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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ECR Group Members call for more cooperation between the EU and its Eastern Neighbours <img alt="" src="/ecr/news/PublishingImages/ukraine.jpg" width="698" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />http://web.cor.europa.eu/ecr/news/Pages/ECR-Group-Members-call-for-more-cooperation-between-the-EU-.aspx2017-09-07T22:00:00ZECR Group Members call for more cooperation between the EU and its Eastern Neighbours <p style="text-align:justify;">​<strong>Members of the ECR Group met on 8 September in Lviv (Ukraine) to discuss EU's relations with Eastern Neighbourhood countries and the future of Europe. The conference, organised at the invitation of the Marshal of Podkarpackie region and ECR Group Member Władysław Ortyl, brought together local, regional, national and EU politicians and experts. </strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Speaking about the future of Europe, Ruža Tomašić MEP (ECR/HR) said: "As a sovereignist and localist I believe Europe needs more smart decentralisation. Currently diversity is not much respected in Brussels when it comes to national and regional differences. The EU should respect local specificities and decisions of national governments. We cannot accept a situation in which those who do not want further centralisation become second class members. As to Ukraine, I believe that with our help the country will soon rebuild itself and in the future it will be able to join the EU so that we can work together on delivering best results to our local communities".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The conference aimed to facilitate a wider discussion on what future we want for ourselves, our children and our continent. "The European Union is in the process of reflecting on the future of Europe, but so far the debate has concentrated on how the EU could evolve. It is however important to remember that our future is dependent not only on the EU, but also on non-EU countries", said ECR Group President Rob Jonkman (Alderman in Opsterland, Netherlands).</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Particular attention was paid to the EU's relations with Ukraine, a country facing an ongoing conflict with the Russian Federation. Ukraine is a priority partner for the EU with whom the EU has entered a new state of relationship following the coming into effect of the Association Agreement on 1 September of this year. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"The Eastern dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) represents clear added value for the EU and must continue. At the same time we have to search for new instruments and improve the existing ones to enrich this policy. We need an EU macro-regional strategy for the Carpathian region so that EU Funds can deliver better results. More EU support is also needed for local and regional partnerships, which help to remove social and infrastructural barriers", said Marshal Władysław Ortyl.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Head of Strzyżów District and ECR Group Member Robert Godek gave a practical example of good cooperation between his district (located in Podkarpackie region, Poland) and the city of Brody (located in Lviv oblast, Ukraine). A joint project funded by the EU and realised by Strzyżów and Brody focused on developing their tourism potential. "The value of such programmes cannot be quantified. Their biggest benefit is promoting mutual understating among people leaving across the border".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Other speakers, all of whom highlighted the need for more decentralised cooperation in Europe, included ECR Group Member Pavel Branda (Deputy Mayor of Rádlo, Czech Republic), Pieter Cleppe (Head of Brussels office of Open Europe), Oleksandr Hanushchyn (Chairman of the Lviv Regional Council) and Serhiy Kiral (Member of the Ukrainian Parliament).</p>
Arnold Hatch endorses Jim Nicholson's call for EU Emergency Funding for Northern Ireland<img alt="" src="/ecr/news/PublishingImages/AHatch.jpg" width="414" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />http://web.cor.europa.eu/ecr/news/Pages/Arnold-Hatch-endorses-Jim-Nicholson's-call-for-EU-Emergency-Funding-for-Northern-Ireland.aspx2017-08-31T22:00:00ZArnold Hatch endorses Jim Nicholson's call for EU Emergency Funding for Northern Ireland<p><strong>Alderman Arnold Hatch</strong> (Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Northern Ireland, UK/ Member of CoR and ECR Group Presidency/ President of the Northern Ireland Local Government Association) speaking at the European Committee of the Regions' Bureau meeting in Tallinn, Estonia this morning, endorsed the call of the <strong>MEP for Northern Ireland, Jim Nicholson</strong>, to European Commissioner Phil Hogan to provide EU Emergency Funding for farmers and agri-businesses and all those affected by the flash floods in Northern Ireland. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Speaking during the discussion and adoption of the Action Plan between the CoR and Climate Alliance, Alderman Hatch drew attention to the need for EU Emergency funding for those similarly affected in Donegal as requested by the Fine Gael MEP for Midlands-North West constituency.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Extreme weather conditions can affect any region in Europe whether we are in the European Union or not, and the more we can do to mitigate against the worst effects of climate change the better", Alderman Hatch concluded.<br>  <br> <strong>Editor's notes</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Parts of Northern Ireland were devastated by heavy flooding in August 2017. Infrastructure was devastated and as many as 100 people had to be rescued after fleeing their homes.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><a href="https://uup.org/news/5140/21/Nicholson-calls-for-EU-emergency-aid-for-those-hit-by-flooding#.Wakjj2epWUl"><span lang="EN-GB" style="text-decoration:underline;">More information on Jim Nicholson MEP's call for EU Emergency Funding.</span></a></p>
