Covid-19 Level 4 Alert: Stricter Rules from Monday 19 October

Following the worrying epidemiological situation, new, stricter measures will come into force from Monday 19 October. As of today, this situation brings the whole country to alert level 4 of the Covid-19 barometer (very high alert level).

The pressure on hospitals and on the continuation of health care not linked to Covid-19 is increasing. Some hospitals are facing numerous absences among their staff. Primary care, especially general medicine, also faces an increasing pressure.

The number of patients with Covid-19 in intensive care is now 2.5 times higher than at the end of March. To prevent hospitals from being further compromised, schools from closing, the economy from grinding to a halt and too many people from being isolated because of widespread containment, the Interinstitutional Concertation Committee has decided to take a number of measures:

  1. Close contacts are limited to a maximum of one person.
  2. Private meetings are limited to four persons for two weeks and always the same persons.
  3. Public meetings are limited to a maximum of four people.
  4. Teleworking becomes the rule, for the activities that allow it and with respect to the continuity of the management of companies and organisations, services and activities.
  5. Small markets and fairs remain open, but the consumption of drinks and food is prohibited. Markets and Christmas markets are prohibited.
  6. Cafes and restaurants are closed. This measure is valid for a period of four weeks and will be reviewed after two weeks. Take-away food can be collected from the establishment until 22h. Receptions and banquets organised by a professional restaurant or catering service are prohibited, except in hotels for guests staying there and funerary receptions (maximum forty people).
  7. Night shops must close at 22h. The sale of alcohol is prohibited after 20h.
  8. It is forbidden to be on the public highway between 24h and 5h, except for essential and non-delayable journeys, such as urgent medical reasons, business trips and travel between home and work.
  9. Indoor activities remain subject to existing protocols until their evaluation next Friday 23 October. The sale of food and drink is prohibited.
  10. Sports competitions: the space reserved for spectators will be halved from 400 to 200 (professionals) or made up solely of members of the same family unit (amateurs). Cafeterias and bars are closed.

The federal government and the governments of the federated entities will do their utmost to provide the best possible support to all those affected financially. Even so that the federal government will double the support it offers as a right of transition for self-employed people who are forced to close down. Existing support measures will be extended. An exemption from the ONSS (National Social Security Office) will also be introduced.

The measures enter into force today, Monday 19 October, and will remain in force for one month before being evaluated.

Source: belgium.be

Webinar on “Spain as remote working destination”

Last October 13th, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organized a Webinar on “Spain as a destination for teleworking“, in collaboration with Business Cluster, a group of companies formed by Euro Economics, AgioGlobal, MADSkills, Quintessence and with the participation of EPS, IFAS and Modern Nomads. The Webinar was held by Wim Zwaenepoel, lecturer at the IE Business School and consultant at Netexpat, and by Jeroen Oskam, founding partner of Euro Economics.

To begin with, during this Webinar the lecturers presented some general data on the impact of the Covid-19 on Spanish society, and specifically, the impact that the health crisis has had on the economic and labour fields. The trends of telework in Spain before the Covid-19 were explained, as was its evolution until today, in addition to the forecasts that analysts estimate about this modality of work in the future. Additionally, the economic and labour policies adopted by the Spanish authorities to try to mitigate the negative effects of the Covid-19 were reviewed.

Moreover, the speakers focused on analysing, in second place, the so-called “STEM” sector (“Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics”), highlighting the growing lack of technical workers in the Benelux countries. On the other end is Spain, where there is a large pool of STEM sector professionals with excellent technical training. In the Webinar, a vision of the possibilities offered by the different modalities of teleworking in Spain was presented as a way to overcome the lack of specialized STEM personnel in the Benelux.

Thirdly, the emerging trend callednew nomads was introduced, referring to professionals from the Benelux who are moving their workplace to Spain thanks to the advances in the implementation of teleworking. The speakers highlighted the many benefits of this new way of working and its advantages, such as a lower tax burden or a lower cost of living. An example of this trend is the Canary Islands, where more and more foreigners are choosing to work remotely while having settled in the archipelago. The speakers emphasized the attraction of Spain as a territory from which to work remotely, due to its infrastructure, connectivity, and availability of resources, among others.

