The ECR Budget Policy Group exists to provide a forum for interested ECR Members to discuss, develop and explore in depth, themes and policies directly relevant to the EU budget. Members work together and with outside stakeholders to analyse specific topics, as well as to develop and advance ECR Group policy. Examples of issues under discussion include: whether current spending priorities are appropriate, how to tackle the lag between commitments and payments and European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, and working towards better management of the EU Budget.
The ECR, as a group that supports free and open trade as stated in the founding principles of its Prague declaration, is a strong supporter of the TTIP process. The ECR strongly believes that TTIP is one of the most important global economic initiatives, which if concluded successfully, could have a significant positive impact on the EU and US economies.Therefore, the ECR has decided to establish an ECR TTIP Policy group that would serve as a forum for ECR Members to receive regular updates from trade experts on the status of negotiations as well as the latest developments. In addition, Members will discuss and debate ideas within the ECR Group, with a view to ensuring that the views their citizens are given voice during the negotiation process.
The aim of the ECR Policy Group on the eurozone is to increase the awareness of the ECR Group about the economic and political consequences of the euro. The introduction of the single currency has resulted in bubbles, more indebtedness and lost competitiveness in the countries of southern Europe. The Policy Group will focus on analysing the developments of the eurozone crisis and propose potential solutions to bring back the European Union on a path of economic growth. The Policy Group plans to organise several meetings in the course of 2015.
Free movement of workers is a fundamental principle of the European Treaties, enshrined in Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Freedom of Movement is realised through the area of freedom, security and justice without internal borders introduced through the Schengen area in 1985.This ECR Policy Group intends to examine the various areas which Freedom of movement touches upon; including, the right to reside and be employed in another Member State, security and policing, access to national and welfare services, as well as issues regarding integration and communities; and present proposals during 2015.
5. DEMOGRAPHY, INTERGENERATIONAL AND FAMILY POLICIES
The ECR Policy Group on Demography will look into the difficult demographic situation the EU is currently facing and will hold discussions with experts and policy makers about causes of the current crisis, predictions for the future, as well as possible solutions and actions that could be taken at the EU level to reverse current negative trends and ensure that demography is put high on the agenda of both Member States and EU institutions.
The ECR Digital Single Market Policy Group aims to bring together experts from many different committees in the European Parliament and relevant stakeholders to formulate balanced ECR policy priorities.In particular, it aims to steer and then respond to the forthcoming Digital Single Market Act, which should include non-legislative and legislative measures to generate growth, jobs and competitiveness.
In April 2015, ahead of the publication of a European Commission strategy on the Digital Single Market, the policy group published a discussion paper including suggestions for inclusion.
In recent years reports are showing a general deterioration of religious persecution and an erosion of freedom of religion or belief worldwide. The ECR Policy Group on religious freedom will look into the situation of religious communities around the world and intends to organize meetings on the situation of different minority faith groups. The group will present policy proposals in the course of 2015. The Policy Group hopes to contribute to a reversal of current trends so that people around the world will be better able to practice their beliefs freely and without fear.
The ECR Policy Group on the Rural Economy will look at all aspects of economic activity in rural areas, with a specific focus on how to make these areas more attractive as places to work and live. As such the group has a very wide scope and will touch on issues regarding the digital single market and rural broadband, transport infrastructure, regional development, land prices, tourism and the various CAP funding streams that are available in rural areas.
The group shall be at the forefront of change when it comes to discussing energy issues in Europe. The group’s main task will be to comment on major initiatives with regards to EU energy policy. The group will propose how to translate them into real achievements in EU members states in a difficult situation where composition of their energy mixes remains a national competence.
The ECR was established in 2009 on an agenda of reform. The Institutional Reform Policy Group seeks to further the ECR’s thinking on powers and roles played by institutions, both European and national, in the European Union and the principles and processes which underpin European law. The Policy Group will meet throughout 2015 and intends to host a series of platforms inviting experts to give their impressions on how reform can be achieved.
11. BETTER REGULATION AND RE-SHORING
Better regulation is now at the centre of the political agenda, particularly the need to reduce the administrative burden on business and cut ‘red tape’. Not only is it essential for creating and maintaining jobs, it is intrinsically linked to the concept of ‘re-shoring’ – bringing jobs back and keeping businesses in Europe.The Policy Group will look at how we can build on what has already been achieved and push forward innovative proposals for better regulation and accelerating the trend of re-shoring. We will be organising a number of external hearings, round table discussions and conferences in order to discuss and develop concrete policy.
The Policy Group on defence will examine the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy in the context of the relevant founding principles of the ECR group – the sovereign integrity of the nation state, the transatlantic security relationship in a revitalised NATO, ending waste and excessive bureaucracy, and respect and equitable treatment for all EU countries. Its work will include examination of EU ambitions towards defence industries, defence budgets, ‘permanent structured cooperation ‘, and security threats. The Policy Group will organise meetings with individuals and organisations in the defence sector and will present policy proposals in the course of 2015.
13. SMEs, INDUSTRY, RESEARCH
The aim of the Policy Group is to analyse the most vital challenges for SMEs, Industry and Research. The cost of energy for SMEs, the cost of access to digital economy, as well as the complex question of re-industrialization of Europe with a special emphasis on the issue of exchange rate adjustment, will be the primary objects of interest. The Policy Group plans to organise several meetings and present policy proposals.
14. SUBSIDIARITY AND LOCALISM
A large number of policy fields are covered by existing EU legislation. These legislative acts usually contain review clauses allowing for the monitoring of the impact and effects of legislation. Members of the ECR group aim at influencing the complete EU legislative cycle (consultation, agenda setting, decision taking, and implementation check/scrutiny), and they have a strong interest in knowing the effects and concrete results on the ground of the legislation they adopted. The WG on subsidiarity and localism shall develop its own “subsidiarity score board” indicating the political willingness of the EU to give legislative power back to the Member States when amending existing EU legislation and spending procedures. The WG shall enable local, regional and national mandate holders to anticipate and implement EU legal provisions on subsidiarity and proportionality, and facilitate the contribution of national parliaments.
The ECR Policy Group on Wealth Creation exists to develop innovative international development policies that focus on growing economies, capable of sustaining themselves; where private enterprise and competition drive wealth creation; where individual property rights are legalised; where there is stability, the rule of law and good governance and corruption and tax evasion is minimal. The ECR Policy Group aims to promote public – private partnerships and ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals tackle the causes of poverty, rather than merely its symptoms. It will continue to monitor EU funds and push for structural reforms to development aid spending. The Policy Group aims to create an ECR Charter on International Development. The Group will organise an annual high-level conference and publish its findings in a series of up to three Policy Reports every year.
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