Online Breakfast-Debate with Carlos Romero Duplá, Counsellor of Digital Transformation at the Permanent Representation of Spain to the EU

On October 15th 2021, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organised a new virtual breakfast in the framework of its “Business Circle” platform. Carlos Romero Duplá, Counsellor for Digital Transformation at the Permanent Representation of Spain to the EU, participated in the debate.

The topic of the breakfast was “European digital policy: recent advances and future prospects”.

Pablo López Álvarez, 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.

Carlos Romero Duplá began his speech by referring to the digital revolution and strategies that are currently being presented.

He began the discussion mentioning the importance of the renovation of networks and the analysis carried out by the European Commission. In that last point, he highlighted the shortage of components, basic manufacturers, geopolitics and cybersecurity, that block European economic growth.

Then, the speaker detailed the importance of the first regulation issued in Europe on artificial intelligence and data protection, which has been a benchmark for other countries.

Romero also added that Europe must be digitally sovereign in those areas in which it can be successful, refering the regulatory paradigms in artificial intelligence and the potential of the exploitation of the data that Europe produces.

In addition, he set out some of the most important pillars in the digital revolution such as the platform economy, artificial intelligence and the Data act. He pointed out the importance of regulating with a “leverage spirit” by generating a free movement ecosystem to drive industrial development, focusing on ethics as had been done before, but knowing how to easily put it into practice.

Carlos Romero also briefly mentioned the eagerly awaited Data Act initiative, which is due to be published in December this year. Which will try to solve problems in the data sector by avoiding oligopolies in data retention.

Finally, the Counsellor for Digital Transformation stressed that the pandemic has accelerated Europe’s digital adaptation. Consequently, with its new strategy, the Commission not only wants to legislate, but also to develop a review. To this end, it will produce an annual report with objectives, consequences, multi-country projects, etc. Among the countries supporting it, he named Germany, Italy, France and Spain.

Spanish companies are joining this digital revolution that the Commission wants to develop. Romero believes that electronic identification will allow a diversification on the portfolios of information, which  will give added value and recognition of digital rights, giving value to citizens.

During the question and answer time, attendees were able to express their doubts and comments on numerous issues of interest. Thus, topics such as the European health area- the initial position, current context and future prospects-, connectivity and the digitalization aspirations were discussed, a special mention was made to roaming as one of the great achievements for communication within Europe. Then, it was discussed the initiative to the transition to both 5G and 6G, the importance of being able to access data from different sectors, the digitisation of infrastructure, the transformation of the economy and the successful connectivity of Europe.

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

Luncheon-Debate with Henrik Hololei, Director-General DG Mobility and Transport of the European Commission

On Monday November 29th from 12:30h to 14:30h, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organizes a luncheon debate in the framework of its “Business Circle” platform. Henrik Hololei, Director General of the Directorate General for Mobility and Transport of the European Commission, will participate as guest speaker in the debate.

The discussion will be held in English at the NH Collection Grand Sablon Hotel in Brussels (Rue Bodenbroek 2, 1000 Brussels).

More information on the topic of the event will be available soon. You can register for the luncheon by filling in this reply form.

In order to keep everyone safe, the Covid Safe Ticket will be requested from the attendees. In addition, the Chamber has established a series of hygiene and protection measures for events and face-to-face meetings that can be checked here.

Online Breakfast-Debate with Jorge Ferreras Gutiérrez, Coordinating Counsellor for Finance at the Permanent Representation of Spain to the EU

On Friday October 1, 2021, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organised a new virtual breakfast-debate within the cycle “Business Circle”, a meeting platform between Spanish companies and representatives in the European institutions. Jorge Ferreras Gutiérrez, Coordinating Counsellor for Finance of the Permanent Representation of Spain to the EU, took part in the debate.

The topic of the breakfast was “Business taxation in the European Union: The Communication of the European Commission on this matter and the implications of the recent agreements of the G20 and the OECD”.

The President of the Chamber and moderator of the event, Pablo López Álvarez, welcomed and briefly introduced the speaker, summarising his professional career. He also thanked all the attendees for their presence.

Jorge Ferreras Gutiérrez began his speech by contextualising the current situation of digital business taxation in the EU. To do so, he divided the issue into three basic questions: where do we come from, where are we now and where are we going.

On the first point, he pointed out the need to connect the decisions of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) with the initiatives of the European Commission for tackling the problem of base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS). In this regard, he highlighted that in 2013 the recommendations of both organisations were embodied in the so-called BEPS Action Plan, which includes 15 measures, focusing the first one on digital economy issues. Ferreras also mentioned the impossibility of separating the digital economy from the rest of the economic activity and how the difficulties of the first one make the problems of the economy as a whole to increase exponentially.