Finally, our speakers addressed the legal and tax implications of this practice of teleworking from Spain for workers in the Benelux countries, pointing out several possible alternatives, both for employees and for freelance.

After the presentation, some time was spared for a round of questions, in which the attendees raised several questions to the speakers. These questions dealt with the tax implications for those Benelux workers whose stays in Spain are less than the 183 days established by tax regulations, or everyday issues to take into account when choosing to work remotely from Spain, such as having a private health insurance for greater security.

From the Official Chamber of Commerce of Spain in Belgium and Luxembourg, we would like to thank Business Cluster for its presentation, as well as all the attendees for their presence.

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11/19 Online Breakfast-Debate with Francisco Casalduero, Project Manager, Defence Development Programme, DG DEFIS: “The European Defence Fund: the European Commission’s view on the opportunity for Spanish industry”

On Thursday, November 19th from 9:15am to 10:30am, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organizes a new session of its Breakfast-Debate in the framework of its Business Circle platform. The breakfast will focus on “The European Defence Fund: the European Commission’s view on the opportunity for Spanish industry” and will feature the participation of Francisco Casalduero, Project Manager, Defence Development Programme, DG DEFIS.

You can sign up for this breakfast through this reply form.

The breakfast will be held in Spanish.

Event sponsored by:

11/25 Virtual breakfast-debate with MEPs José Ramón Bauzá Díaz and Isabel García Muñoz: Priorities of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN)

Next Wednesday November 25th from 9:15 to 10:30, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg is organizing a new conference within the cycle “Breakfasts with the European Parliament“, a meeting platform between Spanish companies and the European Parliament.

The breakfast will focus on “The priorities of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) for the new legislature” and will be attended by the MEPs José Ramón Bauzá Díaz and Isabel García Muñoz.

The aim of these breakfasts is to facilitate the dialogue between Spanish companies and representatives of the European Parliament so that those attending have the opportunity to convey their proposals and concerns to the guest speakers.

You can register for this breakfast using the following form.

The breakfast will be held in Spanish.

Meeting of the Forums Committee

On September 25th the third meeting of the year of the Forums Committee, a working group whose mission is to propose, organize and monitor the events organized by the Chamber, was organized telematically.

During the meeting, which was chaired by Pablo López Álvarez (FTI Consulting), a balance of the latest events organized by the “business circle” platform was made as well as new initiatives were proposed to be developed in the coming months, both locally and with the institutions of the European Union. Likewise, the activities carried out and the events planned within the framework of the Spanish Financial Forum and Competencia España Committees were discussed. Finally, the call for the 2020 Company of the Year Award, which is currently open, was discussed.

About the Chamber’s Committees

The Committees are made up by some of the members, as well as by the person in charge of the area in question in the Chamber.

These working groups have numerous functions: in-depth studies of proposals, problems, projects, and activities. Through them, the members influence the day-to-day life of the Chamber in order to better adapt the Chamber’s activities to the needs of the members.

At any time, a member can request the president of a Commission to join it or request the secretary general to create a new group.

10/23: Online Breakfast-Debate with Clara Martinez Alberola, Deputy head of the ‘Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom’ (UKTF)

On Friday, October 23rd at 10:00am to 11:15am, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organizes a new session of its Breakfast-Debate in the framework of its Business Circle platform. This will feature the participation of Clara Martinez Alberola, Deputy head of the ‘Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom’ (UKTF).

More information about the topic coming soon.

You can sign up for this breakfast through this reply form.

The breakfast will be held in Spanish.

 

Event sponsored by:

11/24th-25th Workshop on “Erasmus+ KA2 Project: Ready to get funded”

On November 24th and 25th, the Official Chamber of Commerce of Spain in Belgium and Luxembourg will organize in Brussels a workshop on “Erasmus+ KA2 Project: Ready to get funded”, held by the business developer at CWC Consulting and EU project writer, Paloma Cantero, member of the EmprendeBeLux program.

