Past events

ECR Localism Summit 2023: Sustainable growth through a just energy transition

ECR Localism Summit 2023: Sustainable growth through a just energy transition

Localism Summit

12 May 2023 09h00Lappeenranta, Finland

General information

The ECR Group's 2023 Localism Summit will be held in Lappeenranta, a city in the South-East of Finland focusing on:

  1.  Smart mobility in our cities and regions
  2.  Innovative and green solutions for a carbon-neutral Europe



Panel 1: Smart mobility in our cities and regions

As socio-demographics evolve rapidly and the number of people moving from rural to urban areas increases, transportation infrastructure, and mobilisation must be adjusted accordingly. A balance must be struck between complying with increased mobility needs and preserving our environment. Even though the advantages of the rollout of smart and sustainable mobility in cities are clear, there are still several challenges that need to be overcome to make the most out of the transformation of the mobility system. Therefore, the main objective of this panel will be to discuss how cities and regions can embrace and manage this change in the development of mobilisation without leaving anyone behind. In addition, this panel will also address the European dimension of these issues, such as, how the EU can bring about sustainable business opportunities and help local and regional authorities do so. How can cities and municipalities collaborate, share costs and expertise, and roll out applications across Europe to further improve current mobilisation issues without placing extra burdens on citizens and businesses already faced with a cost-of-living crisis?


Panel 2: Innovative and green solutions for a carbon-neutral Europe

With high labour costs, rising commodity prices, inflation, and disrupted energy markets, innovation is now more than ever going to be an essential part of our economy and its recovery. As our labour markets come under pressure, and local and regional regions face an exodus of the labour force in search of other career opportunities, innovation will prove one of the useful tools to cushion these fallouts. Consequently, local municipalities and regions will have to cooperate in order to develop R&D activities and support the promotion of new technologies. Undoubtedly, innovation requires a rapid approach with a sharing of knowledge between regions in the EU to develop solutions for environmental issues and technical challenges. This panel discussion will focus on how local and regional governments can work together to share knowledge and develop new technologies to stay ahead of the current economic backlash as well as environmental, and geopolitical changes. The search for innovative solutions that can provide the EU and its regions with a secure energy supply and energy independence is essential. A pragmatic approach is required for local and regional authorities to have any chance of success at reaching the ambitious objectives of the EU Climate Plan. 


Why in Lappeenranta?

On Finland's largest lake, Saimaa, lies the city of Lappeenranta in the southeast - the climate capital of Finland and one of the greenest cities in Europe with a renowned LUT University. The university, together with the city, provides suitable conditions to promote a wide range of research and development in areas such as the environmental and cleantech sector dealing with sustainability, clean energy, circular economy, and water technology. But the main objective and ambition that distinguishes the green city is its commitment to becoming a sustainable eco-city. To achieve this, the city has initiated the Lappeenranta 2033 strategy to promote an eco-friendly lifestyle and a waste-free city. The emphasis here is not on eliminating waste, but on creating sustainable systems that minimize waste production and prioritize green, renewable energy efficiency through solar energy and bio power plants, among other things.

The host of this event is Mr Ilpo Heltimoinen, ECR Group Treasurer and Councilor in Lappeenranta, Finland.


8.30-9.00 a.m.



9.00-9.25 a.m.

Welcome remarks

  • Ilpo Heltimoinen, ECR Group Treasurer and Councilor in Lappeenranta, Finland
  • Marco Marsilio, President of the ECR CoR Group and President of the Abruzzo Region (video-message)
  • Satu Sikanen, Regional Mayor of South Karelia, Finland
  • Juha-Matti Saksa, Rector at Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology (LUT)

9.25-9.35 a.m.


9.35-9.45 a.m.

  • Increasing innovation potential: Jamie Hyneman, Professor of Practice at LUT University, video message
  • Keynote speech on new business opportunities from green electrification and hydrogen economy, Petteri Laaksonen, Research Director at Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology (LUT)

9.45-11.00 a.m.

Panel 1: Smart mobility in our cities and regions

Moderator: Pavel Branda, Deputy Mayor of Rádlo, Czech Republic 

  • Juraj Droba, President of the Bratislava Region, Slovakia
  • Ville Hulkkonen, Director of Public Affairs St1
  • József Ribányi, Member of the County Council of Tolna Megye, Hungary
  • Jarosław Stawiarski, Marshal of the Lubelskie Region, Poland

11:00-11:15 a.m.

Coffee break

11:15-12:30 p.m.

Panel 2: Innovative and green solutions for a carbon-neutral Europe

Moderator: Boglárka Bánné Gál, President of the Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County Assembly 

  • Professor Juhani Hyvärinen, LUT School of Energy Systems
  • Arto Nikkanen, CEO at Lappeenrannan Energia Oy
  • Władysław Ortyl, Marshal of the Podkarpackie Region, Poland
  • Michele Pais, President of the Regional Council of Sardinia, Italy
  • Robert Zeman, Councillor in Prachatice, Czech Republic

12:30 – 12:45 pm           

Closing remarks

  • Ilpo Heltimoinen, ECR Group Treasurer and Councilor in Lappeenranta, Finland

12.45 pm

Family picture and lunch


LUT University

Viipurisali auditorium 

Yliopistonkatu 34,53850 Lappeenranta, Finland