Luncheon-debate with Charlina Vitcheva, Director General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission

Yesterday, Wednesday 4th May, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg held in Brussels a new luncheon debate with the presence of Charlina Vitcheva, Director General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission (DG MARE). The theme of the event revolved around the Commission’s policies in relation to its directorate and the future of fisheries.

The event was attended by a variety of people, including business executives, delegates from the Autonomous Communities, representatives of Spanish and European organisations and various partners of the Chamber.

The conference was opened by the President of the Chamber, Pablo López-Álvarez, who took the opportunity to thank all those present for their attendance. He then dedicated some words of special recognition to the extensive career of the speaker Vitcheva both in the European institutions, in which she has held various positions of responsibility over the years, as well as her contribution to the Bulgarian national politics always from the support to the European construction. López-Álvarez also took the opportunity to highlight the vital importance that the policies related to the maritime industry have had in Spanish companies over the years and the relevant contributions of former Commissioners and Directors General.

The President of the Chamber also introduced Salvador Ramón Mateo, President of FRIME, the company that sponsored the event. FRIME – “The Sustainable Tuna Company” is a company with a family tradition, leader in the commercialisation of sustainable tuna with more than 40 years of history. Salvador Ramón highlighted different achievements of the company during his speech and told us about the future plans of the company and its continued commitment to R & D in the optimization of all its processes, after which he gave the floor to the speaker.

Vitcheva dedicated her speech to explaining the current and future situation of the fishing sector, referring to the different policies and strategies promoted by her department. Vitcheva also took the opportunity to highlight the importance of the existence of companies such as FRIME, which through innovation are ultimately responsible for advancing in the construction of a more sustainable industry that ensures fishing in the future.

In this context, Vitcheva detailed the proposals made by the Commission in the area of maritime affairs and fisheries, the different aid packages that have been designed to support the most vulnerable sectors of the industry in this crisis situation caused by Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine. According to Vitcheva, the rise in fuel prices, which has had a major impact on maritime workers, once again demonstrated the urgent need for the fishing sector to move towards a decarbonised industry that is gaining energy autonomy to ensure its future activity.

Vitcheva was also optimistic about the challenges that her directorate must face and affirmed that DG Mare works from the concrete, being aware of the Union’s resources and opportunities in the global maritime context, especially characterised by its interconnection between nations, in order to design a concrete roadmap that will allow us to continue advancing in key pillars such as respect for the environment and marine ecosystems.

After the presentation, a question-and-answer session was opened, where participants were able to express their opinions and raise different questions about what had been presented, as well as creating an unbeatable environment for dialogue and debate.

The Chamber would like to give special thanks to Bodegas Altos de Torona and Bodegas Regina Viarum, whose wines were tasted by all the attendees, as well as to the participants, who made this event a very successful lunch-debate.