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LeaDeRs The newsletter of Liberal and Democrat Regional and Local Politicians

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Alliance des Démocrates et des Libéraux pour l'Europe

JULY 2012

IN THIS ISSUE

Message from ALDE-CoR new president

Message from ALDE-CoR’s new president

As the new President of the ALDE-CoR Group I hope that given my experience I will be able to contribute to a better and more liberal Europe in favour of peace, security, wellbeing, citizens’ rights, individual emancipation as well as social cohesion. And that is what our unique Europe should be like. However, we are not yet ALDE-CoR President Bas Verkerk strong enough to be able to achieve all this at once but the Europe 2020 strategy will allow us to gain additional strength. Seeing as the world is changing very rapidly it is of utmost importance to keep up the pace. In doing so, we need to persevere in reinforcing our economy, pushing it to be more technologydriven and more sustainable, for this would give us a clear advantage. In line with the liberal thinking, we also need to move towards a more energy-efficient Europe. Appealing to individuals and SMEs to take the lead in energy transition would give ownership, responsibility and active production capabilities for the market.

ALDE-CoR elects Vice Presidents and coordinators 2 ALDE activity at the July 2012 plenary session of the Committee of the Regions

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Commissioner Malmström discusses future collaboration with ALDE-CoR members

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EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas meets with ALDE-CoR member Roland Werner

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ALDE delegation witnesses the new green economy in action in Bornholm

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Working group on ELDR theme resolution welcomes ALDE-CoR input

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The Leadership Group of the Atlantic Forum has appointed ALDE Vice President Paul O’Donoghue (IE) to represent regional stakeholders

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CoR ECOS Commission discusses Active Ageing in Ancona at the invitation of ALDE Vice President Gian Mario Spacca (IT)

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ALDE-CoR member Istvan Serto-Radics (HU) panellist at the launch of the European Consumer Summit

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ALDE-CoR Members as key speakers at the European Liberal Forum seminar in Bulgaria

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ALDE-CoR promotes European Liberals at EU institutions’ Open Doors Day

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ALDE member Graham Tope’s local council of Sutton presented with prestigious European prize 7 Upcoming ALDE activities

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Ongoing and upcoming ALDE opinions

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We are moving towards a multi-polar world, especially when speaking economically and as far as progress and societal changes are concerned. By 2040 only 5% of the world population will be living in Europe. With that in mind, we have a lot of work ahead of us. We as representatives of Local and Regional Authorities have to make sure that Europe is on the right path. The Committee of the Regions is increasingly the most important way of getting our message across. I have been an active member in the Committee of the Regions for many years now and I have always defended our future. I believe I have been successful in strengthening the role of the CoR and that of the Liberals within the institution. I have always emphasised the need to get our opinions across and the need to make sure that we are clearer in what we say; that we have a stronger message to send out. We ought to be firing on all guns and providing follow-up for our opinions. In the past few years the Committee has been exercising this strategy and with good results: we now work much closer with the Commission, the Council and our colleagues in the European Parliament.

EUROPEAN UNION

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LeaDeRs

The newsletter of Liberal Democrat Regional and Local Politicians

However, the Committee as an institution has to, just like our colleague institutions, make do with a lower budget. Finding new and different ways of working together – for example utilising video-conferencing, holding fewer external meetings, using less office space and staff as well as using less paper. Cutting costs as is being done in local and regional councils should be high on the agenda. This would be a means of making sure we are credible as a Committee.

make us stronger, more creative, more efficient, and transform us into a community in favour of a more Liberal Europe.

As the new President of the Group I will endeavour to enhance the possibilities of all individual members. I believe that would

Bas Verkerk Bas Verkerk has been a member of the CoR since 2001, a member of the CoR Bureau since 2002 and the Group’s First Vice-President since January 2010. Before being appointed Mayor of Delft, he held the position of Alderman for Economic and International affairs in The Hague’s Municipal Council (1996-2004) and prior to that he worked in the litigation department of the Dutch Council of State (1985-1996).

ALDE-CoR elects Vice Presidents and coordinators

ALDE activity at the July 2012 plenary session of the Committee of the Regions At the 96th plenary session of the Committee of the Regions, the ALDE Group emphatically supported the Europe 2020 strategy objectives by means of three draft opinions advocating smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Satu Tietari, Member of Säkylä Municipal Council (FI), presenting the Responsible Business Package, stressed the need for social innovation in these times of economic difficulty. The opinion, which was adopted unanimously, speaks out on corporate social responsibility (CSR), transparency, information exchange and support for social businesses.

First Vice-President Doris Ansari and Second Vice-President Paul O’Donoghue

In its meeting held on Wednesday 18 July, marking the start of the second half of the 5th mandate of the Committee of the Regions, the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe unanimously elected a new presidency team. Alongside the new President Bas Verkerk, Mayor of the City of Delft in the Netherlands the ALDE Group’s leadership tasks will be carried out by First Vice-President Doris Ansari, Member of Cornwall County Council (UK), Second Vice-President Paul O’Donoghue, Member of Kerry County Council and South West Regional Authority (IE) and Third Vice-President Gian Mario Spacca, President of the Marche Region (IT). The ALDE Group also elected the following members for its group positions: Coordinator CAFA: Agnès DURDU (LU) Coordinator CIVEX: Graham TOPE (UK) Coordinator COTER: Jens Arne HEDEGAARD (DK) Coordinator ECOS: Satu TIETARI (FI) Coordinator EDUC: Fiona O’LOUGHLIN (IE) Coordinator ENVE: Declan McDONNELL (IE) Coordinator NAT: Ossi MARTIKAINEN (FI) Coordinator Subsidiarity Monitoring Network: Graham TOPE (UK) The coordinators for the other networks will be elected later this year.

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Satu Tietari

The Airport Package by Roland Werner, State Secretary of the Saxony Ministry for Economic Affairs, Labour and Transport (DE), deals with the optimal use of the European airport network to help tap the potential of the Single Market for growth. The rapporteur stresses the importance of regional airports, particularly in case of slot trading. The connection of regional airports to the global air transport network is of enormous importance for the individual regions. These airports, that have sufficient infrastructure capacity, provide a substantial contribution to economic growth, employment and tourism in their regions and strengthen the territorial cohesion within the Member States.


LeaDeRs

The newsletter of Liberal Democrat Regional and Local Politicians

JULY 2012

Ahead of her intervention at the CoR plenary session on Wednesday 19 July, Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs, met with the ALDE-CoR delegation to discuss ways of bridging the gap between the Commission and local and regional levels. The ALDE delegation was made up of First VicePresident Doris Ansari (Member of Cornwall Council, UK), CIVEX Coordinator Lord Graham Tope (Member of the London Borough of Sutton, UK), Ewa-May Karlsson (Member of Vindeln municipal council, SE) and Britt-Marie Lövgren (Member of the Municipal Assembly of Umeå, SE). Roland Werner

The draft opinion on EU financial instruments in Justice and Citizenship by Giuseppe Varacalli, Mayor of Gerace (IT), advocates for inclusive growth and aims to contribute to the building of a citizens’ Europe. The opinion points out the role LRAs can play in promoting citizenship, especially via town twinning schemes and the Europe for Citizens programme.

The meeting touched upon a number of policy areas dealt with by DG Home Affairs, most specifically migration, mobility and integration. Integration of third-country nationals legally resident in the EU Member States is politically relevant for local and regional authorities: as a result of migration, cities and regions are becoming increasingly diverse and politicians and their administrations need to find answers to the developing challenges. The Commissioner emphasised the important role local and regional authorities play in combating radicalisation and providing important preventive work. In the same vein she encouraged local and regional politicians to bring the realities of the regions to the Commission so as to facilitate tailor-made policy recommendations on a case-by-case basis.

EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas meets with ALDE-CoR member Roland Werner Giuseppe Varacalli

Commissioner Malmström discusses future collaboration with ALDE-CoR members

Commissioner Siim Kallas meets with ALDE-CoR member Roland Werner

From left to right: Commissioner Malmström, Ewa-May Karlsson, Britt-Marie Lövgren, Doris Ansari, Lord Graham Tope

On 6 June ALDE-CoR Member Roland Werner (State Secretary of the Saxony Ministry for Economic Affairs) met with Siim Kallas, Vice-President of the EU Commission and Commissioner for Transport, to discuss the CoR opinion on the so-called Airports Package. The Airports Package is intended to foster growth and competition as well as to increase the quality of services that are provided in air transportation. The report of the Airports Package, for which the State Secretary Roland Werner is rapporteur, received the support of the COTER commission

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LeaDeRs

The newsletter of Liberal Democrat Regional and Local Politicians

JULY 2012

meeting in May. The draft opinion was adopted at the CoR’s July plenary session. The document contains three draft regulations on the following subjects: noise-related operating restrictions, ground-handling services and the allocation of slots. In addition to Commissioner Kallas, Mr Werner also met with MEPs Giommaria Uggias, Wolf Klinz, Mathieu Grosch and Jörg Leichtfried.

Managing Director of Business Centre Bornholm and Maja Felicia Bendtsen - Project manager at Østkraft. The other ALDE members attending were Gusty Graas (LU), Väino Hallikmägi (EE), Doreen Huddart (UK), Andres Jaadla (EE), Patrick McGowan (IE), Declan McDonnell (IE), ALin Nica (RO), Ole B. Sørensen (DK), Giuseppe Varacalli (IT).

ALDE delegation witnesses the new green economy in action

Working group on ELDR theme resolution welcomes ALDE-CoR input

On 4 June 2012, a delegation of the ALDE Group in the Committee of the Regions, led by Acting President, Bas Verkerk, Mayor of Delft (NL) visited the Danish island of Bornholm where the EU’s most modern experiments in the administration of different sources of renewable energy are being conducted. The EcoGrid EU – a prototype for European Smart Grids - offers Europe a Fast Track evolution towards market-based mechanisms in the form of a full-scale real-time test. The goal is to contribute to the EU 20-20 goals by demonstrating that it is possible to operate a distribution power system with more than 50% of renewable energy sources using Smart Communication and Smart Market solutions. As a microcosm of green economy with more than 50% electricity consumption from renewable energy production, Bornholm offers an alternative way to how energy transition can be achieved. The visit was part of the ALDE Group’s annual seminar at the invitation of Knud Andersen - ALDE-CoR Member and Regional Council Member of Bornholm - and concluded with site visits to the Control Room of the EcoGrid, the Østkraft Power plant, photo voltaic installations and Villa Smart – an ordinary residential house equipped with selected Smart Grid equipment. Speakers included Andras Szalay - former Vice-President of the ALDE-CoR Group, Fredrik Romberg -

Paula Baker

The ELDR Congress which meets on 8-10 November in Dublin will debate the issue of Energy Transition. To prepare for this, the ELDR organised a workshop on July 12th for an informal exchange of views on the subject. All ELDR Parties were invited to send a representative who works with energy related issues. ALDE Group in the CoR was represented by Cllr Paula Baker (Member of Basingstoke and Deane Council and alternate member of the ENVE Commission) who shared with the rest of the delegates the views adopted at the ALDE seminar in Bornholm, Denmark.

ALDE delegation in front of Villa Smart - a normal residential house equipped with Smart Grid equipment

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The newsletter of Liberal Democrat Regional and Local Politicians

The workshop, which was chaired by Chris Huhne MP from the UK, dealt with four broad themes: energy efficiency, energy security, renewable energy and nuclear energy. The draft resolution is expected to be circulated to all member parties in September before going to the ELDR Congress in November.