The speaker then detailed the implications for companies of the agreement reached in July 2021, based on two pillars: the redistribution of available profits and the establishment of effective taxation. On this point, he discussed the development of the negotiations between the Member States and their impact on the public debate.

Finally, the Coordinating Counsellor for Finance set out a number of challenges for the proposals to be presented in the course of the coming year and for achieving consensus between the European jurisdictions.

During the question and answer time, participants were able to express their doubts and comments on a number of issues of interest. Thus, issues such as the reasons for the lack of agreement with Ireland, the fiscal measures proposed by the European Commission to recover the funds of the Next Generation EU (NGEU), the percentage of the redistribution of profits that could correspond to Spain and how this new international regulation will affect Luxembourg were discussed.

From the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg we would like to thank Jorge Ferreras Gutiérrez for his participation and all the attendees for their presence.

 

Online Breakfast-debate with José Antonio Zamora, Coordinating Counselor for Trade of the Permanent Representation of Spain to the EU

On Wednesday 16 of June, 2021, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organized another virtual debate in the scope of its platform Business Circle”, a meeting platform between Spanish companies to their institutional representatives. In this debate took part José Antonio Zamora, Coordinating Counsellor for Trade of the Permanent Representation of Spain to the European Union.

The topic of this debate hinged on “Where is the EU trade policy heading, prospects after the US-EU Summit”.

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

José Antonio Zamora briefly discussed in the first place the EU “open autonomy” concept and the Spanish role in terms of commercial openness.

Thereupon the speaker explained the different results of the US-EU Summit, underlining the different changes in the relationship with the new Biden administration. In general, he highlighted in a positive way the new agenda, which includes propositions such as the new Bilateral Council for Commerce and Technology, the resolution of disputes between Boeing and Airbus, new investment controls and different actions regarding cybersecurity.

He also mentioned the progress made towards the reduction disputes introduced by the former US administration, by engaging in talks to solve the commercial war with the EU through tariffs reduction in the steel and aluminium sector, as well as, in digital and technological sectors.

Regarding the UE commercial relations with other countries, Zamora explained the good relationship with MERCOSUR countries, Mexico and Chile, with some bilateral agreements already closed or in their final stages, as well as future collaborations to be explored with Australia and New Zealand. India is also included among the countries which proposed to explore new commercial treaties by 2024, although with certain reservations from EU officials.

Finally, the speaker set some pending challenges after the EU- US Summit, such as the restoration of the Open Method for Coordination (OMC) functioning, currently blocked by the US, or the resolution of positions regarding the vaccines’ intellectual property liberalization by the US.

During the questioning time, 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 OECD bilateral commercial agreement, the changes in the Biden administration in respect to the former one, the MERCOSUR agreement’ elements to be improved or the differences between the new India proposition and the former one and finally the US position in terms of pharmaceutical intellectual property liberalization.

The Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg would like to heartly express its gratitude to José Antonio Zamora for his participation in the debate and to all participants for their presence.

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 Vicente Hurtado Roa, Head of Unit of Indirect Taxes other than VAT in the DG TAXUD (Taxation and Customs Union)

 

Last Wednesday April 14th 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. Vicente Hurtado Roa, Head of unit for indirect taxes other than VAT at DG TAXUD (Taxation and Customs Union) participated in the debate.
The topic of the breakfast was “The Commission’s work programme for 2021 on excise tax issues”.

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.
Vicente Hurtado first briefly explained excise taxes, their regulation and the directives currently in force. He gave a brief overview of the activities of his unit since 2019 in terms of review, evaluation and new proposals on current legislation to adapt it to the new priorities of the Commission.

Hurtado then outlined the different parts of DG TAXUD’s work programme on excise tax issues. Firstly, he spoke of the importance of environmental impact taxes and the possibility of expanding this tax to imports from third countries that are unregulated or have a higher risk of carbon leakage. He also stressed the importance of updating the current directives on fossil fuels imported from third countries to bring them into line with Green Deal regulations.

The speaker also highlighted the Commission’s priority in the fight against cancer, which is based on the imperative of reducing the risks that cause cancer, such as tobacco consumption, which is regulated by excise taxes.
Mr Hurtado explained the work of his unit on the creation of a regulation for alternative products to tobacco, the importance of regulating fraud when it comes to cross-border purchases and the desire to make the control of these issues more effective.

During the Q&A session, attendees were able to express their doubts and comments on numerous issues of interest. Topics such as the new categories of smokeless tobacco and their regulation and the impact of regulations on energy imports from third countries were discussed.

From the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg we would like to thank Vicente Hurtado Roa for his participation and all the attendees for their presence.