Luncheon-Debate with Rosario Silva de Lapuerta, Vice President of the Court of Justice of the European Union

On November 27th, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organized in Luxembourg a luncheon-debate with Rosario Silva de Lapuerta, Vice-President of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), under the title of The Court of Justice of the European Union, as the guarantor of the respect of the EU right”. The event included the participation of different Spanish company executives and various representatives of public bodies, both Spanish and European. It was the President of the Chamber, Juan Rodríguez Villa-Matons, who welcome all the attendants, and the Vice-president of the Chamber in Luxembourg, José Luis Rodríguez Álvarez who introduced the event reviewing the relevant professional career of Rosario Silva de Lapuerta.

The Vice-president of the CJEU started with a brief presentation of the institution, describing its history, since its creation in 1952 as the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) with the Treaty of Paris until 2009 which was renamed Court of Justice of the European Union with the Treaty of Lisbon. Since then, this institution consists of two courts, the Court of Justice and the General Court with the specialized courts which operates in the first instance in specific cases.

After it, Rosario Silva de Lapuerta described the main competences of the court. Among others, she highlighted that the CJEU is a decentralized system with intergovernmental competence because it is shared by all member states. At the present, the Court of Justice is composed of one Judge from each State, who is proposed by each State and elected by mutual agreement. These Judges have a 6 year term which is renewed every 3 years. The court of Justice can act in 3 ways: in Plenary, in which all the judges from every member State participate, for the most important cases, such as Brexit; in Grand Chamber, in which the president and vice-president take part with 15 judges, and in Chamber of 3 or 5 judges in which the Court sets the competences of each chamber for specific cases.

Silva de Lapuerta explained the principal functions of CJEU: guarantee the respect of the law by the institutions, encourage the active participation from all member States in the treaties and rights of the CJEU and achieve the unity in the interpretation and application of all the Treaties.

The intervention of Rosario Silva de Lapuerta ended by reminding that the 28 member States must accomplish the functions assigned in order to guarantee the right of the European Union that the institutions and themselves composed. After her speech, there were a round of questions where participants could present their doubts about the court.

Eduardo Ozaita, President of the Board of Directors of Bankinter Luxembourg, closed the event by thanking the participation of Rosario Silva de Lapuerta in this luncheon debate and reviewing Bankinter’s position, highlighting that is the only Spanish bank with a branch office in Luxembourg.

The Chamber thanks Bankinter Luxembourg for its collaboration in the organization of the event.

Event sponsored by:

 

29/01 Luncheon-Debate with Rosa Aldea Busquets, Deputy Director of Directorate-General for Budget of the European Commission

The next January 29th, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce of Spain in Belgium and Luxembourg organizes in Brussels a luncheon-debate with Rosa Aldea Busquets, Deputy Director of Directorate-General for Budget of the European Commission.

The event will take place from 12:30 pm until 2:30 pm at the Hotel NH Collection Bruselas Grand Sablon (Rue Bodenbroek 2, 1000 Bruselas).

The event will be carried out in Spanish with simultaneous interpretation in English.

More information about the topic coming soon.

If you would like to attend the event you can register through this form.

12/09 Breakfast-debate with Miguel Ceballos Barón, Deputy Head of Cabinet of Cecilia Malmström

On September 12th, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg, in collaboration with Air Europa, organized a breakfast-debate with Miguel Ceballos Barón, Deputy Head of the Cabinet of Cecilia Malmström, who presented “Between commercial wars, the EU and Mercosur conclude an historic agreement”. Different representatives from companies and institutions attended the event.

The focus of the conference was the agreement with Mercosur, a treaty that, like the speaker highlighted, is the biggest commercial agreement concluded so far by the EU. The Member States will be able to benefit from a 4,000 MEUR tariff reduction thanks to this pact. Moreover, the speaker, emphasized other benefits that will entail the agreement, such as the possibility for European products to enter the Mercosur countries with clear advantages over their direct competitors like USA or Japan.  

Likewise, Miguel Ceballos explained that the treaty will enable the protection of more than 350 European designations of origin, which will suppose the largest list of this kind of certificate protected by a commercial agreement. Amongst those, for instance, it is possible to find the “Jamón de Jabugo” designation.

The Deputy Head of the Cabinet of the Commissioner Malmström also spoke about other aspects regarding the current situation of international commerce, such as, the repercussions of the Brexit concerning the agreement with the Mercosur or the effects of this treaty over the international commitments taken in order to protect the environment.

After the presentation, there was a round of questions where the participants were able to raise their doubts about this new agreement.

In collaboration with:

20/06 Breakfast-Debate with Román Arjona Gracia, Chief Economist, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission

Last 20 June the Chamber organized a breakfast-debate with Román Arjona, Chief Economist of the DG Research & Innovation at the European Commission, who presented “Horizon Europe and its scheme support for R&D and innovation”. To the event attended different representatives from companies and institutions.