Cities and regions underline the EU added-value of people-to-people and small-scale projects in cross-border areas<img alt="" src="/ecr/news/PublishingImages/Branda%20rapporteur.png" width="689" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />http://web.cor.europa.eu/ecr/news/Pages/Cities-and-regions-underline-the-EU-added-value-of-people-to-people-and-small-scale-projects-in-cross-border-areas.aspx2017-07-31T22:00:00ZCities and regions underline the EU added-value of people-to-people and small-scale projects in cross-border areas<p style="text-align:justify;">​<strong>Local and regional elected representatives believe that more importance should be attached to people-to-people and small-scale projects in the framework of cross-border cooperation programmes, in order to overcome obstacles at borders and to integrate border areas and their citizens. </strong>According to Dr Pavel Branda's (CZ/ECR) <a href="http://cor.europa.eu/fr/activities/opinions/Pages/opinion-factsheet.aspx?OpinionNumber=CDR%201527/2017"><strong>opinion</strong> </a>adopted unanimously on 12 July 2017 by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), the positive impact and EU added-value of such projects has not been properly recognised and reflected in the EUs Cohesion Policy. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Border regions are home to more than one third of the EU's population and represent a major challenge for territorial cooperation. Over the 2014-2020 period, border communities are set to receive investments worth more than EUR 6.6 billion - out of the EUR 10 billion invested in regional cooperation. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The opinion drafted by <strong>Pavel Branda, </strong>Deputy Mayor of the city of Rádlo in the Czech Republic, recommends that for the post-2020 Cohesion Policy, these projects be built into the EU's support for cross-border cooperation as legitimate instruments under the CBC programmes. It also calls on the Commission to make the necessary arrangements, including the simplification of procedures.    </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Regional and local political leaders believe that, in light of the current situation in the EU of growing nationalism, the migration crisis, the UKs exit from the EU and economic and monetary difficulties, it is essential to focus more on projects that bring added-value and therefore both refocus the EUs cohesion policy on people-to-people and small scale projects as well as raisinge the profile of their positive results<u style="text-decoration:underline;">.</u></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-GB">The opinion stresses the findings of independent studies confirming that the variety of projects and their decentralised management mean that such projects are capable of delivering better results in addressing region-specific needs and are also capable of bringing numerous concrete benefits to citizens, although these projects are often neglected by the managing authorities for the sake of larger projects.</span><span lang="EN-GB"> </span>"It is not only large projects but also the small individual projects which are essential for the success of cross-border cooperation. They help to build confidence and eliminate stereotypes and prejudices," explains Pavel Branda. They directly involve citizens, local and regional authorities and civil society organizations while developing interpersonal contacts and partnerships and creating a platform for sharing experiences from different sides of the border. Very often, just the fact that cross-border cooperation takes place is a positive result in itself. Therefore, when it comes to assessing the objectives of the EU2020 strategy, flexibility with more suitable methodology and evaluation indicators for these kinds of projects is needed in order to ensure that their contribution is not overlooked.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The CoR therefore recommends that local and regional measures be taken within the framework of CBC, as opposed to more overarching initiatives, which are considered by the Committee to be less effective and overly dominant. Local and regional elected representatives call for the development of smaller-scale initiatives, which will enable local problems to be tackled using a tailor-made approach. This will help to mobilise and involve local citizens participating in the development of larger projects and thus restore genuine trust and cooperation in these areas. </p><p> </p>
Local leaders adopt Daiva Matonienė's opinion on renewable energy and internal electricity market<img alt="" src="/ecr/news/PublishingImages/DaivaMatoniene.jpg?RenditionID=3" width="532" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />http://web.cor.europa.eu/ecr/news/Pages/Local-leaders-adopt-Daiva-Matonienė's-opinion-on-renewable-energy-and-internal-electricity-market.aspx2017-07-13T22:00:00ZLocal leaders adopt Daiva Matonienė's opinion on renewable energy and internal electricity market<p>The Members of the European Committee of the Regions adopted on 16 July a set of legislative and policy recommendations on the Winter Energy Package, presented by the European Commission in November 2016. One of the crucial opinions was drafted under the leadership of ECR Group Coordinator in the Environment Commission Ms Daiva Matonienė.</p><p> </p><p>Ms Matonienė is a Member of Šiauliai City Council and former Deputy Minister of Environment of Lithuania.</p><p> </p><p>Commenting on the adoption of her opinion, she said: "We need to be ambitious when it comes to increasing our use of clean energy sources but we need to do so in a 'localist' way, meaning by enabling regions and cities to adapt measures to their specificities and not putting them into a legislative straightjacket. We need to remember that Member States have different capacities when it comes to renewable energy and we need to be ambitious, but also realistic and cost-efficient".</p><p> </p><p>"Overall we welcome in our opinion the European Commissions "Clean Energy for All Europeans" package but as local and regional authorities we would like to see more to be done in terms of ensuring greater electricity market integration. I personally also believe that the Commission should pay more attention to the development of new environmentally-friendly and energy efficient technologies, in line with the technological neutrality principle", said the ECR Group rapporteur.</p><p>The 'Clean Energy for All Europeans' package is the main instrument to move forward Europe's sustainable energy transition. It covers energy efficiency, renewable energy, the design of the electricity market, security of electricity supply and governance rules for the Energy Union.</p>

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