ECR News Committee of the Regions | 6th edition
Contents Natural disasters
Making our communities more resilient to disasters and improving the financial disaster aid mechanisms
Jobs and Growth
Cllr David Simmonds on will the Juncker investment package deliver for Europe? “Procurement rules can be an instrument to shape local policy on sustainability, innovation and social policy” says Mr Jonkman “Challenges created by a company restructuring itself can be handled through local and regional solutions” says Mr Branda Unlocking the potential of our seas and oceans for growth and jobs Matoniene calls on the EU to prioritise sustainable cities “Overcoming mobility challenges in geographically and demographically challenged regions is imperative for growth and jobs” says Cllr Keymer
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ECR GROUP EVENTS
ECR Group extraordinary meeting Role of local and regional authorities in the EU legislative process: review of the past and a vision for the future ECR Group strategic Bureau meeting
Strzyżow District in Poland receives an award for the best use of EU funds Arnold Hatch welcomes Commissioner’s support for new Northern Ireland task force Arnold Hatch receives 2015 European Entrepreneurial Region Award on behalf of the Northern Ireland Local Government Association ECR Group President discusses the need for a competitive EU free of public debt with European Council President
ECR Group Secretariat Committee of the Regions
This newsletter marks the end of the current Committee of the Regions mandate. Since the creation of the ECR Group in the Committee of the Regions in April 2013, we have made many key achievements. We have successfully voiced the concerns of our local and regional communities and we have used our hands-on experiences that we acquire from implementing most EU legislation. We have done this through our reports (“opinions” in the EU terminology) on key local and regional issues. These have included the opinions addressing natural disasters, achieving sustainable growth in our cities and challenged regions and unlocking the growth potential of our marine and maritime sectors and handling company restructuring. I would like to thank all of our members for their excellent work not only on the key policy areas but also for their hard work in ensuring that the principle of subsidiarity is being upheld in the EU decision-process and decisions are being taken at the appropriate level of governance. As the Committee of the Regions, we have the specialised task of ensuring that the principle of subsidiarity is upheld. The EU is here to take decisions only when necessary and the CoR is here to ensure that that is the case. In this edition of our newsletter, you will find articles from our members where they outline how their work during this mandate on the key local issues of natural disasters and a local agenda for growth and jobs can help shape the agenda of the new EU legislative period. Cllr Gordon Keymer CBE President of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group Committee of the Region European Union
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Natural disasters Making our communities more resilient to disasters and improving the financial disaster aid mechanisms ECR Group members have been active in voicing the concerns of the local and regional communities to ensure that our communities are better able to withstand natural disasters in the future and that help comes in a timely and effective manner from the EU when natural do disasters occur. Natural disasters are a huge threat for Europe. In the last decade, natural hazards and technological accidents caused nearly 100 000 fatalities and affected more than 11 million people on the continent.
Disaster resilience “Building resilience to disasters is a fundamental necessity for sustainable growth and jobs. To effectively tackle the potentially devastating risk of disasters, we must also
think local and act global. Disasters know no borders”, said Cllr Siggs. The Hyogo Framework is a 10 year international disaster risk reduction plan. The
Cllr Harvey Siggs
Cllr Harvey Siggs (Leader of Mendip District Councillor, Member of Somerset County Council and member of the ECR Group), the Committee of the Regions rapporteur on the “post-2015 Hyogo Framework for Action: managing risks to achieve resilience”, underlined the importance of cooperation at the different levels of governance in preparing our local communities to disasters. In its opinion adopted the CoR underlined the need for a focus on prevention, preparedness and resilience and underlines the key role of local and regional authorities.
Long lasting floods experienced in Somerset, UK last winter
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current framework runs till 2015 and a new Framework is due to be adopted at the United Nations-led negotiations at the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai (Japan) on 14-18 March, 2015. Cllr Siggs is due to participate in the upcoming conference to represent the interest of EU local and regional authorities. Preparatory and consultative meetings are taking place in the run up to March 2015. The
second Preparatory meeting took place in Geneva, Switzerland on 17-18 November, 2014.
unavailable or unaffordable in certain areas as a result of increasing risks.
