Luncheon-debate with Phil Hogan, Commisioner for Agriculture and Rural Development

Last 22nd of March the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organized a Luncheon-Debate with Phil Hogan, Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development about “Common Agricultural Policy: Added Value for the Future of Europe”. Among the attendees there was the President of the Chamber of Commerce of Córdoba, representatives of the REPER, Chamber members, business executives and also representatives of the Spanish autonomous delegations in Brussels.

The President of the Chamber Juan Rodríguez-Villa Matons reviewed the career path of the Commissioner and thanked for his participation in the event, as well as his interest for the Spanish economy.

Afterwards, the Commissioner expressed being very thankful for attending to the Luncheon-Debate, highlighting that Spain values and cares about rural areas and considers always the agricultural economy. He remarked his six official stays in Spain during which he had the opportunity to meet with representatives of various sectors of the agricultural industry.

Hogan emphasized the importance of the agricultural sector in Spain, being the country of origin of 15% of the exports of the European Union. He highlighted Spanish products such as wine and citrus, which help agricultural growth.

Then he detailed the treaties that the EU has around the world related to agriculture. He also commented that the EU has in process policies for the renewal and innovation of farms, the search for fair trade and measures that are flexible for different sectors of agriculture.

During the questions and answers, the participants raised their questions to the Commissioner regarding different policies and treaties that are being carried out, such as negotiations with MERCOSUR or the need for agricultural market regulation.

Finally, Juan Rodríguez-Villa and Ignacio Fernández de Mesa, President of the Chamber of Cordoba, awarded the Commissioner in gratitude for his participation in the Luncheon-Debate and his work heading the Agriculture and Rural Development Commission.

The President also wanted to make a special mention to Baralides Wines, sponsor of the wine at the event.

Luncheon-debate with Luis Planas Puchades, Secretary General of the European Economic and Social Committee

Last February 7th, the Chamber of Commerce organized a luncheon-debate with Luis Planas Puchades, Secretary General of the European Economic and Social Committee under the title The European Union and Spain in 2018. The event counted on the presence of the Ambassador of Luxembourg and some 20 representatives of the European institutions and companies’ directors.

Juan Rodríguez-Villa Matons, President of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg pronounced some welcome words and introduced the speaker, bringing to light his recognized professional career.

He also thanked him for his ongoing collaboration with the Chamber through the past years.

Immediately, Luis Planas started his intervention by underlining two essential points: the European elections of May 2019, and the future presidency of the European Commission.

Regarding the first point, he reminded that after the Brexit, 63 seats of the European Commission will be free, thus, having arisen divergent opinions about the future of the Commission. On the one hand, there are people considering it as an opportunity to establish the German electoral system, and on the other hand, those who opt for the redistribution.

For the moment, there are some proposals made in the Parliament which suggest increasing the number of seats of all the member states (for example, increasing them from 54 to 60 in Spain).

Regarding the presidency of the European Commission, he mentioned that Spain clamis that the best choice is a government formed in accordance with the most voted list.

Furthermore, he mentioned the financial perspectives for Europe: the actual budget is set until the year 2020, and the new one will be settled for the following 7 years, that is 2027.

To that, the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU and its respective revenues – estimated at 12 billion-,must be taken into account. Therefore, the Commission pretends to allocate 80% of the budget for the new contributions and the remaining 20% for the budget restrictions.

Another issue which have to be taken into account is how the Common Agricultural Policy of the EU will be administrated, since Spain is one of the main beneficiaries of such funds, and so negotiations will be necessary to meet the best conditions.

The Secretary General also mentioned two aspects of the EU which have to be preserved for the benefit they bring. On the one hand, the Erasmus program and everything related to it: the advantages this program offers are undeniable and that is why there is a consensus about the importance of preserving it. On the other hand, there is the support to the R&D, and all the new challenges in security matters, defense and integration.

He also addressed the dilemma of the Brexit, underlining the perfect work of Michel Barnier and his team, who will keep on fighting for building the best relationship with the United Kingdom.