The Leadership Group of the Atlantic Forum has appointed ALDE Vice President Paul O’Donoghue (IE) to represent regional stakeholders

ALDE Second Vice President Paul O’Donoghue (IE)

In his capacity as the newest member of The Leadership Group of the Atlantic Forum and the CoR’s rapporteur on the Atlantic Strategy, ALDE Second Vice President Paul O’Donoghue (IE) held a debriefing session on 27 June on the next steps for

JULY 2012

regional stakeholders. The meeting was intended to ensure that regional stakeholders throughout the Atlantic Area have an opportunity to be fully informed about the process and how they may get involved during the development of the Action Plan. Mr O’Donoghue emphasised that it is essential to provide a more inclusive and effective consultation process, thereby calling on all stakeholders to contribute to the Action Plan.

CoR ECOS Commission discusses Active Ageing in Ancona at the invitation of ALDE Vice President Gian Mario Spacca (IT) The external ECOS Commission meeting held on 25 June in Jesi, Ancona (IT), attracted a high number of attendees both from within as well as outside the CoR. ALDE Third Vice President Gian Mario Spacca (IT), president of the Marche Region hosting the event, emphasised the relevance of the seminar on active ageing with a presentation of cutting-edge technologies for the elderly developed by research centres and industrial districts of the region. The meeting was also an occasion to launch the 2014 call for the European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) Award, rewarding EU regions which show an outstanding and innovative entrepreneurial policy strategy irrespective of their size, wealth and competences. The participants of the commission meeting and the subsequent conference on “Home automation at the service of active ageing” concluded that addressing the challenges of an ageing population is one of the objectives of the EU2020 strategy. This could be achieved by social innovation, investment in research and development and social inclusion.

Gian Mario Spacca (ALDE, IT) chairing the conference on “Home automation at the service of active ageing”

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LeaDeRs

The newsletter of Liberal Democrat Regional and Local Politicians

ALDE-CoR member Istvan SertoRadics (HU) panellist at the launch of the European Consumer Summit On 29 May the European Consumer Agenda was launched at the European Consumer Summit. This high level event, organised by DG SANCO, attracted more than 300 participants. Following the opening address of Commissioner John Dalli, the panellists were invited to share their thoughts on the new Agenda. During his Istvan Serto-Radics (HU) intervention, Mr Serto-Radics pointed out the unique role of local and regional authorities, in that they hold a triple role in consumer affairs. Firstly, they are themselves the consumers on the internal market as 16% of all the EU public expenditure is generated by regional and local governments. Secondly, they are responsible for service provision. In the area of services of general interest, such as urban transport or solid waste management, LRA’s provide as much as 56% of services in the EU. And finally, the 95,000 local governments across Europe act as the first line of consumer protection. Mr Serto-Radics congratulated the Commission for its efforts to put the consumers firmly in the driving seat of European economy.

JULY 2012

ALDE-CoR Members as key speakers at the European Liberal Forum seminar in Bulgaria Sponsored by Friedrich Naumann Foundation and European Liberal Forum, a seminar on the new duties and responsibilities for liberal local politicians (mayors, councillors) held in Pravets, Bulgaria welcomed the input of ALDE CoR members. Key speakers at the event were Dr. Jürgen Martens, State Minister for Justice and European Affairs in Saxony, Germany and Mrs Doreen Huddart, Member of Newcastle City Council, UK, both members of the ALDE Group in the Committee of the Regions. The three dozen or so participants were mostly Local Authority politicians from a mixture of rural and urban settings. The participants had the opportunity to learn more from countries with local governing structures similar to their own. In this context, Germany, in particular the new German states of Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt were relevant. The seminar enabled participants to exchange experience and best practice examples. The event focused on the widening of competencies of candidates with view to the role of EU funds, public-private partnerships in municipalities, and overcoming local administrative deficits. The delegates were particularly interested to learn about partnership arrangements, matched funding bids and joint venture activities in other countries as well as alternate forms of local governance structure and responsibilities. The seminar gave the delegates opportunities to discuss Liberal approaches and to work on action plans and develop communication strategies for their own municipalities.

From left to right: Dr Jürgen Martens, State Minister for Justice and European Affairs Saxony, Susanne Hartig, Executive Director of ELF, Cllr Doreen Huddart, Newcastle City Council, Peter Andreas Bochmann, Project Director FNF Southeast Europe & Manfred Richter Mayor of Bremerhaven.

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LeaDeRs

The newsletter of Liberal Democrat Regional and Local Politicians

JULY 2012

ALDE member Graham Tope’s local council of Sutton presented with prestigious European prize

ALDE-CoR promotes European Liberals at EU institutions’ Open Doors Day On the occasion of Europe Day the Committee of the Regions opened its doors to the public along with other EU institutions. The ALDE-CoR Group staff represented its members and explained to the visitors what the EU does for its citizens. Accompanied by educational information about the ALDE Group as well as ELDR (European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party), people were able to take part in a quiz and win a number of prizes. ALDE staff was on hand to answer every question one could imagine, such as: How can I apply for EU funding in my regions? What are the core values of the ALDE Group in the European Union (EU)? How does the legislative process work in the EU?

Sutton Council, of which Lord Graham Tope is a member, has scooped a prestigious award for helping to protect residents from the threat of flooding in the future through its innovative work in fighting the effects of extreme weather. The borough’s planners joined a team of 14 groups across Europe to form the GRaBS (Green and Blue Spaces in Urban Areas and Eco-towns) project which facilitated the transfer of good practices, knowledge and experience on climate change adaption strategies to local and regional authorities across Europe. Sutton Council worked closely with local communities to involve residents in creating healthier, safer and more pleasant living spaces and the RegioStars Award, presented in Brussels on June 14, recognised that work.

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LeaDeRs

The newsletter of Liberal Democrat Regional and Local Politicians

JULY 2012

Upcoming ALDE activities

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9 October - In the context of the Open Days the ALDE-CoR Group will be holding a workshop on 9 October titled “Putting your money where your mouth is: do Financial Engineering Instruments (FEIs) really work?” The workshop aims to clarify the role of FEIs in the post2014 structural funds programme and to offer a great opportunity to learn from best practices and look at pitfalls.

ALDE Extraordinary Group meeting will be taking place on 19 October

in Istria, Croatia in the city of Poreč. The seminar will be concentrating on tourism and culture as drivers of growth and jobs. The seminar will also include a number of study visits to projects in the aforementioned policy areas financed by EU funds

8-10 November - ALDE will be participating in the ELDR congress held in Dublin, Ireland on 8-10 November. ALDE-CoR will be holding a lunch debate on the topic of energy transition as part of the discussions leading to the ELDR theme resolution.

On 18 December the ceremony of the LeaDeR Awards (Liberal Democrat Regional and Local Politicians Awards) will be taking place in the Jacques Delors Building of the Committee of the Regions. The deadline for nominations is 30 September 2012. ELDR President Sir Graham Watson will be handing out the awards together with the ALDECoR President.

Ongoing and upcoming ALDE opinions

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Opinion on Developing a Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic Ocean Area by Paul O’DONOGHUE (Kerry County Council and South West Regional Authority) Adoption at CoR plenary: 9-10 October 2012 Opinion on Regional-specific approaches to Climate change in the EU based on the example of

mountainous regions by Luciano CAVERI (Regional Councillor of the Autonomous Region of Valle d’Aosta, IT) Adoption at CoR plenary 9-10 October 2012 Opinion on the European Innovation Partnership ‘Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability’ by Anne BLIEK-DE JONG (Member of

the Executive Council of the Province of Flevoland, NL) Adoption at CoR plenary 29-30 November 2012 Opinion on Innovating for sustainable growth: A bioeconomy for Europe by Rogier VAN DER SANDE (Member of the Executive Council of the Province of Zuid-Holland, NL) Adoption at CoR plenary 29-30 November 2012

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ALDE-CoR July 2012 newsletter  
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