Román highlighted that the new framework programme that will cover the period 2021-2027, it’s, with 100 billion euros, the biggest budget assigned to a R&I programme, not only at European level but also on a global level. The vision of the Commission is to encourage member state to continue reinforcing he budget assigned to R&D, to become an engine for growth and competitiveness.

Different novelties were also presented such as the creation of the European Innovation Council or the introduction of new financial instruments such as equity. All these modifications have been introduced with the final am to translate the European scientific excellence in innovation and entrepreneurship results.

During the presentation was also noted the importance that companies, and institution participate in the different info days organized by the European Commission, such as the  European Research and Innovation days, as well get feedback from the national contact points to get guidance on how to benefit from Horizon Europe.

Breakfast-Debate with Edita Hrdá, Managing Director for the Americas in European External Action Service

On June 5, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organized a luncheon-debate with Edita Hrdá, Executive Director for the Americas of the European External Action Service, about  “The relations of the European Union with Latin America and the Caribbean in the coming years: a political perspective and economic “. The conference was attended by executives of international companies, members of the Chamber and ambassadors and Latin American public representatives.

The conference was focused on the new strategy that is being carried out by the European institutions, especially from the European Commission, in Latin America and the Caribbean. This new European strategy has been reflected in a recent communication called “joining forces for a common future”, which was issued on April 16 and has already been endorsed by the European Parliament and most of the member countries.

This strategy has also been presented to the institutions of Latin America and the Caribbean and to different companies, with the intention of knowing their positions and with the goal of strengthen the political partnership for an effective, rule-based multilateral order, building global consensus around important themes such as human rights, climate and sustainable development.

Ms. Hrdá emphasized the need to update the bilateral agreements between the EU and the countries of the region. Currently, Europe has many initiatives in progress, in some cases the opinion of the counterpart is still unknown, but there are also projects that move forward quickly and positively, including a Joint Communication with new cooperation projects between the European Union and the Pacific Alliance, a renegotiation with the four member countries of Mercosur, and a new bilateral agreement with Mexico and another with Chile that is expected to be signed by the end of the year.

Thanks to these projects and the new strategies that are on the way, Latin America and the Caribbean will be the area, on a global level, with more bilateral agreements with the European Union.

After the presentation, a round of questions was started where the participants could raise their doubts about these new agreements and the current situation of some countries in the region

Luncheon-Debate with Martin Selmayr, Secretary-General of the European Commission

On May 28, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organized a luncheon-debate with Martin Selmayr, Secretary-General of the European Commission, about “The European Union in May 2019: Between renewal, Brexit and refoundation”. The event was attended by executives of international companies, members of the Chamber and representatives of Spanish, European and Latin American public bodies.

The President of the Chamber, Juan Rodríguez Villa-Matons, opened the event by reviewing the professional career of Martin Selmayr and highlighting his important work developed over the last years in his different responsibilities within the European Commission. Likewise, he expressed the satisfaction that supposes for the Chamber to organize this type of lunches with guests of the category of the Secretary-General.

Next, Selmayr took the word, and from the beginning he transmitted, with his speech, a close and motivating message. He began by sharing with the attendees, his close union with Spain and thanked the support for the project of the European Union. And then he proposed two main areas to expose the current situation in Europe.

The first one was developed around the term renewal, mentioning the growth in citizen participation in the last European elections, which represents good news for European democracy having thus achieved a mobilization superior to previous years. He also referred to the diversity reflected in the various parties and current movements and stressed the need for European institutions to work together to facilitate the post-election process, which means the appointment of new leaders, programs and directorates. Selmayr emphasized the new challenges that Europe had to face, including digitalization and climate change. To achieve these challenges, he advised forgetting the differences between the different political parties and focusing on choosing good representatives, capable of leading these important projects.

As a second area, Selmayr proposed the Brexit, where he presented his position and suggested democratic patience to the next leaders of the Commission. He shared the idea that Brexit is an important lesson for Europe, that makes anti-pro-European feelings visible, but that in turn, unifies countries that believe in the European project and wish to continue working for a better future for Europe. At this point of the speech, the Secretary-General reminded the participants that Europe is an inclusive project and not the opposite. Selmayr ended his speech by sharing a motivating and positive message about the current opportunity to introduce good governance, with new energy, ideas and programs, trusting that good bases have been laid for decision-making.

After the presentation, a round of questions began, where the participants could raise their different concerns about the future of Europe. During the debate, topics such as the regulation of disinformation platforms, the importance of transatlantic relations, Euroscepticism and the refoundation of the EU were discussed.

From the Chamber we would like to express our gratitude to Bodegas Barreda, whose wines could be tasted by all attendees, and the participants for this successful luncheon-debate.