To conclude, Mr. Planas gave an optimistic vision about the future of the EU, but raised concern about the respect of the law in the member states due to the actual situation occurring in countries such as Poland and Hungary. He reaffirmed that a society without law and respect to the law, constitutions or treaties cannot work from a commercial point of view, neither for the citizens. He also said that it is necessary for the EU to take charge of the social aspects of the European integration. The elements related to the social protection are essential for the cohesion of the society and for its functioning.

Once the public speaking finished, the President of the Chamber and the Spanish ambassador in Luxembourg gave an award to the speaker, as a proof of gratitude.

After the intervention, the participants had the chance to formulate their questions to Mr. Planas. The main topic was the situation around the Brexit and its consequences on the new EU and Spain.

Breakfast-debate with Ana Gallo: European External Investment Plan and its benefit for Spanish Companies

Last 31st January 2018, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg hosted in its headquarters in Brussels a breakfast-debate with Ana Gallo, member of the Cabinet of the European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, about the “European External Investment Plan (EIP) and its benefit for Spanish companies”. Among the participants, there were members of the Chamber, business executives and representatives of Spanish autonomous delegations in Brussels.

Pablo López Álvarez, Vice-president of the Chamber and moderator of the event, started by saying a welcome word and introduced the speaker, highlighting her broad professional career related to the European Union. As member of the Cabinet of Neven Mimica, her main responsibilities are migration, employment, investment, innovative financing, audit and control, and her geographic operational areas are Latin America and the Caribbean.

Afterwards, Ana Gallo introduced the European External Investment Plan, a project designed by the European Commission to encourage investment in their partner countries in Africa and the EU Neighborhood region, to strengthen their partnerships and to contribute in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, helping to address some root causes of migration.

This plan emerged as a political response to the migratory crisis and to the immigration problem. In addition, in 2015 the global awareness led to the activation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Furthermore, Gallo explained the five action sectorial desks of this plan which are: renewable energy and connectivity, sustainable cities, digitalization, micro/SMEs and development of agro-food industry.

Then, she described some of the types of financing for this plan and the different kinds of projects that can be presented to the EIP. These projects must meet the following requirements: they must lead to the achievement of sustainable development goals and they must be realistic, viable and profitable.

She also explained the pillars that support the execution of this plan: it is a project constituted by blending platforms, it ensures until 80% guarantee depending on the country, it has a part of technical support and viability checking, and, in addition, the projects combine grants and loans from financial institutions.

For all those people interested in presenting their projects, Gallo explained how the EIP functions practically, and how the selection process works. If a Spanish company wants to present their projects, first of all they need to go to the One-Stop-Shop so the secretary of the program can decide which entity or development agency would be more convenient. Afterwards, the G-Tag, the committee where the national banks are represented, analyzes the project from a financial point of view, in order to check its viability. Also, the sectorial desks mentioned above, have been created to promote a better distribution of the funds among all the sectors that are meant to be funded.

After Ana Gallo’s speech, the Vice-President of the Chamber opened the debate, marked by a high participation of the attendees. Among the main issues, the most remarkable topics were the renewable energies on the EIP, the running of the project implementation, the countries where it is going to be presented and the functioning of the One-stop-shop.

Luncheon-debate promoted by ONCE and its Foundation with Nadia Calviño, Director General for DG Budget at the European Commission

Last October 10th, ONCE and its Foundation promoted in Brussels a Lucheon- debate with Nadia Calviño, Director General for DG Budget at the European Commission, under the topic “60 years of Union: enterprises and human capital, added value for the future of a more competitive and inclusive Europe”. The event counted on with the support of the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg and gathered more than a hundred business representatives, associations and authorities of the European communities’ institutions.

Juan Rodriguez-Villa Matons, President of the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg said a welcome word and expressed his recognition to ONCE team and its Foundation for the humanitarian and business work developed in favor to people with disabilities.

