The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group in the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) today held its annual ECR Study Days event. At a conference in Budapest (Hungary), politicians, academics and experts had the opportunity to exchange views on how to reverse demographic trends through the promotion of family friendly policies and how to preserve the authentic nature of the European Union by fostering the rich historic, regional, and cultural traditions across Member States.
As part of the opening remarks, President of the ECR Group, Marco Marsilio, stated that: "There is a deeper crisis that unites all European countries: the crisis of Europe's values where the predominant ideological approach imposed by a cancel culture has led us to abandon common sense in pragmatically addressing the challenges that afflict us. As conservatives, we have a duty to our history and our children. We cannot forget our roots."
Opening speeches were also delivered by László Kövér, Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly, and Kinga Gál MEP. ECR Vice-President and host of the event Anna Magyar highlighted the main motivation behind today's event: "Building a work-based society rooted in solid values is essential for a stable and prosperous Europe. The core of the European project is deeply intertwined with our traditions, identities and values. Therefore, their reinforcement is fundamental for the EU's proper functioning. Ultimately, our aim is to build a resilient society, which is traditional yet innovative, competitive yet humane, and sovereign yet cooperative."
In the first panel, politicians and experts discussed the major demographic crisis that Europe is witnessing. Among the main causes for this demographic change are an ageing population and a lower number of births. Opening remarks were delivered by Judit Varga, Chair of the European Affairs Committee of the Hungarian National Assembly and Maddalena Morgante MP, National Head of Fratelli d'Italia's family and non-negotiable values department in Italy. Speakers included, Roberto Ciambetti, President of the Veneto Regional Council in Italy and Władysław Ortyl, President of the Podkarpackie Region in Poland.
President Ortyl, who also serves as First Vice-President of the ECR Group in the CoR, spoke of the challenges encountered in the Podkarpackie Region: "The promotion of the family, the strengthening of its importance in society, are activities that must be at the centre of our attention. Of course, this entails an increase in public spending. However, such expenditure is an investment in our common future. Over the last few years, we have been introducing this type of action in Poland at government and regional levels, and we can already point to the first positive results."
The second panel was devoted to the importance of fostering our diverse historic, regional and cultural traditions, which can contribute to building a stronger European community based on strong sovereign nations. Panellists highlighted the role of core values in developing a European society increasingly guided by common sense.
Amongst the panellists was Carlo Fidanza MEP and Barna Pál Zsigmond MP as well as ECR Vice-President Oldřich Vlasák, Councillor in Hradec Králové in the Czech Republic. Mr Vlasák stated that "in an era when new ideologies and global challenges can threaten the cohesiveness of our union, regional cooperation based on traditional values becomes a bedrock on which we can build a stronger and more resilient Europe. It serves as a reminder of what binds us together and what we stand for as Europeans."
Today's event was attended by national, local and regional conservative politicians and young elected politicians (YEPs) from Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Ukraine.