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Luncheon-Debate with Jyrki Katainen

On March 7, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organized a luncheon-debate hosting Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President of the European Commission for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness about “The future of Europe”. The event had the participation of CEOs of international companies, members of the Chamber and representatives of Spanish and European public bodies.

The presentation was given by Pablo López Álvarez, Vice-President of the Chamber, who reviewed the professional career of Jyrki Katainen and expressed the satisfaction that it is for the Chamber to organize this type of luncheon with guests of recognized prestige such as the Commissioner.

Hereafter Katainen took the floor, from the beginning he transmitted a motivational and of change message with his speech.

The Vice President proposed three main areas to expose the future situation of Europe.

The first one refers to a more integrated European Union: member countries, businesses and European citizens will make a more united Europe in a few years. Regulatory measures, many of which have already been or are being implemented, will give way to a Europe with new markets that will create new business opportunities such as in the plastics industry and its future transformation.

As a second area, he referred to the challenges coming from outside the European Union, where he highlighted three key powers: the United States and its conception of the market that is far from the open market vision of the EU; China, and the problems linked to the non-opening of its market to European investment, and finally, Russia. In line with the external relations of the EU, Katainen invited attendees to reflect on whether we are strong enough to act in defense of the EU.

In the third and final field concerning the future of Europe, the internal challenges faced by the EU itself and the crises associated with the fundamental values ​​of the European project were highlighted.

Jyrki Katainen ended his speech by referring to the role played by Spain in the EU, considering it a good ally as a European partner. The Vice President expressed his wish that Spain take a step forward in fundamental aspects such as the national market integration, the single internal market or development. He highlighted the history of the country in terms of the struggle for its internal security, and the prominent role that Spain could have in leading the debate on the defense of the EU.

To conclude, Katainen stressed the common goal that must be worked towards the future: to achieve a more competitive and integrated Europe.

After the presentation, a round of questions began where participants could raise their different concerns about the future of Europe. During the debate, topics such as the single internal market, circular economy, Artificial Intelligence, defense and security of the EU were discussed.

From the Chamber we want to show our gratitude to Bodegas Abadal, whose wines could be tasted by all attendees, and to participants for this successful luncheon-debate.

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Luncheon-debate with Emma Navarro, Vice President of the European Investment Bank

On 17 December, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organized in Luxembourg a luncheon-debate with Emma Navarro, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), under the title of ‘’The role of the EIB facing European challenges’’. The event included the participation of different Spanish company executives and various representatives of public bodies, both Spanish and European. It was the President of the Chamber, Juan Rodríguez Villa-Matons, who introduced Emma Navarro reviewing her relevant professional career and expressing his acknowledgment for her collaboration with the Chamber in the participation of this event.

EIB Vice-President began with a brief presentation of the institution, emphasizing its historical occupation on financing infrastructures and encouraging innovation and competitiveness in Europe, introducing new channels that the Bank is already attending in today’s context. Emma Navarro appeared optimistic, describing a favorable cyclical and conjunctural situation, to then emphasize the political, economic and structural challenges that Europe faces.

Among the challenges, Emma Navarro distinguished the political from the structural ones. Regarding the political scene, she highlighted the growing protectionist tendency in Europe and the Brexit, involving this one a need for Bank funds capital replacement. She also brought to light the escalation of populism as a response to multilateral processes. In relation to structural challenges, the speaker remarked the aging of population, the public debt, the increasingly low productivity and the climate change.

The luncheon-debate continued with the analysis of the structural challenges. Encouraging public debt reduction is an inexorable priority for the EIB regarding both the UE restraints as an international organization such as the lack of scope for fiscal action but also the exchange rate policies implementation. Low productivity is another of the main challenges, although this represents a key opportunity for the EIB to foster investment in infrastructure, digitalization and competitiveness. The convenience of attending to an increase in productivity is double if we consider that in this year only a 75% of the budget prior to the financial crisis has been allocated to this item. The fight against climate change is the last challenge analyzed by Emma Navarro. Currently, the EIB allocates more than 25% of their investments to projects fighting the effect of climate change and has the forecast of reaching 100,000 million dollars in between 2016 and 2020. So much so that the EIB is claimed as the main issuer of green bonds, representing 5% of the total.

The intervention of Emma Navarro ended with a special mention of SMEs, for which the EIB acts as a fundamental actor in terms of financing in addition to other major projects such as Madrid Underground. Following the presentation, there was a round of questions among the attendees.

Héctor Esteban Moreno, CEO of Bankinter Luxembourg, closed the event by highlighting the bank’s special relationship within the industrial sector since its foundation, in 1965. Bankinter is claimed to be the sixth Spanish bank in terms of assets, and the first in profitability. He confesses to be at ease with the guidelines presented by Emma Navarro, not only because about a 30% of their income comes from SMEs but also because Bankinter shares multiple collaboration agreements with the EIB in terms of finance investment and innovation.

