Breakfast-debate with Catalina Guerrero, director of the Brussels delegation of Agencia EFE

Next Friday 3 December between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m., the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg is organising a breakfast-debate on “The role of Agencia EFE in Brussels”. In this event, we will have the collaboration of Catalina Guerrerodirector of the Brussels delegation of the Agencia EFE.

The director, in addition to reporting on the work carried out by the news agency in the capital of Europe, will present and detail the collaboration agreement signed by the agency with the Chamber last week to give greater visibility to Spanish companies and professionals active in Belgium and Luxembourg.

The presentation will take place at the Chamber’s premises (Rue Belliard, 20, 1º, 1040 – Brussels) and will be held in Spanish.

The event is free of charge, but places are limited, so prior registration is required. You can register for this breakfast-debate by sending an e-mail to info@e-camara.com. Priority is given to members.

Online Breakfast-Debate with Luis Garicano, MEP, Head of Ciudadanos Delegation to the European Parliament, Vice-President and Economic Coordinator of Renew Europe

On Friday the 4th of June 2021, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organized a virtual debate within the scope of its platform “Desayunos con la Eurocámara”(Breakfast with the Eurochamber), created with the aim of bringing the EU Parliament´s debates closer to Spanish companies. As part of these debates we invited MEP Luis Garicano, Head of Ciudadanos Delegation to the European Parliament, Vice-President and Economic Coordinator of Renew Europe.

The topic of this debate was “The priorities of the Renew Europe group for this legislature”.

Pablo López Álvarez, Vice-President of the Chamber and moderator of the event, welcomed the participants and briefly presented the speaker, whose presence, together with the participants’, he acknowledged.

MEP Garicano analyzed, in the first place, the current situation of the Next Generation European recovery funds as well as the establishment of a Resiliency and Control Mechanism by the European Commission.

The speaker positively assessed the consensus reached within the Renew Europe group in these matters, as well as the responsibility of the Spanish and Italian representatives to show the efficiency of NGEU and React EU funds.

Thereupon MEP Garicano highlighted the different spending criteria and conditions established by the European Commission and supervised by the European Council through the European Semester. He also highlighted the low materialization achieved in matters such as the maintenance of market unity and the importance of complying with the required measures in social services and employment.

Next, the speaker explained the different transparency accomplishments of Renew Group in the European Parliament, regarding supervision, access and control rights by the Antifraud Office and the European Court of Auditors. Additionally, MEP Garicano expressed his concern about the European recovery funds management. In this sense, he centered his speech on the funds oriented at training programs or the low investment in youth employment.

During the Q&A session, the participants were able to express their doubts and to make comments about numerous matters of interest. Thus, different topics were discussed such as the lack of competition in certain technological sectors in Spain comparing to other European countries, the PERTE allocation criteria, SME’s position to access these aid funds, regulatory challenges in the European liberalization of the telecommunications sector and finally the disparities between the allocation of European funds.

Finally, MEP Garicano concluded his intervention by highlighting the lack of political consensus as one of the main barriers to an effective European funds’ distribution, which were closely analyzed.

The Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg would like to wholeheartedly express its gratitude to MEP Luis Garicano for his participation in the debate and to all participants for their presence.

 

Online Breakfast-Debate with Nicolás González Casares, MEP, Member of the Special Committee on Beating Cancer and of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and substitute for the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

On 2nd of June 2021, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organized a virtual debate within the scope of its platform “Desayunos con la Eurocámara”(Breakfast with the EuroChamber), created with the aim of bringing the EU Parliament´s debates closer to Spanish companies. As part of these debates, the MEP Nicolás González Casares, member of the Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA), the Commission of Industry, Research and Energy and substitute in the Commission of Environment, Public Health and Food Safety was invited.

The topic of this debate was “The role of the BECA Committee in the European plan to fight cancer”

Pablo López Álvarez, Vice-President of the Chamber and moderator of the event, welcomed the participants and briefly presented the speaker, whose presence, together with the participants’, he acknowledged.

Nicolás González discussed, in the first place, the importance of BECA Commission to design strategies to prevent cancer expansion within the European Union.

