange views with the European Commission's representative, Mr Von Breska from DG REGIO, responsible for drafting the proposals that will determine the future of cohesion spending.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">During the meeting ECR Vice-President Oldřich Vlasák (Councillor of the City of Hradec Králové in the Czech Republic), COTER's Deputy-Coordinator of the ECR Group, underlined the importance of local and regional authorities in administering Cohesion Policy and called for more simplified rules so as to lower the administrative burdens. He also noted that while the Czech Republic remains, under the new proposals, one of the main beneficiaries of the EU's Cohesion Policy, the country's allocation will be decreased significantly – by a quarter. This is partly due to its successful economic performance. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Mr Vlasák welcomed the success of the Czech Republic. He warned, however, against unfair redistribution of funds among EU Member States, which could give the impression that countries that do their homework and achieve better economic results get penalised. "Success in the EU should be rewarded," he added. Furthermore, in order to ensure better delivery of EU funds and to match spending with priorities, national authorities should be able to enjoy greater flexibility". "Member States should be allowed to move funds between programmes that they consider most beneficial to their citizens," he concluded.    </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The EU budget, as well as the particular legislation on Cohesion Policy, will now have to be agreed on by the EU Member States, as well as by the European Parliament. While the European Commission and some Member States, such as Germany, would like the negotiations on the budget to be wrapped up before the EU Parliamentary elections in early 2019, it seems unlikely that the different positions will be aligned in such a short time.  </p>
How space technologies improve sustainable energy management <img alt="" src="/ecr/news/PublishingImages/18.%20Daiva1.JPG" width="707" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />http://web.cor.europa.eu/ecr/news/Pages/How-space-technologies-improve-sustainable-energy-management-.aspx2018-06-06T22:00:00ZHow space technologies improve sustainable energy management <table width="100%" class="ms-rteTable-default" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width:100%;"><p style="text-align:justify;">How can space technologies contribute to Europe's energy transition? To what extent can satellite applications enable more sustainable energy management systems? In what ways can satellite applications support cities and regions in the daily management of urban services? These are some of the questions addressed by our Member Daiva Matonienė (Member of Šiauliai City Council in Lithuania) at a workshop co-organised by the European Committee of the Regions, the European Space Agency and Eurisy, a non-profit organisation which aims to make satellite services and space applications more accessible to public bodies and businesses.</p></td></tr><tr style="text-align:justify;"><td class="ms-rteTable-default"><p>With a particular focus on local and regional needs, the workshop held on 6 June assessed the possible contributions of space assets in responding to the needs of the energy sector and discussed best practices to make space-based data and services available to potential users operating in the energy sector.</p><p>The event was chaired by ECR Group Member Daiva Matonienė, former Vice Minister of Environment of Lithuania and CoR spokesperson on renewable energy and the internal energy market in electricity. </p><p>In her opening speech, Daiva Matonienė said: "Space technologies can play a great role in reaching the EU's energy and climate objectives but its potential must be maximised through innovative mechanisms that attract private investments. Space policy needs to be solidly based on a long-term strategy. Success will be ours if public authorities of all levels closely cooperate with businesses to further develop space industry public-private partnerships."   </p><p>Decarbonising the economy by 2050 will require huge efforts by energy companies and policy-makers to achieve the goals of cutting greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring competitive and secure energy supplies. Ms Matonienė and other CoR Members consider that facilitating synergies between the energy and space sectors is crucial in order to reach our climate and energy targets, both at EU and at international level. </p><p>The event was also the occasion to showcase specific applications of space technologies. Participants presented space assets helping to secure energy systems and support energy operators.</p><p>The event was part of the EU Sustainable Energy Week 2018. Every year the European Commission's Directorate General for Energy organises the event dedicated to renewables and efficient energy use in Europe. This year's main theme was "clean energy for all Europeans". <br></p></td></tr></tbody></table><p>​</p>

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