The current working draft of the new Framework highlights priority areas and outlines how they can be met.
The responsibility for civil protection is often devolved to the local and regional level without sufficient funds to meet the needs. This needs to change” says Cllr Siggs
“The new framework needs to look more at the risk caused by poor communication and management, the risk created by trends such as urban sprawl and urbanisation and the risk of insurances potentially becoming
Furthermore, Cllr Siggs outlined that “the new framework also needs to recognise that water treatment plants are also an essential service that should remain operation during disasters. We also need to recognise the increasing role of mobile technology, the internet and social media in communicating disaster information.”
Mr Adam Banaszak
Adam Banaszak (Member of the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Regional Assembly, Poland and ECR Group Bureau Member), Committee of the Regions Rapporteur on the EU Civil Protection Mechanism underlined that given the increase in the frequency and number of disasters, preventative action had to be prioritised. “We are faced with more frequent disasters. Reactive expenditure is not sustainable in the long term. We have to think ahead. We have to plan well and increase resilience” said Mrs Banaszak. Regions most likely to experience floods in the future - Source of the map: European Environment Agency
Effective EU response to natural disasters effectiveness of the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF), which is the EU’s main tool for assisting Member States affected by major natural disasters. “The EU Solidarity Fund is much better equipped to meet the needs of the recent revision of the EU Solidarity Fund. It can now be used to build resilience for instance, which is crucial”, explained Mr Branda. He added that “while the Fund was revised in a way that took on-board most of the key proposals we made as the Committee of the Regions, the Fund will need to be further considered in the coming legislative period.”
Mr Pavel Branda
Mr Pavel Branda (Deputy Mayor of Radlo, Czech Republic and member of the ECR Group) was the rapporteur for the Committee of the Regions Opinion on the EU Solidarity Fund at a time when many regions across the EU member states were devastated by floods. His opinion addressed the key reforms needed to increase the
Among the key challenges faced by local and regional authorities highlighted by the Committee of the Regions was the need to review the deadline for application to the Fund. “As illustrated by the long lasting floods in the UK, the current deadline for application to the Fund needing to be made 10 weeks after the first damages caused is not realistic. The deadline should be 10 weeks after the last damages are caused. This way, in cases
where disasters last longer than 10 weeks, the Member State has the time to calculate the damages. Furthermore, the Fund still does not address the challenges faced by local and regional authorities in the case of cross-border disasters. “Disasters know no border” stated Mr. Branda, explaining that “local and regional authorities need the assistance they receive to be able to cover the cross-border nature of disasters.” The CoR had asked for the possibility of mobilising the Fund for disasters that are regional in nature and cover several countries. The CoR’s proposal on the extend of the deadline for the use of the Fund was successfully taken on-board in the revision of the EUSF. The deadline for the use of the Fund is now 18 months. “Even though as the CoR we had called for the extension of the deadline to 24 months, we welcome the compromise as it give more time to local and regional authorities to spend the money in line with the sometimes very lengthy public procurement procedures” explained Mr. Branda.
Jobs and Growth The EU strategy for creating smart sustainable and inclusive growth by the year 2020 (Europe 2020) is currently undergoing a mid-term review. The European Commission is due to present proposals for the review of the strategy. Following this, the strategy is due to be discussed among Member States at the 2015 spring European Council.