Thereupon the speaker highlighted the different inequalities originated since the start of the pandemic regarding early cancer diagnosis and access to treatment amongst member states, especially in southern and eastern Europe, and explained the important work carried out by the BECA Committee, created in June 2020, in terms of implementing prevention measures.

 MEP González also highlighted the actions carried out by the Commission regarding the fight against tobacco, presenting the importance of advancing the revision of the EU Commission directive scheduled for 2023.

Following on, the speaker explained the different key dates established by the Committee, such as the deadline for the draft proposal, scheduled for the 17th of June, amendments presentation on the 14th of September or the final vote to be casted on the 6th of December, prior to the Committee’ dissolution the 23rd of December.

During the Q&A session, the participants were able to express their doubts and to make comments about numerous matters of interest. Thus, different topics were discussed such as the importance of implementing shared health data systems, the roles of tobacco’ alternatives, the effect of diets on the mitigation of possible carcinogenic effects of wine, the Spanish anti tobacco law’ effectiveness, the European Medicines Agency or the European vaccination card’ implementation.

In his view, the creation of databases at an European level with the aim of reducing inequalities between member states is fundamental, as well as exploiting the increase in vaccine production capability derived from the pandemic.

The speaker also expressed his wish to give continuity to the Committee once dissolved the 23rd of December through a constant dialogue with the European Commission in order to propose legislative initiatives, such as new product labeling obligations on alcoholic beverages. He also expressed the importance of the EU to coordinate and establish wide political lines in public health policy, as well as its duty to expand these activities amongst all member states.

The Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg would like to wholeheartedly express its gratitude to the  MEP Nicolás González for his participation in the debate and to all participants for their presence.

Online Breakfast-Debate with Javier Moreno Sánchez, MEP of the Group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats of the European Parliament.

On Tuesday the 11th of May, 2021 the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organized another virtual debate in the scope of its platform Desayunos con la Eurocámara”(Breakfast with the Eurochamber), created with the objective to bring the EU Parliament debates closer to Spanish companies. As part of this debates MEP Javier Moreno Sánchez was invited  from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats.

The topic of this debate was Priorities of European Socialist parties for this political term”.

Pablo López Álvarez, Vice-President of the Chamber and moderator of the event, welcomed the participants and briefly presented the speaker, whose presence, together with the participants’, he acknowledged.

Javier Moreno briefly discussed in the first place the fast and agile pandemic’ management by the European Union, remarking the important task undertaken by the Parliament and the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the health emergency funds’ unblocking in March of 2020 and during the pandemic.

MEP Moreno also highlighted the good response provided against the challenged occurred during this historical year, such as the Brexit negotiation and the health situation, together with preserving democracy and rule of law in the different member states.

Thereupon the speaker explained the different priorities of his group. As top priority, he highlighted the recovery of social life through the European vaccination campaign, together with the facilitation of European mobility through the so-called Covid Certificate. He also underlined the vital importance of implementing the economic recovery plans with an economic and digital transformation scope, while taking into account gender equality and creating job opportunities for the younger generations.

The speaker also established immigration policy management as one of his Group’s main challenge, which will rely on the Blue Card initiative, with the objective of facilitating the arrival of highly qualified workers. MEP Moreno also defined CAP reform as a main challenge in which the group is actively involved.

During the Q&A session, the participants were able to express their doubts and to make comments about numerous matters of interest. Thus, different topics were discussed such as the European card for disabled people, the challenges and opportunities derived from MERCOSUR changes or the Conference on the Future of Europe.

From the speaker’s point of view, it is critical to take advantage of the opportunities from the pandemic to reinforce the EU commercial position in South America, as well as transmitting to the EU citizens the successful implementation of initiatives such as the Conference on the Future of Europe in order to encourage a higher participation in the upcoming EU election. Regarding the European card for disabled people, the speaker remarked that the delegation is hearing societies’ needs through amendments to facilitate the Covid Certificate to disabled people, as well as streamline the implementation of the European card for this group of people.

The Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg would like to wholeheartedly express its gratitude to MEP Javier Moreno for his participation in the debate and to all participants for their presence.