Alberto Durán López, Executive Vice-president at ONCE Foundation, during his intervention, explained that the Foundation, through his large experience, contributes to strengthen day to day the social dimension of Europe. As an example, the European Social Found, which celebrates its 60th  anniversary, and being trusted by the EU and the Spanish Government for more than 17 years, more than 240.000 people with disabilities have profited the training and labor insertion programs developed by ONCE Foundation, and more than 70.000 have found a job. Durán qualified the European Social Fund as an essential instrument of inclusion and social cohesion, and as a fundamental tool for more than 85 million people with disabilities in Europe. This collective has significantly improved its situation during the past 60 years, in different areas such as education, employment or social services, counting with the work from European Institutions, as well as the representative entities for people with disabilities, specially the European Disability Forum.

However, Durán pointed that there are still many barriers to tear down, in order to build a Europe for everyone, more competitive, inclusive and accessible, in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Following this way, the European Social Fund must play still an important role in the following budget period. The Executive Vicepresident of ONCE Foundation, also highlighted the role of big companies and SME, which contribute every day to include people with disabilities into their employment opportunities, and which also develop accesible products and services. As an example, Alberto Durán mentioned the Forum “Inserta Responsible” from ONCE Foundation, which compiles more than 70 companies and other organizations, and whose activity counts as well on the support from the European Social Fund.

Among other remarkable landmarks, Durán mentioned the European Citizen Award granted by the European Parliament to ONCE and its Foundation in 2016. This award was also received this year by the Spanish Committee of Representatives of People with Disabilities (CERMI), which recognizes the commitment and the willingness of people with disabilities in Spain for working towards a more social and equal Europe.

Finally, Durán presented the advertising campaign as a tribute for the 60th anniversary of the European Social Fund: Together changing the lives of people with disabilities, through the interactive video “You decide”, which at the end of the luncheon-debate was followed by other pieces entitled ”Just so you know”,  which aimed to spread the European Social Fund’s value.

Lastly, Durán introduced Nadia Calviño, Director General for DG Budget at the European Commission, and thanked her participation in the luncheon-debate by giving her a commemorative coupon.

Nadia Calviño, based her intervention in the European budget investment for reaching a stronger, social and solidary Europe, particularly facing the next financial framework “post 2020”. Calviño highlighted that currently, the two main challenges faced by the European Union regarding the future European budgets are: in one hand, the Brexit with the budget restructuration that it involves, and, on the other hand, that Europe needs to fulfill the European citizens’ expectations, with better social policies and ensuring not to leave anyone behind. The most important thing is not how much money we have, instead, is about investing it in the best way possible, claimed Calviño.

Additionally, the Director General, who reminded that the 75% of the EU budget is invested, among others, into the Cohesion Policy, undertook an overview along all the steps made as well as the upcoming ones, concerning the next budgets’ approval, something in which her Directorate is currently working. Thus, the Commission has started an expenditure review, and is developing a reflection and analysis about the different ongoing programs and how do they function. The Commission hopes to be prepared, based in this previous work, to integrate the expectations of the 27 European leaders by the end of the year, to have a consensual proposal by mid-2018 and to approve the whole budget before the elections to the European Parliament in 2019.

As a conclusion, Calviño mentioned this goal by saying the words of the current President Jean Claude Junker, to lead us to “a more prosper, competitive, secure, sustainable and solidary Europe”.

After the interventions, the participants had the chance to ask questions to the Executive Vice-president at ONCE Foundation and to the Director General for DG Budget at the European Commission. The main topics discussed were the investment of the European budget in accessibility improvements for people with disabilities, and the entrepreneurship aids for them.

Luncheon-debate with Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality

The past September 28th, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg, organized in collaboration with the General Board of Abogacía Española, a luncheon-debate with Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. Among the attendees there were several members of the Chamber, business executives, and representatives of Spanish and European companies and institutions.