Cllr David Simmonds on will the Juncker investment package deliver for Europe? Article by Cllr David Simmonds (David Leader of Hillingdon London Borough Council and ECR Group member). Cllr Simmonds’ professional background is in finance, where he worked for Lloyds TSB and HSBC after qualifying with the Chartered Institute of Insurers in 1997. The announcement by Jean-Claude Juncker of his new investment package, EFSI, has reinvigorated the debate about the role of government in financing public services. Following the European Parliamentary elec-
tions earlier this year, new politicians and commissioners taking their seats in Brussels are looking at a European landscape where the economic situation is moribund, with high levels of public and private debt and a lack of growth. Economists will distinguish between the situations in different member states, with some like the UK showing signs of growth in the private sector, and others like Germany continuing to see stable costs of sovereign debt. Regardless of the national circumstances, the need to get the European economy going again is of importance to all. The risk of stagnation and Eurozone deflation poses a risk to the economies of nations not in the zone, and the development of a functional single market requires a levelling up of the economic playing field. The issue
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Cllr David Simmonds
of immigration, such a significant factor in the European elections, is a publicly visible symptom of this issue - a single market with free movement of people naturally leads to economic migration, but for many people, opportunities close to home would be preferable. So the question is, will the Juncker package deliver for Europe? The first challenge is likely to be moving the debate to a shared understanding of what we mean by ‘investment’ after decades of left-wing politicians describing all forms of public spending as ‘investment’. By prioritising infrastructure, Juncker clearly buys the argument that putting money into public works generates private profit that can then be taxed, bringing about a real return to the taxpayer who currently faces huge levels of government debt. The practical reality of this
will require a rigorous business-like approach to project funding and the decision to make the fund one that seeks to lever in private finance is helpful provided governments do not subsequently underwrite the risks associated with the projects. Nationalising the debt and risk is essentially just socialist redistribution by another name and financially disastrous, as many EU Member States’ economies are currently finding having pursued this line for financing many activities already. The second challenge is going to be ensuring that as the project pipeline develops and the assistance programme kicks in, that we do not fall into the trap of seeing EFSI as an extra-national subsidy for unviable national projects. Good intentions at EU level risk being translated at national, regional or local level into seeing EFSI as simply an alternative
source of borrowing that will ultimately fall to the taxpayer rather than generating a real return. Ensuring that the bureaucracy around the funds does not lead into a confusion of red tape where profits are made by accountants, consultants and lawyers at the expense of taxpayers but no-one else is key. Europe remains the largest and wealthiest economic bloc in the work. The risk is that in the absence of growth, we fall to taxing diminishing wealth in order to prop up unsustainable levels of public spending. This short term solution, so favoured by the left, is inevitably doomed - as the saying goes, ‘the trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of someone else’s money’. With the Juncker plan due to be in action by 2015, we need to ensure that it is based on sound finances.
“Procurement rules can be an instrument to shape local policy on sustainability, innovation and social policy” says Mr Jonkman The new ECR Group member Rob Jonkman (Alderman of Opsterland municipality, Netherlands) has a vast knowledge in the area of on state aid and public procurement. In the past couple of years Mr Jonkman represented all Dutch municipalities during the negotiations on the EU procurement directives. At the moment he is a member of the Board of Europa Decentraal, a knowledge centre for local and regional governments in the field of procurement and state aid. He combines this role with the internal market portfolio for which he is responsible in the national association of municipalities. Once regarded as the domain of legal specialists, public procurement is of growing importance for politicians too. “Procurement rules are not merely about purchasing goods and services, but can also be an instrument to shape local policy on sustainability, innovation and social policy” notes Mr Jonkman.
With the growing influence of EU policy on local politics, it is important to keep an eye on the balance of power. Mr Jonkman sees an important role for the ECR Group in this respect, especially regarding the principle of subsidiarity. “EU rules on procurement have to leave enough room for public authorities and companies to close the contracts they need and take into account local circumstances. We do not need unnecessary details on EU level that will only cause red tape” said Mr Jonkman. Simplification and reduction of administrative burdens were key messages for Mr Jonkman during the negotiations of the public procurement directives. “We tried to bring companies and municipalities back at the heart of public procurement policy, instead of lawyers. This will also remain our focus during the implementation process next year. National goldplating in this perspective will be unacceptable”, stated Mr Jonkman. Mr Jonkman will use his experience on public procurement to participate in the ECR Group work on other internal market dossiers. Mr Jonkman concluded that “it is important to take part in the European debate at an early
Ald Rob Jonkman
stage. The EU institutions do not know the reality on the ground. We are the level closest to companies and citizens and can add that dimension to the European debate.”