The workshop will enable professionals to better comprehend the Erasmus+ program and the different funding opportunities within it. Specifically, the training will focus on the Key Action 2 and will consist of reviewing from a practical perspective the whole project application cycle: from getting an IOD number till all tips, tricks and best practices to successfully draft and submit a project proposal.

This workshop will be divided in two days, with a duration of 2 hours each.
You can check the full program of the course here.

To register for the training, fill out the form below.

Virtual breakfast-debate with MEPs Pilar del Castillo and Lina Gálvez: Priorities of the Committee on Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE)

On September 22nd, the Spanish Official Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg hosted a new event within the cycle “Breakfasts with the European Parliament”, a platform for meetings between Spanish companies and the European Parliament, on the “Priorities of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) for the new term”. The event was attended by MEPs Pilar del Castillo (PP) and Lina Gálvez (PSOE), who belong to the Commission.

Pablo López Álvarez, Vice President of the Chamber
and moderator of the event, welcomed and thanked the speakers for their participation and made a brief presentation.

Pilar del Castillo began by explaining how the energy sector is facing a wave of innovations related to the application of green energies and the decarbonization of the economy. The Commission has launched several communications on this subject, but has not yet published any legislation. The MEP also stressed the importance of innovation and research, as they are crucial for the whole economy and each of its sectors.

Del Castillo also emphasized the need for the legislative proposal made by the Commission to take into
account the entire value chain of the different industrial sectors. Finally, the speaker addressed the issue of digitization, highlighting that it was already an important issue before the coronavirus crisis, but now more than ever it is an indispensable element since it was the new technologies that sustained the economy and society during the toughest months of the crisis and continue to do so today. These new technologies also have to be applied as added value to the European Union in order to optimize their potential. The new technologies imply very important scales of investment, but they are even more necessary for the evolution of the SMEs.

As a member of the Artificial Intelligence Commission, the MEP also referred to AI as a central element that will revolutionize daily life and the economy, allowing for the optimization of investments and improving the competitiveness of companies. Del Castillo also referred to the importance of data in this process of digitalization, despite the fact that in Europe they are very compartmentalized. Therefore, a common space for European Union data would be necessary, which would be very useful to face, for example, health crises such as the one we are experiencing. All this without forgetting the crucial importance of privacy in this area.

Lina Gálvez took the floor talking, firstly, about the modification of the priorities of the ITRE committee as a result of the crisis of the COVID as well as the energy and digital transition (twin transition), mentioning the decrease in commitment to research and renewal by the EU in the latest budget negotiations, which she considers a big mistake. The MEP also explained how in Europe there has never been a single industrial strategy, although it is clear that there should be as a result of this crisis. Gálvez also stressed the importance of green energy, with the horizon of climate neutrality for 2050 to which not all member countries are at the same point. He also referred to how climate and energy legislation have a central weight in the regulatory agenda of the coming years: hydrogen, electric batteries and the long-term commitment to green energy are some of the items on the agenda.

Gálvez spoke of the power of the EU’s commitment to data strategy to benefit the industrial sector, along with the importance of the spirit of the European Union in the processing of this data, creating a common data strategy for all member countries to use for their benefit. Finally, the MEP stressed the importance of implementing a system so that citizens have rights and knowledge about the use of their personal data.

During the question time, the participants were able to ask several questions on various topics. Thus, topics such as the cuts in EU budgets and their impact on industry, the European Renovation Council, the preparation of the National Plan for Recovery and Resilience, the hopes and priorities of the new Commission on Artificial Intelligence, and finally on the ITRE Commission and its proposals to address the crisis were discussed.

From the Spanish Official Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg we would like to thank Lina Gálvez, Pilar del Castillo, and to all attendees for joining this event.

Webinar on “The tax obligations in Spain for individuals living abroad”

 

Last September 14th, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organized a webinar on “The tax obligations in Spain of people who have moved abroad”, in collaboration with its member company B LAW&TAX. The webinar was given by Inmaculada Pineda and Almudena Soler, partner and tax advisor respectively at B LAW&TAX.

During this webinar the different tax obligations that displaced persons abroad can have in Spain were explained. For this purpose, in first place, the criteria used by the Spanish administration to determine tax residence through the personal income tax law or the different double taxation avoidance agreements were explained. The particular case of diplomats and officials of the European institutions was also addressed. In addition, it was presented the different formal requirements for making the change of tax residence effective.

Secondly, they discussed the different implications of tax residence in terms of taxation and profits, income from work for services rendered outside Spain, as well as the requirements for applying any exemptions in these cases. With regard to wealth tax, the applicable regulations were presented according to the residence, the limits and benefits applicable together with their different applicable deadlines. Then, the Model 720 for the declaration of goods and rights abroad was discussed, explaining who is obliged to present this model, the content, the deadlines and possible sanctions.

Finally, participants studied the implications of non-residence for taxation and tax benefits under Spanish law. They determined the possible taxation of income from real estate or movable capital, capital gains as well as the declaration models and deadlines. Lastly, new developments in the taxation of individuals were addressed.

Throughout the different blocks the participants were able to express their different doubts with the speakers. The questions dealt with different cases such as posted workers, the case of taxation of non-work income for officials of the European institutions or the formal obligations when indicating the address of residence.

From the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg we would like to thank BLAW & TAX for their excellent presentation as well as all the participants for their presence.

 

Webinar on “Spanish scientific diplomacy – successful collaboration between Spain and Belgium in the field of biotechnology”

Last Wednesday 9 September, the Cultural and Scientific Department of the Spanish Embassy in Belgium, and the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg, with the collaboration of the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) and the Spanish Office of Science and Technology (SOST) organised, in a special edition of the “Mediodias de la Embajada”, the second event in the framework of the Spain means Innovation programme. This webinar was entitled “Spanish scientific diplomacy – successful collaboration between Spain and Belgium in the field of biotechnology”.

As part of the programme of scientific diplomacy and dissemination of science, technology and innovation of Spain in Belgium, this webinar examined the innovation and business opportunities between Spain and Belgium in the field of biotechnology, based on the experience of the Spanish company Minoryx Therapeutics, as an example of good practice in collaboration in the biotechnology sector between the two countries.

Minoryx Therapeutics is a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of new therapies for severe genetic diseases of the central nervous system, which recently opened a subsidiary in Wallonia near the city of Charleroi (Belgium).

The event began with a welcome speech by H.E. Beatriz Larrotcha Palma, Spanish Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium, who summarised the enormous commitment to innovation and scientific research shared by both countries and thanked the speakers and attendees for their presence at this webinar. Willy Borsus, Vice-President of Wallonia, Minister for the Economy, Research and Innovation, Digital Technology, Agriculture, Urban and Regional Planning, IFAPME and Competence Centres, then presented the many benefits of the Wallonia region in the field of research for the technology sector.

After the words of welcome, the round table was held, moderated by Frédéric Soumois, a journalist specialising in the health and scientific field from the newspaper Le Soir. Marc Martinelli, CEO of Minoryx Therapeutics, began by explaining the basis of their current research into rare diseases of the central nervous system, as well as detailing the benefits of the Belgian market in the sector based on his current experience with the company’s subsidiary opened near the city of Charleroi (Wallonia). He was followed by Josep Samitier, director of the Biotechnology Institute of Catalonia, and Marc Dechamps, director of international affairs for the BioWin cluster, who both gave their views on the benefits of biotechnology for improving the health sector, emphasising the advantages of Spain and Belgium in the sector.

The round table ended with Marina Martinez, H2020 Programme Officer at the Centre for Technological Development and Industry (CDTI), who briefly presented the numerous support and promotion mechanisms at European (Horizon 2020) and national level for companies in the biotechnology sector.

Finally, throughout the question time, participants had the opportunity to present their comments and questions on numerous issues of interest. From the Spanish Official Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg we would like to thank all the participants and the speakers at the event for their participation.

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