The weekly alternation of the editions of our two “newsletters”, intended for members in each of the states that make up the territorial area of the Chamber, has meant that, by chance, my congratulations for the New Year, dedicated to those of you in Belgium, are sent in second place.
I would like these lines to help turn the page on the dreadful year of the pandemic, in which we are still immersed, and to be a harbinger of a return to normality or, rather, the beginning of a new normality. A different kind of normality.
The end of the tunnel can be sensed thanks to the vaccination measures. But it is still not a reality. We cannot let down our guard.
I flee from pessimism, but I cannot escape the feeling of uncertainty. We will keep working with special dedication to win over the battle against the pandemic.
The consequences are devastating, both in society and in the economy worldwide. And we are endeavouring, with great concern, to guess at the future of society and the economy of Spain. And we want to do our best to help rebuild both.
In the current circumstances, there is no room for complacency, and I admit that I feel a sense of satisfaction: the 2020 financial year in our Chamber, which is as difficult as it is strange, has allowed us to collectively bargain with the “coronavirus”. My thanks go to the authors of this win.
First of all, I would like to highlight the intense collaboration with the Spanish Embassy, promoted by our Ambassador, Beatriz Larrotcha Palma, our Honorary President, promoter of numerous activities and close observer of the progress of the Chamber, who, with the support of a competent, generous and cordial diplomatic team, has made it possible to hold various events in collaboration with its Cultural and Scientific Council, under the leadership of its head, Sergi Farré i Salvà.
On a functional level, the Chamber has the reference of the Economic and Commercial Councillor, María Palanca Reh. With her presence on the Board of Directors, in her capacity as Honorary Vice-president, she has exercised the guardianship of the Chamber assuming an active and beneficial role, facilitating the necessary public-private understanding.
My recognition goes to our Secretary General, Marta González Benguria, who was ratified in her position in September. Marta surprises me with her initiatives, her capacity to work and her enthusiasm. She oversees a team that shows similar conditions.
Our Board of Directors is the pillar on which our organisation is based. Its solidity is notorious and the unity of criteria in the achievement of objectives assures the exit from the storm without deterioration. I would like to thank every one of my colleagues and partners. And especially, my feeling of solidarity, which is that of the whole Board, goes to our colleague Rafael Chamorro Marín, member of the Board of Directors in an institutional capacity, as Director for Belgium and Luxembourg of the Spanish Tourist Office, which is suffering particularly from the consequences of the crisis.
The Working Committees, which emanate from the Board of Directors, have been the main protagonists in 2020:
The Forums Committee has worked hard to organise nineteen events with an excellent response, which is measurable by the interest shown by the many participants. Our Vice-President, Pablo López Álvarez, who chairs this Committee, has skilfully moderated numerous debates.
The brand new Spanish Financial Forum has succeeded in placing itself at the forefront of discussion forums in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. It is already an excellent tool at the service of the Spanish financial sector, in such an important position. Thanks to José Luis Rodríguez, our Vice-President and head of the forum in Luxembourg, and also thanks to María Catalán, our delegate in Luxembourg, who has worked so hard and so well and continues to do so for its success.
Our most recent Working Commission, “Competencia España”, chaired by Miguel Troncoso, is made up of a distinguished group of prestigious specialists in competition law, who find in this commission an effective vehicle for dialogue with the competition authorities. Miguel’s work is excellent and his collaboration with the Forums Commission is noteworthy.
I was saying that the Board of Directors is the pillar on which the organisation of the Chamber is based, right. But the pillar on which the institution of which we are all members is based is, precisely, its social mass, the set of members.
In order to increase our strength, we must continue to grow. In times of crisis we are part of the help to overcome it. And we are in solidarity. The testimony of that solidarity has been our direct support to some of the members, belonging to the sectors most affected by the crisis.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to each and every one of you. Thank you for your understanding.
And now I invite you, virtually, or not, to raise a glass of Spanish cava to toast together, for our families, our companies and for us.
I ask for blessings to make my best wishes come true, to all the members of this other family: the Chamber family.
Juan Rodríguez-Villa Matons,
President of the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg