09/16: Breakfast-Debate with Lydia Peeters, Flemish Minister for Mobility and Public Works

On Wednesday, September 16th from 9:00am to 10:30am, The Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg inaugurates its first session of its Breakfast-Debate with Belgian institutions, a meeting platform with Spanish companies. This will feature the participation of Lydia Peeters, Flemish Minister for Mobility and Public Works.

The aim of these breakfasts is to facilitate the dialogue between Spanish companies with representatives of the Belgian Institutions. In these events, participants will have the opportunity to transmit their proposals and concerns to the speaker.

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

The breakfast will be held in English.

More information will be given shortly.

The Interinstitutional Concertation Committee extends the obligation to wear a mask in Belgium

The Interinstitutional Concertation Committee held a meeting on Thursday 9 July in the presence of the members of the Exit Strategy Expert Group (GEES). On this occasion, the members presented a new report to the political leaders in which they recommend the extension of the mandatory use of the mask. They agree with the opinion issued by the Superior Council of Health. On this basis, the Interinstitutional Concertation Committee decided to extend the compulsory use of masks, therefore following the new recommendations of the GEES.

As a reminder, the use of the mask was already compulsory in a limited number of situations, such as in public transport or in the exercise of a profession with close contact with the public (hairdressing, etc.) for instance.

From Saturday 11 July, the use of the mask will also be compulsory:

– in shops and shopping centres;

– in cinemas, theatres, concert halls, conference rooms, auditoriums, places of worship, museums, and libraries

This list could change over time, depending on the epidemiological situation in Belgium. The use of masks is still recommended in other situations.

Citizens who do not respect the obligation to wear a mask in the cases mentioned above may be subject to penal sanctions as stipulated in the ministerial decree. In addition, this decree will specifically consider the possibility to close establishments which repeatedly violate the current rules.

As a reminder, the mask is not compulsory for children under 12 years old. Particular provisions are also made for persons who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons.

A National Electronic Safety Council will ratify this decision on Friday 10th.

The authorities recall and insist that the mask is an additional protection that does not dispense with the six “golden rules” of deconfinement, namely:

– Apply hygiene measures such as regular hand washing;

– Encourage open-air activities;

– Pay particular attention to vulnerable groups;

– Maintain a safety distance of 1.5m as far as possible;

– Limit the number of contacts (15 people per week);

– Limit the size of meetings (15 people).

These six golden rules remain the first line of defence against the virus.

07/16: Breakfast-Debate with Clara de la Torre, Deputy Director-General of DG CLIMA and Nicolás González Casares, MEP of the ITRE Committee

On Thursday, July 16th at 9:15am, The Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organizes a new session of its Breakfast-Debate, a meeting platform between Spanish companies and the European Institutions. This will feature the participation of Clara de la Torre, Deputy Director-General of DG CLIMA and Nicolás Gonzáez Casares, MEP of the ITRE Committee and shadow rapporteur of the European Climate Law. In this breakfast “Green Deal: Towards a carbon neutral economy for Europe” will be discussed.

During this breakfast, the roadmap and programs established by the European Commission will be discussed, as well as the role of research and innovation, the relationship with stakeholders and the legislative proposal by the European Parliament.

The aim of these breakfasts is to facilitate the dialogue between Spanish companies with representatives of the European Institutions. In these events, participants will have the opportunity to transmit their proposals and concerns to the speaker.

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

The breakfast will be held in Spanish.

Sponsored by:

The Chamber presents the Erasmus program for Young Entrepreneurs in the Midis de l’emploi of the ULB

On July 3 the Chamber participated in the Midis de l’emploi, a series of workshops organized by the Université libre de Bruxelles with the aim of informing their students about the different employment options after their studies.

During the workshop entitled “Is the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs program for me?“, the Chamber had the opportunity to discuss about entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial skills with the students, in addition to presenting this mobility program for entrepreneurs in Europe.

The workshop was also attended by Emanuel Lemus-Monge, a young entrepreneur who registered through the Chamber who will begin his exchange in Spain in the coming days.

The students were very interested and presented their questions to the manager of the project at the Chamber, Soraya Bravo, who gave them individualized recommendations for their exchanges abroad.

09/14 Webinar on “The tax obligations in Spain for individuals living abroad”

On September 14th, the Spanish Official Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organizes a webinar on “The tax obligations in Spain for individuals living abroad”, in collaboration with its member company B LAW&TAX.

The purpose of the webinar is to clarify the doubts about the criteria of tax residence in Spain, as well as tax obligations of those individuals who move their residence from Spain to other countries, with special focus on  the tax benefits provided in the Spanish internal legislation for employees working outside Spain and the news in the taxation of individuals.

You can consult the complete program here.

The webinar will be given by Inmaculada Pineda and Almudena Soler, partner and Tax Advisor respectively at B LAW&TAX.

The webinar will be held in Spanish and it is free. You can confirm your participation by completing and sending this reply form.

In collaboration with:

Infoday about the PICE Mobility Plan

Last June 30th, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg as the new local contact point for the PICE Mobility Plan in BeLux, organized an online Info Day about the program.

The Mobility Plan is a program created by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce’s Network and co-financed by the European Social Found which is part of the Spanish National System of Youth Guarantee and offers both personal and professional development opportunities through internships or employment contracts in companies from the European Union. 

During this Infoday online we had the participation of Ángel Rebollo, from our company member Must&Partners who told his experience as a successful story in this mobility plan to all the participants.

Thanks to this program we can help Belgian companies to find young and motivated talented professionals with the education and experience adapted to business’ needs. 

If you are interested to incorporate new trainees in the upcoming months you would like to have more information about it please send an email to info@e-camara.com

09/09 Virtual round table on «Successful collaboration between Spain and Belgium in the biotech sector»

On Wednesday, September 9th, from 11:00 to 12:30, the Cultural and Scientific Council of the Embassy of Spain in the Kingdom of 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) organize, in a special edition of the ‘Mediodías de la Embajada’, the second event within the framework of the Spain means Innovation program. This webinar is entitled “Spanish Science Diplomacy – Successful collaboration between Spain and Belgium in the biotech sector”.

As part of the scientific diplomacy and dissemination program of science, technology and innovation of Spain in Belgium, this webinar will examine the opportunities for innovation and business between Spain and Belgium in the field of biotechnology, based on the experience of the Spanish company Minoryx Therapeutics, an example of good collaboration practices in the biotechnology sector between both 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 Charleroi, Belgium.

See the full program here.

You can registrer through this link at the event.

The talk will be held in English and the registration period will be open until September 7th.

 

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In collaboration with:

Launch of phase 4 de-escalation, starting July 1st in Belgium

Press release by Sophie Wilmès, Prime Minister

The National Security Council extended with the Ministers-presidents of the regions, agreed for a transition to phase 4 of the de-escalating since July 1st, based on the agreement of the GEES experts that is based on the good evolution of the epidemiological situation.

The six golden rules are still in force:

  • Respect for hygiene rules.
  • Prioritize outdoor activities.
  • Take extra precautions for those at risk.
  • Respect for safety distances.
  • The “extended bubble” rule that increases from 10 to 15 different people per week in addition to the co-living. As a reminder, this right is individual.
  • Group activities cannot exceed 15 people, children included. This applies to all unsupervised meetings, regardless if they take place at home or outdoors.

It will now be possible to open under certain conditions:

  • Pools and wellness centers.
  • Amusement parks and indoor playgrounds.
  • Theatres and cinemas.
  • Casinos and game rooms.
  • Conference rooms.
  • Reception and party rooms with a maximum of 50 people.

Among the conditions is the application of protocols. In addition, the general rules that are already in force for other activities will be applied, such as the mandatory respect of safety distances, the establishment of time slots and crowd management, the cleaning of infrastructure and the use of mouth masks, which continues to be highly recommended.

Activities that cannot be restarted at this stage:

  • Nightlife activities such as disco clubs.
  • Massive events.

However, it will be possible to organize activities from July 1st in front of an audience, under certain conditions established in the protocols.

For regular events organized in permanent structures such as theaters, cinemas, galleries, congress halls, protocols will be drawn up with competent ministers and experts from GEES.

For specific events in the public space, an online tool will be available on July 1st and will serve as a reference for local authorities in granting authorizations for these events. Specific rules should also apply.

For all these events, there is a capacity limit set at:

  • 200 people inside.
  • 400 people outdoors.

This capacity limit will be re-evaluated in August to 400 people indoors and 800 outdoors maximum if the health situation allows it. An exception can be requested for permanent infrastructure with a public sitting to exceed this limit, respecting health regulations.

The maximum number of outdoor participants will also apply to demonstrations. These should always be subject to a request for authorization from local authorities. In any case, they must always be static and take place in a place where safety distances can be respected.

At the same time, in addition to the resumption of these activities, certain protocols will be relaxed as of July 1st:

  • Possibility of going to the stores with people from your contact bubble and without time limitation. The safety distance will continue to apply.
  • Elimination of the limit on the number of positions for the markets. Health protocols and regulations must continue to apply.

With respect to the next National Day, it was decided that the traditional military and civil parade would take another form exceptionally to meet health standards. In fact, different artistic performances in symbolic places will highlight our country and its artists and will be broadcast on television. Detailed communication will be made later on this topic.

On the longer-term perspective, the start of the school year is already in full swing. The ministers of education, in collaboration with the GEES experts, have established a colour code system that indicates how the school should be organized according to the health situation. Education ministers will explain the plan in more detail at a press conference.

 

Source: Info-coronavirus.be

Virtual round table on “The tourism sector in post-Covid-19 Europe: Challenges and opportunities”

On Wednesday, June 17th, from 11:00 to 12:30, the Embassy of Spain in the Kingdom of Belgium and the Spanish Tourist Office in Belgium, in collaboration with the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg, organized a virtual round table on “The tourism sector in post-Covid-19 Europe: Challenges and opportunities”, a special edition that is part of the Mediodías de la Embajada events.

The debate was chaired by Rafael Chamorro, Director of Spanish Tourism Office in Belgium, and featured H. E. Ms. Beatriz Larrotcha Palma, Ambassador of Spain to the Kingdom of Belgium. For the roundtable the speakers were Eduardo Santander, CEO & Executive Director of European Travel Commission, Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director of Airlines for Europe, Sara Pastor, Managing Director, Destinations EMEA of Adara and Cristina Nuñez, Managing Director of Network of European Regions for a Sustainable and Competitive Tourism – NECSTouR.

The welcome words were given by H. E. Ms. Beatriz Larrotcha Palma, Ambassador of Spain to the Kingdom of Belgium, stating the importance of tourism for Spain and Europe and the great effort put in place by Spanish authorities to restore trust in Spain as a safe destination. The Ambassador also thanked all the organizers for the webinar as well as to all the attendants for their interest.

Following the welcome words, Rafael Chamorro, Director of Spanish Tourism Office in Belgium, Presented all the speakers and opened the roundtable by giving some key numbers about the critical importance of tourism sector not only for Spain but also for Europe as around 10% of EU’s GDP depends directly from this sector. Despite some disparities between EU countries, the economic importance of tourism in terms of employment and growth make compulsory for Europeans to be able to travel again with open borders.

During the debate, Eduardo Santander, CEO & Executive Director of European Travel Commission, insisted in the fact that this crisis might be the perfect opportunity to rethink tourism once the health crisis is over. As some symptoms of the lack of sustainability arise earlier than the COVID-19 crisis, it is the perfect time to think in a future of tourism with a green mark that gives opportunities to regions that traditionally were not receiving much tourism (España vaciada) rather than coming back to unsustainable massified destinations.

Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director of Airlines for Europe, gave his impressions on how severely this crisis has affected the airlines and how they are taking measures to recover from it. Airlines will also be key for the development of the green deal strategy in the near future in addition to some harmonization policies needed in the sector at the EU level. The speaker also highlighted the importance of individual responsibility in flights as long as the health crisis lasts even if the safety is completely ensured thanks to air technologies on planes.

Sara Pastor, Managing Director, Destinations EMEA of Adara, shared with the audience a general picture on how the crisis has been faced by the sector and how the data shows we are starting to rise the curve of reservations as Europeans have not lost their will to travel. This current scenario means that the right strategy to attract the tourists can make the difference for all actors in the sector (regions, hotels, airlines, etc.). A common strategy Europe-wide is needed to prevent comparative advantages (and disadvantages).

Cristina Nuñez, Managing Director of Network of European Regions for a Sustainable and Competitive Tourism – NECSTouR, highlighted the importance of regions in this sector recovery as it is crucial for them to keep attracting public attention by focusing on their strong points. She also agreed that this crisis can be a huge boost for rural areas or regions that traditionally were not among top destinations, therefore it is important to generate trust in the tourist that are looking for this non-massified destinations.

During the Q&A session, participants were able to raise questions of their interest. Some topics covered during this session were the need to restore trust in tourism or the opportunities given to rural areas.

 

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Agreement reached in limited cabinet: here are the new measures in the federal aid plan

On Friday night, an agreement was reached within the “superkern”, the Federal Government and the ten parties that support the special powers destined to fight Covid-19, after several hours of meeting. The text was not validated by the N-VA. The Flemish nationalist party did not sign the joint statement sent shortly before 22:00.

“Today’s agreement reinforces the social and environmental measures taken last week. The nonsense proposals pushed by the N-VA have been completely rejected”, Ecolo co-chair Jean-Marc Nollet said on Twitter.

On June 6th, the ten parties approved a first set of measures. Later it was agreed to identify in a second step what could complement this system. That was the work that was carried out during the meeting this Friday.

The new support measures, protagonists of the agreement can be classified into two categories, indicates the press release signed by the government parties (MR, Open Vld and CD&V), with the support of the Socialists (PS and sp.a), environmentalists (Ecolo-Groen), CD&V, cdH and Défi.

 

The first category refers to investment support.

  • The superkern has decided to establish a new temporary Covid-19  tax shelter system until the end of the year, open to all SMEs that have been affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
  • An investment deduction increased by 25% is provided for investments made between March 12th and December 31st, 2020.
  • The nine parties have also decided to increase the deductibility of expenses related to the organization of events and catering from 50 to 100% until December 31st.
  • The superkern has also decided to suspend the payment of VAT from December 2020 and increase from 10 to 20% the share of net income that can benefit from the reduction of subsidy taxes.
  • At the same time, the tax reduction for donations made in 2020 to approved institutions will decrease from 45 to 60%.

 

The second category refers to the organization of work, according to the statement.

  • The nine parties have decided to create adapted Corona unemployment, which consists of a transition between temporary unemployment due to the force majeure Corona and classic economic unemployment. This transitional economic unemployment can be used if the company shows a 10% drop in its turnover. The worker will follow two days of unemployment training per month and will continue to receive 70% of their last maximum salary.
  • It was also decided to offer companies in restructuring or in difficulties the possibility of reducing working hours pending the resumption of normal activity and to avoid layoffs, either through a collective reduction in working time, either through the time credit system, or through the time credit at the end of the degree, whose accessibility will be reduced from 57 to 55 years.
  • In addition, the Corona parental leave will run until September 30th with a subsidy increased to 150% for single parent families and families with a child with a disability.
  • It was also decided to facilitate the reimbursement of the costs incurred by teleworkers, up to a maximum of 127 euros per month.

 

In addition to these measures, an agreement was also reached to release funds of 100 million euros for the CPAS to be dedicated to people in difficulties in order to extend the benefit of the social measures decided during the previous meeting to a more public comprehensive, especially from the point of view of energy poverty. To cover the operating costs linked to an additional workload, the CPAS will receive an additional aid of 10 million euros.

 

Source: Rtl.be