Past events

ECR Localism Summit 2018

ECR Localism Summit 2018

Localism Summit

19 Sep 2018 09h00Milan, Italy

General information

The Localism Summit will focus on the future of Europe and identify the kind of reforms needed to deliver greater innovation, competitiveness and democratic accountability. Cities and regions are facing bigger challenges than ever before and are developing innovative s​​olutions to address these. Things like the digital transformation created by the 4th industrial revolution, growing urbanisation, climate change, disasters and the influx of migrants and refugees are all felt locally and resonate globally. Cities are regions are not only responsible for the about two thirds of public investment in the EU aimed to help our localities with smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and job creation but they are also at the forefront of responding and developing solutions to these global developments. This Localism Summit will bring together leading thinkers, movers and shakers from government and business to shape the agenda of the future and advocate a more localism based reform of the European Union.

Why Italy? Italy is a founding member of the European Union and has seen its citizens increasing opt for a change to the status-quo. In the October 2017 referendum in the two Northern Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto, citizens of these regions voted with a majority of more than 90% for greater autonomy from the national government. The national elections of March this year also saw citizens opt for parties presenting a new and alternative vision for a reformed EU.

Why September 2018? The European Commission is presenting the report on how to enhance subsidiarity, proportionality and better regulation in the daily operations of the EU in the run-up to the State of the Union speech where the Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will be setting the agenda for 2019. This conference will also be taking place ahead of the campaigning period for the 2019 European elections when citizens will go to the ballot box to elect their members of the European Parliament and ahead of the decisions on the leadership of the European Commission and European Council.

What is Localism? Localism is about civic empowerment. It means taking decisions at the most practicable level, by the individual where possible and by local or national authorities in preference to supranational bodies. It also means formulating policies that impact local communities by taking into account their views and interests. This is the first Localism Summit and will replace the annual localism conference organised by the centre-right localist and euro-realist European Conservative and Reformists Group in the European Committee of the Regions. Achieving greater localism in the EU decision-making process is among the founding principle of the Group. Set up in 2013 in the EU's political assembly of local and regional authorities, the ECR Group is part of the fastest-growing political movement in Europe.


19 September: ECR Localism Summit 2018
9.00 – 9:30


9:30 – 9:45

Opening speeches

  • Rob Jonkman, ECR CoR Group President
  • Attilio Fontana, President of Lombardy Region
  • Francesca Brianza, Deputy President of Lombardy Regional Council
9:45 – 10:35                                    

 What role for cities and regions in the future of Europe?
Local and regional authorities are impacted by approximately 70% of EU legislation and are responsible for approximately 1/3 of all public expenditure and 2/3 of all public investment. Currently, through the CoR, they are consulted on EU legislation and have the powers to take the EU to Court if the principle of subsidiarity is not respected. This panel will look at what role they currently play in the EU and what role they could play in the future governance of Europe. It will also look at the reforms needed to ensure that the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality are better upheld.

Moderator: Themistoklis Asthenidis, Deputy Director of ACRE


  • Prof. Stefano Bruno Galli, Minister of Autonomy and Culture of Lombardy Region
  • László Lóránt Keresztes, Member of Parliament, Hungary
  • Richard Milsom, Chief Executive, Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe
  • Linda Robinson, Leader of Wychavon Council, UK
10:35 – 10:50 Coffee
10:50 – 11:25Fireside chat (tbc)²
11:25 – 12:15

The business of running cities
This panel will look at the business of running our cities i.e. the delivering of urban services. Cities, an "industry" that account for more than 80% of global GDP, house an annually increasing number of our population. Already today, 600 urban centers alone generate about 60% of global GDP. By 2050, over 80 percent of citizens in Europe are expected to live in urban spaces. Macroeconomic trends and technological innovations make the running of our cities ripe for disruption. This panel will look at the most effective and efficient ways of running these urban spaces in Europe and the role that the private sector and the different tiers of government (EU, national and local and regional) can play.

Key-note: Marcin Ociepa, Polish Deputy Minister for Entrepreneurship and Technology

Moderator: Daniele Lepido, Bloomberg


  • Juraj Droba, President of the Bratislava Self-Governing Region, Slovakia
  • Alberto Zilio, Director of Public Affairs Europe, AT&T
  • Luca Spada, CEO, Eolo
  • Simonpaolo Buongiardino, Vice-president of Confcommercio Lombardy
12:15 – 13:15Lunch
13:15 – 14:05

Climate change and resilience to natural disasters
Tackling climate change and minimising its effect in a priority for the EU. In recent years, the frequency and intensity of natural disasters has increased and is considered to be linked to climate change. This panel will look at the role of cities and regions in climate action and the steps that need to be taken by the public and private sectors as well as local communities to address climate change and achieve greater resilience to disasters.

Keynote: Daiva Matoniene, Member of Siauliai city municipal Council, former deputy Minister for Environment of Lithuania, CoR rapporteur renewable energy and internal electricity market

Moderator: Neva Sadikoglu-Novaky, Secretary-General ECR Group


  • Roberto Ciambetti, President of the Veneto Regional Council
  • Maurice Golden, Member of Scottish Parliament for the West Scotland region
  • Debbie Dooley, President of Green Tea Coalition and Conservatives for Energy Freedom
  • Adam Banaszak, Vice President of the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Regional Parliament, Poland, CoR rapporteur on disaster resilience
14:05 – 14:55

Combatting social inequality
Almost a quarter of European citizens are at risk of poverty or social exclusion according to Eurostat. Building a fairer Europe and strengthening its social dimension is a key priority for the Commission. This session will aim to address the following questions: do we need an EU welfare state? What role do local community solutions play? What role does the private sector play? How can we make sure that local citizens will be put at the heart of the new social "contract" drawn up between the EU institutions and public?

Keynote: Dario Galli, Italian Undersecretary for economic development

Moderator: Laura Tecce, Libero Quotidiano


  • Jonathan Werran, Chief Executive at Localis Think-Tank
  • Emanuele Monti, President of the Health Commission, Lombardy Regional Council
  • Oldřich Vlasák, Councillor of the City of Hradec Králové, Czech Republic
  • Victor Santana, Chief of Staff of Daniel Hannan MEP
14:55 – 15:10Coffee break
15:10 – 16:00

Migration and integration
This panel will look at how cities, regions and their local communities are responding to the migration and refugee crisis experienced in Europe. It will look at how these local experiences can be used to shape the future EU migration and integration policies.

Moderator: Alexandros Koronakis, Editor and CEO of New Europe


  • Riccardo De Corato, Lombardy regional Minister for immigration and security
  • Mayor Ellen van Selm, Mayor of Opsterland; President of the P10, the association of largest rural municipalities in the Netherlands
  • David Simmonds, Deputy Leader of London Borough of Hillingdon, Leader of the Conservative Group at the Local Government Association representing England and Wales
  • Prof Alessandro Meluzzi, political commentator

Closing remarks

  • Carlo Fidanza, MP and Member of Rosazza Municipal Council
  • Matteo Bianchi, MP and Mayor of Morazzone
  • Rob Jonkman, ECR CoR Group President


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