 

Online Breakfast-Debate with Mirzha de Manuel, Member of the Cabinet of Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis for an Economy that Works for People.

Last Friday April 23 2021, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organised a new virtual breakfast-debate in the framework of its “Business Circle” platform. Mirzha de Manuel, Member of the Cabinet of Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis for an Economy that Works for People in the European Commission, participated in the debate. The topic of the breakfast was Post-Covid economic recovery perspectives and the role of the Recovery and Resilience Facility.”

Pablo López Álvarez, Vice-President of the Chamber and moderator of the event, welcomed and briefly introduced the speaker and thanked him and all the attendees for their presence.

Mirzha de Manuel began by explaining the great success of the 100 billion investment launched by the EU. This recovery plan to overcome the economic and social struggles caused by the coronavirus pandemic was agreed by the European Commission, the European Parliament and EU leaders. This plan, unprecedented in its scale and content, contains short and long-term goals that are very important for Member States to generate sustained and sustainable growth. In addition, he stressed that all investments made by Member States related to the economic recovery from the pandemic are eligible for funding under various EU mechanisms, such as the SURE program. Finally, de Manuel stressed the importance of social dialogue as a frame of reference for tackling current problems, drawing up recovery plans and ensuring that the solutions have strong social backing.

During the Q&A session, attendees were able to express their doubts and comments on numerous issues of interest. Thus, issues such as the importance of the consultation of the recovery plans, the degree of development of the recovery and resilience plans, the Commission’s view on the draft presented by Spain as well as the opportunity to make a more European format for the post-covid recovery strategy were discussed.
The Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg would like to thank Mirzha de Manuel and all the attendees for their participation.

Online Breakfast-Debate with Dolors Montserrat, MEP of the European People’s Party and President of the Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament

Last Friday April 16th 2021, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organised a new virtual breakfast-debate in the framework of its “Breakfast with the European Parliament” framework, a platform to bring European Parliament debates closer to our companies. Dolors Monserrat, MEP of the European People’s Party (EPP) and Chair of the Petitions Committee, took part in the debate.

The topic of the breakfast was “The priorities of the European People’s Party for this legislature”.

Pablo López Álvarez, Vice-President of the Chamber and moderator of the event, welcomed and briefly introduced the speaker and thanked her and all the attendees for their presence.

Dolors Monserrat first briefly addressed the priority of health and jobs and their complementarity for the European People’s Party. She stressed that Europe is experiencing the greatest crisis since the Second World War and that the EU needs to work resolutely to overcome the consequences of this crisis. The objective of the EU action and the strategy led by the EPP is to limit the economic and social impact of the crisis as much as possible.

Then, Dolors highlighted the different priorities of the EPP parliamentary group. These priorities include first the health field, followed by the economic field with decisive support for the most affected sectors (industry, tourism, SMEs, etc.) and promoting Europe’s leadership in the world during the current crisis.

She also underlined the enormous importance of the European recovery funds for Spain in order to face a new industrialisation (R&D) and modernisation of its economy. She also stressed the importance of stable job creation for a successful economic recovery for all Member States.

During the Q&A session, attendees were able to express their doubts and comments on numerous issues of interest. Thus, topics such as doubts about the vaccination plan in Spain, the elimination of inequalities for people with disabilities in the management of medical data (Big Data) or the difficulties encountered by Spanish companies in finding information on available European funds were discussed.

From the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg we would like to thank Dolors Montserrat and all the attendees for their participation.

Online Breakfast-Debate with Cibrán Fernández Silva, member of the Cabinet of Charles Michel, President of the European Council

On Wednesday, 3 March 2021, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organised a new virtual breakfast-debate in the framework of its “Business Circle” forum. Cibrán Fernández Silva, member of the Cabinet of Charles Michel, President of the European Council, participated in the debate. The topic of the breakfast was: “The priorities of the European Council“.

Pablo López Álvarez, Vice-president of the Chamber and moderator of the event, welcomed and briefly introduced the speaker and thanked him and all the attendees for their presence.

Cibrán Fernández Silva began his speech thanking those present for their participation and the Chamber for its work to bring the European debates closer to our companies. First of all, he briefly presented the functions of the European Council, such as strategic orientation and impulse, crisis management and resolution, as well as its role as a the institutional framework for ensuring consensus in the strategic lines of the European Union. He also highlighted the figure of the President of the European Council, currently Charles Michel, who represents the Heads of State and Government, ensures consensus among leaders and prepares Summits.

The Cabinet member then highlighted the various priorities of the European Council based on the sections of the Strategic Agenda that was agreed in 2019. The pandemic has, obviously, significantly altered this agenda and new priorities have emerged, such as protecting the Schengen Area, activating the SURE mechanism, making State aid more flexible or managing the difficulties in purchasing equipment or vaccines. The speaker also highlighted the fact that, despite the extremely difficult negotiations in July, the Recovery and Resilience Fund has been a historic milestone in the European project, as demonstrated by the fact that common debt compromises have been taken and major advances have been made in the Union’s own resources.

In terms of priorities, Cibrán Fernández highlighted the green agenda. Its strategic goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and reducing emissions to at least 55% by 2030 have been set by the European Council. The digital transition will aim to generate European digital sovereignty and activate innovation. Recovery funds will play a key role in both transitions and part of the funds of the national reconstruction plans should be allocated to these priorities. At the international level, the speaker also wanted to stress the important agenda of President Michel and the commitment of the leaders to stablish a European strategic sovereignty that is committed to multilateralism, but that has its own recognised international profile as well.

During the question and answer session, the participants were able to express their doubts and comments on numerous issues of interest. Thus, issues such as the role and influence of Spain in the European Council, which leaders generate consensus during Summits, the national recovery plans, the possibility of a common industrial policy or the Conference on the Future of Europe were discussed.

From the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg we would like to thank Cibrán Fernández and all the attendees for their participation.

Online Breakfast-Debate with Pablo Fábregas Martínez, Member of the Cabinet of Adina Vălean, Commissioner for Transport

Last Wednesday, February 24th, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organized a new virtual breakfast-debate in the framework of its “Business Circle” platform. Pablo Fábregas Martínez, Member of the Cabinet of Adina Vălean, Commissioner for Transport, participated in the debate. The breakfast focused on: “The European Commission’s priorities for mobility and transport in the context of deconfinement”.

Pablo López Álvarez, Vice President of the Chamber and moderator of the event, welcomed and briefly introduced the speaker, thanking him, along with all those present, for his participation.

Pablo Fábregas Martínez began by thanking those present for their attendance and the Chamber for organizing the event. During his speech, the speaker explained the new sustainable mobility strategy that the Commission presented at the end of last year. This working plan is structured around three main areas: sustainable, smart and resistant mobility, which in turn is divided into ten emblematic initiatives.

In terms of sustainable mobility, Fábregas pointed out that no mode of transport should be excluded, although in some sectors it is more difficult to achieve decarbonisation and emphasized the importance of alternative fuels. Other issues that the Commission is working on, aligned with the Green Deal, are the increase in charging points and the review of the trans-European transport networks.

In relation to intelligent mobility, which is closely related to the Green Deal and the technological transition, he pointed out that the vision of a resilient and fair mobility must be reinforced. Faced with a crisis such as that of Covid-19, in which airlines have canceled much of their services, the safeguarding of travelers’ rights must be prioritized.

Finally, he stressed the importance of increasing traffic safety in order to reduce the number of deaths on the roads. Another point on which they are working is the review of the infrastructures so that they age better and prevent possible accidents.

During question time, attendees were able to express their doubts and comments on numerous issues of interest. Thus, issues such as the reactivation of the tourism sector for the summer, the importance of the railroad in recovery plans or the revision of Co2 standards were discussed.

From the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg we would like to warmly thank Pablo Fábregas Martínez and all those present for their participation.

Breakfast-debate with Beatriz de Guindos Talavera, Director of Competition of the CNMC

Last Wednesday, February 17th, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organised its second event within the framework of the Working Commission “Competencia España”, with the purpose to address specific issues of competition law and policy that may affect the member companies of the Chamber.

The virtual breakfast-debate counted with the participation of Beatriz de Guindos Talavera, Director of Competition of the CNMC about “the Competition law reform”.

Miguel Troncoso, managing partner in Brussels of Gómez-Acebo & Pombo and Chairman of the Commission, introduced Beatriz de Guindos Talavera and gave an overview of her extensive professional career and thanked her for her participation in this second Commission event.

De Guindos spoke about the imminent reform of the Competition Law as a result, among other aspects, of the transposition of the ECN+ Directive.

Within this reform, the speaker mainly highlighted the four amendments that affect the law.

During the question-and-answer session, the attendees were able to express their doubts and comments on numerous issues of interest.

These meetings are intended to be a platform for debate in “neutral territory” between companies, lawyers and consultants associated with the Chamber with officials from DG Competition, the CNMC and members of the Spanish and European judiciary.

Online Breakfast-Debate with María Martin-Prat, Director, Directorate-General for Trade (DG Trade), Chief Negotiator for EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI)

Last Wednesday February 10th 2021, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg  organised a new virtual breakfast-debate in the framework of its “Business Circle” platform. María Martin-Prat, Director, Directorate-General for Trade (DG Trade), Chief Negotiator for EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) participated in the debate. The breakfast focused on “the new agreement between the European Union and China in investments: implications for businesses” and was organized in collaboration with Van Bael & Bellis.

Pablo López Álvarez, Vice President of the Chamber and moderator of the event, welcomed and thanked the speaker and all the attendees for their participation.

To begin with, Philippe De Baere, partner in Van Bael & Bellis, took the floor to thank the speaker for her presence and for leading the negotiations on the agreement. Following that, he briefly presented the main challenges that the treaty is facing because of the existence of numerous detractors and the lack of a disputes resolution mechanism for investors.

Maria Martín-Prat began her speech by thanking all the attendees and the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce for the possibility of holding this event. During her intervention, the speaker began presented in detail the content of the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) recently reached with the Popular Republic of China. Firstly, the CAI stands out for not being a regular investment protection treaty nor a free trade agreement. The Chief Negotiator explained that the objective of this agreement is to help investors from EU Member States to enter the Chinese market and prevent the problems of arbitrariness and discrimination that they may face, as well as updating the investment legal framework that is currently governed by a multitude of bilateral agreements between the different Member States and China. María Martín-Prat highlighted the enormous relevance of the Chinese market for European businesses with a level of accumulated investments of the EU in China of up to 140 billion euros in the last years in a market of 1.400 million inhabitants with huge investment capacity. It also needs to be taken into account the particularity of the Chinese model and the problems that numerous European businesses have faced in the country regarding access barriers, forced joint ventures and other disadvantages.

Regarding the content of the agreement in itself, the speaker explained that one of the principal objectives is to achieve a level playing field for accessing the market for European investors and acquire from the Chinese side a series of commitments to assure the maximum access under equal conditions in some agreed sectors, always in accordance with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The CAI is part of a much bigger strategy of negotiation with China and of protection of the strategic autonomy of the European Union in the international scene. With this new agreement, China commits to open to the new European investors specific sectors that were, until now, practically closed such as telecommunications, aerial, private health, financial services, research or automobile. Martín-Prat also distinguished as the most important points of the agreement the existence of obligations to prevent the forced transfer of technology, the existence of a rapid reaction mechanism at the highest level, the improvement of transparency in state aid and the labor obligations that China will undertake through the ratification of certain World Labor Organization (WLO) rules. Lastly, the speaker presented the decision process that the agreement will need to follow in the next few months. It will start by publishing the full treaty, then go through legal scrutiny, translation and finally, its submission to the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. Although discussions with European co-legislators and civil society are complicated and the fate of the agreement may depend on subsequent political or geopolitical developments, María Martín-Prat was optimistic that it could be quickly validated and put into operation. 

During question time, attendees were able to express their doubts and comments on numerous issues of interest such as anti-dumping regulations, the timing of the agreement, the current and future relationship with the United States in trade, as well as clauses related to copyright and the cultural sector were discussed.

From the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg we would like to warmly thank María Martín-Prat for her participation, our member company Van Bael & Bellis  for their collaboration in organizing this event and all the attendees for their presence.

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