“Challenges created by a company restructuring itself can be handled through local and regional solutions” says Mr Branda right resources to facilitate the transition of young people from education into employment, given that local authorities in particular often have a role as service providers in education and training. He also underlined the importance of crossborder labour mobility for jobs and growth.
Mr Pavel Branda
Pavel Branda (Deputy Mayor of Radlo, Czech Republic and member of the ECR Group), is the Committee of the Regions rapporteur on “EU Quality Framework for anticipation of change and restructuring”, which looks at the practices for anticipating company restructuring and minimising their impact on workers and social conditions. Mr Branda underlined the importance of providing LRAs with the
The European Commission has proposed best practices to reduce the social impact of company restructuring. Specific measures include continuing mapping of jobs and skills needs and measures for individual employees, such as training, career counselling and assistance to facilitate professional transition. It also includes the involvement of external actors at an early stage, such as public authorities, universities and supply chain. Furthermore, it includes making full use of EU Structural Funds like the European Social Funds and the European Globalisation adjustment Fund in relevant regions in order to promote job creation and inclusive transitions in the period of restructuring. The Commission will monitor the application of the Quality Framework, which is voluntary, and will report by 2016 on whether further action is necessary in this area, including a possible legislative proposal.
Mr Branda underlined that “the Commission should cooperate with all interested stakeholders when evaluating the Quality Framework implementation.” “Local and regional authorities can help facilitate the right balance being achieved in the labour market between supply and demand. They can do this through education and training and making mobility easier” noted Mr Branda. On education and training, Mr Branda explained that “local and regional authorities often provide education and training service and in turn, can help ensure that the education and training system matches the needs of the labour market.” On the topic of mobility, Mr Brand explained that “mobility can help balance supply and demand. There is often a greater demand in certain regions for specific type of skills depending. Different regions often specialise in different sectors and different industries. As local and regional authorities, we must try to reduce barriers to mobility and facilitate the exchange of information on job opportunities among ourselves. True cross-border labour mobility is crucial for inclusive and sustainable growth and job creation.”
Unlocking the potential of our seas and oceans for growth and jobs Mr Adam Banaszak (Member of the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Regional Assembly and ECR Group Bureau Member), is the Committee of the Regions rapporteur on “innovation in the Blue Economy: realising the potential of our seas and oceans for growth and jobs.” Mr Banaszak’s opinion, supported by all NAT Commission members, addresses the role that innovation can play in unlocking the potential
of our “blue” economy (our marine and maritime sectors) for the sustainable creation of growth and jobs. “The blue economy plays a crucial role in securing sustainable growth and jobs” noted Mr. Banaszak highlighting that it “represents roughly 5.4 million jobs and generates a gross added value of almost €500 billion a year.” The opinion makes 4 key recommendations. It recommends the development of clearly defined performance indicators for growth and innovation in the blue economy. It reiterates the previous call made by the CoR in its opinion on Blue Growth for which Mr Banaszak was rapporteur, for the drawing up
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Mr Adam Banaszak
plans for the removal of military material leftovers and chemical waste dumped at sea. The opinion also calls for the creation of a specific Knowledge and Innovation Community for the Blue Economy. Furthermore,
it calls for an enhanced policy framework for the inclusion of the private sector. “Our growth strategy in the EU has to truly unlock the potential of our different sectors
if it is to yield the results that we need. Our marine and maritime sectors have huge potential. For this, we must pave the way for greater private sector involvement and greater innovation” said Mr Banaszak.
Matoniene calls on the EU to prioritise sustainable cities
Ms Daiva Matonienė
Ms Daiva Matonienė (Vice-Minister of Environment of Lithuania, member of Šiauliai City Council and Vice-President of the ECR Group), the Committee of the Regions rapporteur on sustainable cities, underlined the need to ensure that the new legislative period marked a holistic and sustainable approach to the development of EU cities.
the development of our cities.”
“The mid-term review and possible revision of the EU growth strategy presents a key opportunity to ensure that the EUs growth strategy prioritises a sustainable approach to the development of our cities,” said Ms Matoniene noting that “urban development cannot be achieved without a sustainable approach to
On what sustainable cities meant in practice, Ms Matoniene explained that “achieving sustainable cities requires a holistic approach that addresses environmental protection and the social and economic problems of cities, as well as addressing how cities can build resilience to disasters.”
Approximately 70% of citizens in the EU live in towns and cities and that by 2020 it is expected that 80% of Europeans will live in cities or city suburbs. “Most of our citizens live in cities or live in suburbs or towns that are close enough to the cities for them to feel the impact of unsustainable practise. We need to ensure that our cities provide a healthy and disaster resilient environment. This is crucial for sustainable growth”, said Ms Matoniene.
“Overcoming mobility challenges in geographically and demographically challenged regions is imperative for growth and jobs” says Cllr Keymer Cllr Gordon Keymer CBE (Leader of Tandridge District Council and President of the ECR Group), as the Committee of the Regions rapporteur on “mobility in geographically and demographically challenged regions”, underlined the importance of ensuring that the EU growth strategy ad-
ECR Group workshop Chaired by Cllr Keymer on mobility in geographically and demographically challenged regions
Cllr Gordon Keymer
dresses the challenges faced by geographically and demographically challenged regions. “The EU growth strategy is undergoing a mid-term review. Part of this review must be to look at how best to ensure growth and jobs in challenged regions. This is crucial for our territorial cohesion” said Cllr Keymer. “As we saw in the workshop we organised, where approximately 100 practitioners and policy-makers participated, the EU needs a renewed strategy for inclusive growth. Our geographically and demographically challenged regions are not sufficiently being
taken into account in EU policies. We need a Green paper on mobility so that this important subject can be fully explored and addressed in the full range the EU policies and programmes” said Cllr Keymer. Following on from the opinion produced on the topic where the CoR called for a Green Paper on mobility, the ECR Group organised a workshop on mobility in geographically and demographically challenged regions. This workshop was organised as part of the annual Committee of the Regions’ Open Days (a European week of regions and cities). ”Remoteness of certain regions brings significantly increased risk of economic and social
exclusion” noted Cllr Keymer, emphasising that “this threatened the territorial cohesion of the EU.” Cllr Keymer further noted that “improving transport is essential for improving the economic and social opportunities of these regions.” In terms of what is mean by “challenged regions”, Cllr Keymer explained that the term was used by the CoR to describe “mountainous, island, sparsely populated, outermost and similarly disadvantaged regions.” Cllr Keymer added that “there is no adequate definition elsewhere, which illustrates the degree to which these regions are not sufficiently taken into account.”
ECR Group events ECR Group extraordinary meeting - Role of local and regional authorities in the EU legislative process: review of the past and a vision for the future The European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the Committee of the Regions held its extraordinary Group meeting on 28 October in Brussels. The Group members discussed the role of local and regional authorities in the EU decision-making process and agreed on a roadmap for how the CoR could best upload their local and regional e xpertise. The ECR Group members called for a CoR that focused its activities more on achieving impact in the EU decision-making process through its consultative role as outlined in the EU Treaties. The Group members also called for the CoR to further develop its activities on its specialised task on ensuring compliance with the principle of subsidiarity. The members underlines that subsidiarity is a key principle that is there to ensure that decisions are taken at the appropriate level of governance and to ensure that the EU steps in only when necessary. “Subsidi-
From left to right: Pavel Branda, Cllr Harvey Siggs, Adam Banaszak, Robert Godek, Daniel Hannan MEP, Cllr Gordon Keymer CBE, Ilpo Haalisto, Cllr David Simmonds and Bronislovas Liutkus
arity is a key pillar of good governance” said ECR Group President, Cllr Keymer. Speakers who presented their views on the role of local and regional authorities and the key issues in the new EU legislative period included Dan Hannan MEP (Secretary Gen-
eral, Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists), Dr Jorge Nunez Ferrer (Associate Research Fellow, Centre for European Policy Studies) and Rory O’Donnell (UK Permanent Representation, Regions, agriculture, and fisheries section).
ECR Group strategic Bureau meeting The ECR Group Bureau held a strategic meeting in London on 4 November 2014 to discuss local and regional priorities and how they could best be voiced in the EU. Among the
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guest speakers were Geoffrey-Clifton Brown MP (Vice-President of the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists and Chairman of the Conservative Party’s International Office)
From the left to right: Ms Daiva Matonienė, Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP, Cllr Roger Evans, Cllr Gordon Keymer CBE, Cllr Kay Twitchen OBE
Cllr Roger Evans (Chairman of the London Assembly and member of the ECR Group in the CoR) and Pawel Swidlicki (Research Analyst at Open Europe).
Cllr Gordon Keymer CBE on left and Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP on right
The points raised included the need to increase the EUs competitiveness through cutting red tape, completing the EU single market and the need to decentralise powers in the EU. The need to move away from a “one size fits all” approach in the EU and the need to have a more flexible approach that would enable local solutions to be found to local problems was also underlined. Furthermore, the meeting touched on the
need to curb corruption and the misuse of EU funds as well as the need to address transportation challenges and the EUs immigration challenge.
Better EU governance and the CoRs role in delivering this was a key theme “Local authorities have a key role to play in the EU decision-making process. We provide consultation to the legislating bodies and act as the guardians of the principle of subsidiarity. Subsidiarity is the principle that ensures decisions are taken at the appropriate level of governance. It is the tool to ensure that Brus-
sels steps in only when necessary,” stated Cllr Gordon Keymer CBE, (ECR Group President/Leader of Tandridge District Council). Following the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the Committee of the Regions was given the specialised task of monitoring compliance with the principle of Subsidiarity. The
Committee of the Regions has the power to take action against an infringement of subsidiarity through the Court of the Justice of the EU. The Court of Justice of the European Union has jurisdiction in actions on grounds of infringement of the principle of subsidiarity by a legislative act.
MEMBERS ACTIVITIES Strzyżow District in Poland receives an award for the best use of EU funds results of rankings prepared by “Wspólnota” magazine have been presented on XII Local Governments Forum on Capital and Finances held in Warsaw 1-2 October 2014.
Mr Robert Godek
In the ranking of the best use of EU funds Strzyżow District (poviat) is on the first place in Podkarpacie Region and 5th place in Poland. It received also a distinction in category of investment expenses for technical infrastructure (10th place in Poland for approximately 380 Counties). The
healthcare entities including our hospital in Strzyżów, social institutions, our youth, the unemployed and handicapped people benefited from our projects.”
Robert Godek (Leader of Strzyżowski District and member of the ECR Group) said “it is pleasing to see that our local government has ranked so well among Polish counties and has delivered good services to our citizens. The local government of Strzyżow District has been focusing on the best use of external funds and commitment to meet the needs of our Counties citizens.”
Mr. Godek further added that “the high ranking we have received from the local government magazine in Strzyżów, ‘Wspólnota’, is the result of the hard work of many people including members of the Country board, councillors of the District, employees of our entities, cooperating individuals and companies, and everybody who is engaged for the realisation of our projects. I would like to thank them all.”
Explaining the local projects that the Funds helped deliver, Mr Godek said that “from the external money we received, which was usually combined with resources from our own budget and sometimes carried out jointly with local municipalities from our area, we rebuilt many sections of roads in each municipality. We also improved the load-bearing capacity of most bridges and removed most of the negative results of landslides on our roads. Education and
Local government’s magazine “Wspólnota”, together with Prof Paweł Swianiewicz (Head of Department of Local Development and Policy at the Department of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Warsaw) and his team, prepare annual rankings in many categories. The categories include current expenses on administration, the richest local governments, investment in technical infrastructure and the use of EU funds.
Arnold Hatch welcomes Commissioner’s support for new Northern Ireland task force ECR Group member, Alderman Arnold Hatch (Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA) Vice-President and Member of the ECR Group) spoke following the European Parliament meeting, which debated support for the Northern Ireland peace process on the 12th November 2014. Welcoming Commissioner for the Regions, Ms Corina Cretu’s commitment on the continuation of the Northern Ireland Task Force in the new Commission, Ald Hatch said: “Evaluations of the European programmes have shown a very positive impact on the ground, both in Northern Ireland and the
border counties of Ireland. The programmes have materially benefitted almost two million people, bringing divided communities together, helping to rebuild trust, and laying the ground work for a shared future”.
which has been won by the Association with support from Invest NI.
“The Task Force set up under outgoing President of the Commission, José Manuel Barroso, provided opportunities for the region to grow and create jobs across the EU policy spectrum. As a region we must practically realise these with the new Commission through the emergence of a new Task Force – to deliver continued growth for our communities and local businesses.” Mr. Hatch and NILGA seek to invite Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, to visit the region to witness the impact of the Commission’s support during the European Entrepreneurial Region Award year of 2015,
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Ald Arnold Hatch
Arnold Hatch receives 2015 European Entrepreneurial Region Award on behalf of the Northern Ireland Local Government Association
2015 European Entrepreneurial Region Awards
Alderman Arnold Hatch, (VicePresident of the Northern Ireland Local Government Association and ECR Group member) received the 2015 European Entrepreneurial Region Award on behalf of the Northern Ireland Local Government Association. “It is a great honour to be recognised for our entrepreneurial work. Bringing business and research and innovative solutions forward is key to achieving sustainable growth and creating jobs” said Arnold Hatch. He added that “Northern Ireland’s entrepreneurs will sustain our economies, whether these are film makers, artisan bakers, micro brewers, bus and coach manufacturers, or medical technology specialists. If we give them support, Northern Ireland has a bright future with jobs, growth and prosperity replacing conflict. EER gives us focus and motivation. Our work plan will be testimony to Northern Ireland’s enterprise and our untiring work ethic”, said Ald Hatch.
Ald Arnold Hatch
The EER award aims to promote dynamic, green and entrepreneurial regions in Europe. It is given to the region with the most convincing entrepreneurial vision on
contributing to the implementation of the Small Business Act for Europe and making optimal use of public funding, irrespective of their size, wealth and competences.
ECR Group President discusses the need for a competitive EU free of public debt with European Council President Cllr Gordon Keymer CBE (leader of Tandridge District Council and President of the ECR Group) met the President of the European Council in the run-up to the Council meeting where the European Commission is due to present its initiative to mobilise 300 billion Euros of investment.
Cllr Keymer underlined that “stimulating growth through public debt is not sustainable” and called for a local approach to growth.
Council. The meeting took place following the 18-19 General Affairs Council (GAC) meet-
On 21 November, ECR Group President Cllr Gordon Keymer, participated in a Conference of Presidents meeting with Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European
From left to right – Mr Uno SILBERG, President of the EA Group; Cllr Gordon KEYMER, President of the ECR Group; Mr. Michael SCHNEIDER, President of the EPP Group; Mr. Herman VAN ROMPUY, President of the European Council; Mr. Michel LEBRUN, President of the Committee of the Regions; Mr. Karl-Heinz LAMBRECHT, President of the PES Group; Ms. Agnès DURDU, First Vice-president of the ALDE Group
ing of Ministers, which aimed to prepare the 18-19 December European Council meeting that will be attended by the Heads of State and Government. During the GAC meeting, the EU cohesion policy was discussed. “For smart, inclusive and sustainable growth, we need a local agenda for growth. We need local projects delivered through private sector involvement and innovative partnerships. Public-private partnerships can deliver competitiveness but they need to have well
defined areas and agreed goals. What is unsustainable is trying to stimulate growth through public debt” said Cllr Keymer. In terms of specific local projects, Cllr Keymer outlined that mobility projects were needed for challenged regions. Cllr Keymer explained that “mobility in challenged regions needs to be better recognised and addressed. Mobility in challenged regions undermines the territorial cohesion of the EU”.
Furthermore, Cllr Keymer underlined that the full correct and timely implementation of EU legislation is also key for the EUs growth stategy. “The full, correct and timely transposition of the new European public procurement on innovative partnerships is crucial. The changes were made earlier this year and will be implemented in Member States by early 2016. Local and regional authorities will play a crucial role in their transposition”, said Cllr Keymer.
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