The Chamber thanks Bankinter Luxembourg for its collaboration in the organization of the event, and the Bodega Salferso Wine for sponsorship of the wines.

Luncheon-debate with Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport

On November 19, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organized a luncheon-debate hosting Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport, the theme was “Challenges of transport: decarbonization and digitalization”. The event, sponsored by the technology consultancy firm Indra, had the participation of executives of companies in the sector, members of the Chamber and representatives of public bodies, both Spanish and European.

The presentation was given by Juan Rodríguez Villa-Matons, President of the Chamber, who reviewed the professional career of Violeta Bulc and showed the satisfaction that it is for the Chamber to organize this type of luncheon with guests of the category of the Commissioner in collaboration of Spanish well-known companies, through which the Chamber is able to keep on growing.

David Luengo, director of the Indra office in Brussels, talked about the importance of sustainability and competitiveness in the field of transport, referring to the importance of achieving a solid position as a country in the high technology sector, (in a context of European programs where Spain has obtained excellent results). In the same way, he highlighted the importance of the Spanish contribution to Horizon 2020 as well as the importance of betting and encouraging technological innovation and consolidating European industry.

For her part, Commissioner Violeta Bulc conveyed a motivating and changing message with her speech. Bulc started by explaining the current evolution in the transport sector and the need to exchange not only good practices but opinions and ideas to promote awareness and collaboration to direct actions towards a common goal.

The Commissioner of Transport emphasized the three main goals through which transformation in the sector will be achieved. The first of these, efficiency, highlighted the responsibility involved and the intention to ensure the continuity of innovation. The second, connectivity, the Commissioner stressed the importance of this to achieve the goal successfully, accompanied with a high degree of commitment, not only internally but outside the EU, maintaining global connectivity. Lastly, externalities, where it was claimed the importance of the socially responsible contribution against negative externalities.

The rest of the exposition revolved around two axes; on the one hand, decarbonisation and on the other the digitalization of transport. With regard to decarbonisation, it was mentioned low emission vehicles to achieve clean mobility, highlighting in turn the relevance of alternatives to current fuels and infrastructures.

Regarding the digitalization of transport, Bulc stressed the need to be open to an innovative ecosystem where we all cooperate to carry out digitalisation. He stressed that the two concepts go hand in hand and invited attendees to think digital and clean.

After the presentation, a round of questions took place in which the participants could raise their different concerns in the transport sector. Questions of various types were carried out, including mentions to the Mediterranean corridor, concerns related to Brexit or new communication technologies.

On the other hand, from the Chamber we want to show our gratitude to Bodegas Solar de Urbezo, whose wines could be tasted by all attendees and their distributor in Belgium and partner of the Chamber, La Buena Vida.

Luncheon-Debate with Diego Canga Fano, Head of Cabinet of the President of the European Parliament

Last 10th of July, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organized a luncheon- debate hosting Diego Canga Fano, Head of the Cabinet of the President of the European Parliament. The theme was “The European Parliament, representative of the EU citizens”. Company directors, members of the Chamber and representative of public institutions were the main participants. The luncheon- debate was sponsored by the consulting and technology company Indra.

Ignacio Mataix, executive Director of Indra, was in charge of the presentation. He expressed the excellent labour developed by Diego Canga at the Parliament as well as the compromise of the company with the European project. Juan Rodríguez Villa- Matons, President of the Chamber, showed his satisfaction about being able to count on a guest such as Diego Canga as well as with the collaboration of well-known companies, through which the Chamber is able to keep on growing.

The intervention of Diego Canga was marked by a dynamic and invitational tone. His speech was focused mainly in the collaboration and communication between the European Institutions and the confidence placed by the European citizens in the Parliament, which has considerably increased in the recent times.

The speaker made emphasis on the most relevant changes made during the mandate of President Tajani, begun in 2017 and which are mainly focused in giving a greater role to the citizen’s voice.

Canga also pointed out daily and inner politics of the European Parliament, which even if they are less known by the citizens, play an important role.

Furthermore, Canga focused part of his speech in the challenges that the current team will face these coming years: financial framework, the Brexit and the legislation pending, which will be pushed next semester.

Hearing and learning from Diego Canga, with more than 27 years of experience within the European Institutions, certainly added a very interesting vision to the attendees that enjoyed a distended environment. Sharing the personal thoughts of Canga helps to better understand the European project and the demanding challenges that the European Institutions still have to face.

As the themes were recent, the participants took actively part to the debate and the Q&A round.

The Chamber will also like to thank Félix Solís Avantis, whose wines could be tasted by the all the attendees.