Juan Rodríguez-Villa Matons, President of the Chamber, said a welcome word, introduced the Commissioner, highlighting her professional career and thanked her for her collaboration with the luncheon-debate.

Afterwards, the Commissioner took the stand and introduced briefly the main challenges her Commission is currently dealing with such as promoting entrepreneurship in Europe, the digital markets, the insolvency, data protection, consumer rights, digital content, gender equality and justice against crime.

Jourová emphasized the importance of creating a digital single market, explaining that currently there are only a few small companies which are selling products online cross borders. In Spain, only a 19% of companies do so. The main barrier to increase online commerce at international level is that there are different legal systems for online and offline worlds.

Afterwards, she showed her concerning about the lack of a regulatory law related to online sales of digital content (except from United Kingdom and The Netherlands) and mentioned that from theCommission they are working on a proposal for all European countries.

About data protection, she expressed the need of investing more money on new measures and tools that allow institutions to know what companies actually do with consumer’s personal data. On the other hand, she stressed the need of making a bigger effort on explaining the EU citizens about their new rights concerning data protection and privacy and how to use those rights.

During her speech, Jourová also talked about individual consumers’ rights, very numerous in the European Union, but about which there exists a very poor public information. In a time frame where big companies are becoming bigger, and small companies are tend to be smaller, from March 2018, the Commission for Justice is working on a plan which will provide individuals and small companies with the right tools to defend their rights related to trade and consumption.

The main topics discussed during the question time were related to gender equality at work environment and cybersecurity.

Finally, Marta Cerro, President of the Council of Bars of Castilla la Mancha, presented the Bar, and highlighted the role of lawyers in the European Union environment and how they contribute directly to citizens defense. She pointed out the need of respecting the citizens and providing them with a high quality service. In addition, she thanked the commissioner for her hard work and commitment with gender equality, and showed her her support in terms of promoting values related with the recognition of women in work environment.

Juan Rodriguez-Villa and Marga Cerro awarded Commissioner Jourová with a symbolic present to thank her for her participation in the luncheon-debate and her hard work in charge of for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality in the European Commission.

The president also wanted to thank Bodegas Yuntero, wine sponsor for this event.

Sponsored by:

 

Breakfast-debate with Félix Fernández-Shaw: Global strategy of the EU. Europe in the world

The past September 14th, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg hosted in its Brussels’ headquarters a breakfast-debate with Félix Fernández-Shaw, Expert Member of the Federica Mogherini’s Cabinet, about “Global strategy of the EU. Europe in the world”. Among the participants, there were members of the Chamber, ambassadors of Latin-American countries, business executives and representatives of Spanish autonomous delegations in Brussels.

María Catalán, Secretary General of the Chamber, and moderator of the event, started by saying a welcome word and introduced the speaker, highlighting his broad professional career related to the European Union. Member of the Spanish Diplomatic Career since 1993, he is currently working as an Expert Member of the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of European Commission Federica Mogherini, in charge of Africa, Sustainable Development, Multiannual Financial Framework and climate change.

Félix Férnandez-Shaw then took the floor and started a small debate to encourage the attendees’ participation. The main goal of this short discussion was to clarify some concepts related to the different organisms of the European Union and its roles.   

Afterwards, Félix explained the mission of Federica Mogherini’s Cabinet as a part of the European Commission and described the decision-making process and its final implementation. He highlighted this Cabinet constitutes the “voice” of the European Union around the world. Its main responsibilities are the management of foreign policy instruments, foreign affairs and foreign defense and security of all country members.

The speaker underlined the importance of the inclusion of all the country members of the European Union as a part of a common Foreign Policy, since every decision is made at global level. He stressed the importance of an internal cohesion among all its members to strengthen the EU’s presence at international level. In order to achieve a correct global management is necessary to use two principles: strength and order.

On the other hand, Félix talked about how our world has changed at global level since 1989. During this period of time, three different revolutions have occurred: democratic, ideological and technological, which have allowed that the world is a better place than two decades ago.

Félix has also showed his concern about the environmental situation of our planet and he has remarked the importance of working towards a sustainable development and the need of a strong alliance among countries. The European Union has a very important role within the global situation, and that is why it is necessary to work towards a more united Europe, which transmits a “unique voice”. 

Finally, he has made a call to raise awareness about this problem and he has encouraged all the attendees to promote the cooperation and development in their own companies. He also suggested them to work in sustainable development goals, and promote help towards the African continent.

After Fernández-Shaw’s intervention, the secretary general of the Chamber opened the debate, which was marked by a high participation of the attendees. Among the main issues, the most remarkable topic was the cooperation to public-private development in the African continent.

Luncheon-Debate with Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

Last June 22nd, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organized, in collaboration with ECOEMBES, a luncheon-debate with Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

Mr. Daniel Calleja, Director-General at DG Environment, also attended the event.

Between the participants, there were several members of the Chamber and representatives of Spanish and European companies and institutions.

Juan Rodríguez-Villa Matons, President of the Chamber, introduced the speaker and thanked for his contribution to the dialogue between the EU Executive and civil society and remarked the common interest on achieving the main goal of Circular Economy.

Under the title “CIRCULAR ECONOMY: THE ROLE OF BUSINESS IN DEVELOPING GREEN ECONOMY”, Commissioner Vella underlined the importance of applying the principle “nothing is lost, everything is transformed”, premise that concerns circular economy and the need to implement it globally.

The speaker referred to the legislative package on Circular Economy presented by the Commission a year and a half ago, which he described as ambitious and responsible, emphasizing on the global approach and more practical measures which benefit environment and increase sustainability.

 

On the other hand, the Commissioner underlined the great potential identified in Spain by the biannual “Environment Implementation Review” report, which presented several examples of Spanish pioneer companies in innovation. According to Mr. Vella, innovation is the key to a Green Economy, which needs investment and, in most of the cases, it is afforded by the private sector, either big firms or SMEs.

To conclude, he expressed the European Commission’s will to establish an easily compliable regulation for the private sector, highlighting the importance of continuous collaboration between all actors.

The wide experience of Commissioner Vella, in high responsibility positions in the private sector, shows the realistic criteria which aims to avoid the obstacles in the application of the legal requirements that are projected.

The speaker recognized the excellence of General Director of Environment, Daniel Calleja, and congratulated the human team he leads.

The event was sponsored by ECOEMBES. Its CEO, Óscar Martín, thanked the Commissioner and all the participants for their presence, assuring the position of ECOEMBES in favor of the legislative package. Martín remarked the importance of EPR –Extended Producer Responsability- as a very important step towards a Circular Economy, which has also had a large social impact.

Moreover, he weighed on the need to promote eco-design and innovation, not only to protect the environment, but also to raise its awareness.

To conclude, a round of questions was posed and answered, a time during which participants had the opportunity to interact with the Commissioner.

Mr. Juan Rodríguez-Villa joined Óscar Martín to give Commissioner Vella a symbolic present to thank him for his participation in the luncheon-debate and his work related to the circular economy.

The President also made a special mention to the firm La Buena Vida, for contributing with excellent wines to the luncheon.

You can check the full speech of the Commissioner here.

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Luncheon-debate with Pablo García-Berdoy, Ambassador Permanent Representative of Spain to the European Union

The Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg hosted last June 13th a luncheon-debate with Pablo García-Berdoy, Ambassador Permanent Representative of Spain to the European Union, on “European Agenda”. At the event, we had the presence of Ms. Cecilia Yuste, Ambassador of Spain in Belgium, and there were chamber members of the Chamber, business executives, members of the Spanish and international diplomatic bodies, as well as representatives of European institutions.

Juan Rodríguez-Villa Matons, president of the Chamber, thanked the Ambassador for its presence, highlighting his diplomatic career in representations like Bonn and Manila, Cabinet Chief of the Secretary of State of External Policy and for the European Union, Cabinet Chief of the President of the Congress of Deputies and Ambassador of Span in Rumania and Germany, between others. Plus, he underlined the importance of the Official Spanish Chambers of Commerce in different countries as a tool to contribute in economic diplomacy.

Afterwards, Íñigo de Palacio, Global Director of Institutional Relations of Indra, made a consideration -from the big company’s perspective– about the current European framework. De Palacio underlined that we are in a decisive moment, in which trust in European institutions and its integration project are a key for society and for companies, despite the uncertainty and the economic recession.

On the other hand, the representative of Indra proposed two important challenges for Europe: security and migrations, for which international cooperation and humanitarian aid are essential. Furthermore, he underlined the importance of globalization and the process of digitalization in the current political framework. At last, he pointed out the need to provide shared security services, through connectivity of European economies, technological innovation and mobility.

Pablo García-Berdoy, Ambassador Permanent Representative of Spain to the European Union, after thanking all the participants for their presence, he started his intervention considering globalization as one of the main current challenges, mainly in the technological sector, but also in terrorism and migrations.  To face it, he explained different EU policies regarding interoperability and borders’ improvement.

 

As a second challenge, Berdoy mentioned about how to face competitiveness and to maintain our social model, underlining the importance of integration measures and the White Paper of the European Commission, in which different scenarios for the future of Europe were presented.

In a third stage, he focused on the Brexit subject, assuring all member-states should get prepared, especially in the company sector, besides negotiating financial perspectives in an economical context which reduces our spending capacity. At last, he wanted to highlight the requirement of consideration by the European Union in the security field, given Russian policy and the new North American administration.

Pablo García-Berdoy finished his speech with conciliating words, remarking the importance of national and European politicians to work together and share projects.

To finish up, there was a question and answers turn, in which the participants could ask their questions to the ambassador, mainly about the post-Brexit political scenario and EU exportation policy.

Juan Rodríguez-Villa gave an award to the Ambassador as a thank you for his participation in the luncheon-debate and his work as a head of the Permanent Representation of Spain to the EU.

The president also wanted to make a special mention to Bodegas La Emperatriz, sponsors of the event’s wine.

Event sponsored by:

 

12/05 Luncheon-Debate with Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety

Brussels, May 12 2017

On May 12th, the Official Chamber of Commerce of Spain in Belgium and Luxembourg organized a luncheon-debate with Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety at NH Hotel Collection Grand Sablon in Brussels. At the event there were chamber members, business executives, members of the Spanish and international diplomatic bodies, as well as representatives of European institutions.

First of all, Juan Rodríguez-Villa Matons, President of the Chamber, made a brief introduction of the speaker thanking him and all the attendees for his presence. He stressed his long career as a doctor, his role as a signatory of the declaration of independence of Lithuania and his co-authorship of the Lithuanian Constitution, as well as his long experience at the institutions of his country. In addition, Rodríguez-Villa emphasized, on behalf of the Spanish Business community, the biotechnology and pharma industry and ultimately of the Spanish civil society, the great advantages that Barcelona would contribute as new headquarters of the European Medicines Agency.

 

Then Andriukaitis began his speech by saying that Europe has a good system of health and food safety, but it is necessary to keep working to improve several aspects. There is a need to involve more the governments and its decision-makers in the long term. He also emphasized the importance of communication; it is the key factor to keep the public informed. He also stressed the care that must be taken with the information disseminated through social networks.

 

Then, the Commissioner mentioned the major challenges facing the sector.

On one hand, tons of food that Europe throws away, an action that he described as wasteful, unethical and unsustainable. To reduce this waste, the Commission will undertake a series of initiatives to achieve the goal of sustainable development. They are also preparing the launch of a plan of action to stop the increasing antimicrobial resistance and a new Plant Health Law with the aim of avoiding the introduction of diseases and to protect us from the entry of non-native parasites. The Commissioner pointed out two examples of such diseases: the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa, which affects a large part of the Italian olive trees and sadly has now been found in the Balearic Islands, and the diseases in citrus fruits.

He also made special mention of the importance of public health. It is necessary to pay attention to the medical primary assistance because it will be reflected in an improvement of the health system and in the economy. This year, the Commission, will launch a joint action for the prevention of chronic diseases that will create guidelines and promote cooperation between the Member States.

 

 

Andriukaitis also addressed the problem of obesity. European countries have agreed targets to lower the consumption of sugars and salt.

The Commissioner concluded his speech by explaining the role of the European Union in relation to the management of health crises and pointing to Spain as one of the strongest competitors to achieve the new headquarters of the European Medicines Agency due to the importance of the Spanish language and the technological progress of our country.

Finally, there was a round of questions & responses where participants were able to pose their questions to the Commissioner.

The event ended with a gift to Vytenus Andriukaitis from the Chamber in recognition to his work as European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety.

From the Chamber we want to thank the collaboration to Bodegas Cornelio Dinastía for sponsoring the wine of the event.

 

Breakfast-debate with José Blanco and Alejandro Ulzurrun: Renewable Energy and Electric Market

The past April 25th, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg hosted in its Brussels’ headquarters a breakfast-debate with  José Blanco López, MEP and member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and Alejandro Ulzurrun de Asanza y Muñoz, Head of Unit at DG Energy, about the “New legislative package of the European Commission on Renewable Energy and the design of Electric Market”. Between the participants, there were members of the Chamber, business executives and representatives of European institutions.

Pablo López Álvarez, Vice President of the Chamber, started by introducing the speakers and thanking their participation and all the attendees’. Before starting with the speeches, he made a brief introduction about the relevance of the current energy sector and its regulation in the European Union agenda.

   

Afterwards, Joaquín Mollinedo, Chief Institutional Relations, Sustainability and Brand Officer of Acciona, took part and pointed out Spain as a reference in the renewable sector, as well as the interest of Acciona in taking part on this sector from an industrial perspective and along with the EU commitment. Therefore, he wanted to underline his conviction on the new legislative package to promote a cleaner Europe, the energy sector and innovation.

Furthermore, Alejandro Ulzurrun, Head of Unit at DG Energy, made a summary of the Commission’s proposal, which he defined as “the chance to upgrade the European economy”. In his speech, he underlined the year 2015 for the energy sector, in which there was a record on global investments and around 8 million jobs were created.

Between the main elements of the project, Ulzurrun established four priorities: renewable energy, energy efficiency, electric market and governance. This project, defined by Ulzurrun as balanced and ambitious, covers almost all legislation they want to approve in order to achieve the EU goals.

Finally, Ulzurrun reminded the common interest between the Commission and the Parliament, giving as example their joint declaration of legislative priorities they agreed to pursue a significant progress through the year 2017, in which the new energy legislative package is included”.

José Blanco, MEP and member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, started his speech thanking the the European Commission’s cooperation in the energy sector and explaining the two main goals of the Parliament in this field: recovering the leadership of the EU in clean energy and pursuing the goals set in the Paris Summit for 2020, like decarbonisation.

On the other side, Blanco highlighted the importance of legal safety in the EU, which he considers “essential to assure investements, which are so necessary”. In addition, he pointed out that, from the Parliament, they have the responsibility to learn from their own experience and to look for a regulation framework in the energy field that allows the economic modernisation and to build qualified jobs.

Finally, he insisted in the will of the Parliament to listen to different proposals in order to find a balance that enables the approval of the new package draft, in order to be able to present it to the plenary by the end of the year.

Once the speeches were given, our Vice President Pablo López began the debate, which had a high level of participation with different points of view from representatives of the main companies of the energy sector, consultants and members of the European institutions.

The main topics of the debate were about legal safety, the efectiveness of the legislative proposals in the energy field, the sources of financing for renewable energy and the different positions about the binding nature of the proposals and their legal framework.

 

Event sponsored by: