The Chamber wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2022

The Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2022.

We would like to inform you that the Chamber will be closed from Friday December 24th until Monday January 3rd. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Meeting of the Forums Committee

On  December 20th, the last meeting of the year of the Fora Commission was organised telematically, working group whose task is to propose, organise and monitor the events organised by the Chamber.

During the meeting, Carlos Rodríguez Cocina of Telefónica was elected as the new chairman of the Committee. Likewise, an assessment was made of the last events organised by the “business circle” tribune as well as the training on “Strategies for public consultancy and dialogue with European institutions” which took place in mid-November.

Finally, the priorities and upcoming activities for the next months were defined.

About the Chamber’s Commissions

The Commissions are composed of some of the members as well as the person in charge of the area in question in the Chamber.

These working groups have numerous functions: in-depth studies of proposals, issues, projects, and activities. Through them, the members influence the day-to-day running of the Chamber in order to better adapt the Chamber’s activities to the needs of the members.

At any time, a member can ask the chairman of a Committee to join it or ask the Secretary General to set up a new group.

Meeting of the Board of Directors

On December 1st, the Board of Directors of the Chamber held a hybrid meeting.

During the meeting, the different European programmes in which the Chamber participates were reviewed and the secretary general made a balance of the activities carried out by the Chamber throughout the year.

In addition, the actions carried out in the Luxembourg Delegation were presented, as well as the activities developed in the Grand Duchy in the framework of the Spanish Financial Forum. Details of forthcoming events planned by the Forum Commission were explained too.

Finally, the Board of Directors approved the budget for the year 2022.

 

The Chamber participates in FEDECOM’s Annual Award Ceremony for Cellnex in London

On the 23rd November, the Federation of Official Chambers of Commerce of Spain in Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania (FEDECOM) presented in London its Annual Award Ceremony, granted this year to the company Cellenex Telecom.

With this recognition, FEDECOM, of which the oficial Chamber of Commerce of Spain in Belgium and Luxembourg is part, distinguishes every year a Spanish company that stands out for its commercial activity and international profile in one of the member countries of the Federation.

Dr Mike Short CBE, Chief Scientific Advisor of the UK Government’s Department of International Trade, took part in this award ceremony for Cellnex.

Upon receiving the award, Cellnex’s CEO Tobias Martinez stated the following: “We are very honored to receive the FEDECOM Award in recognition of Cellnex’s growth since its IPO in 2015. Cellnex has grown substantially in the last years, from operating in Spain to being active in twelve countries in Europe. One of the keys to this growth has been the successful integration of acquisitions in different countries. In each country, we have always felt supported by the relevant Business Chambers, which have been key to helping us make important contact with the economic, business and cultural communities of each country and integrate into it.”

The president of FEDECOM and the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in the United Kingdom, Eduardo Barrachina, also welcomed the guests to the reception and mentioned that “thanks to a strategic and sustainable approach, Cellnex leads the digital transformation in Europe.”

Barrachina also stressed that Cellnex is not just about telecommunications, G5, broadband and cellular sites, but has a very human side. “It is a company strongly committed to human rights, both in the Cellnex group and among its stakeholders. Only hard work, common sense, the right talent, ethical management, social values, cultural awareness and employee diversity can explain why a company like this reaches these staggering levels of market penetration in many European countries.”

The president, Pablo López-Álvarez, past-president, Juan Rodríguez-Villa and the Secretary General, Marta González, were the representatives of the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg in this event.

Celebration of the FEDECOM General Assembly

The following day, the FEDECOM’s General Assembly took place. There, its president made a balance of the year, discussed about the statement of accounts of the organization and made an update on the digitization aid destined to the Chambers abroad.

During the course of this meeting, a tribute was also paid to Juan Rodríguez Villa, to honor his work as head of FEDECOM for more than 6 years.

FCC Construcción chosen as “Company of the Year 2021”

The Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg recognises, in the 7th edition of its Company of the Year Award, the great track record of FCC Construcción and its relevance in the international and especially in the European market.

With this award, the Chamber rewards the international presence of a company with more than 120 years of history, with activities in more than 25 countries around the world and whose strategic lines are based on innovation, technology and sustainability. Pablo López Álvarez, President of the Chamber, underlines that “the Haren mega-prison work is an ambitious Spanish engineering project in Belgium in which green technological innovation and the social dimension are cornerstones. This combination has meant that the jury has had no doubts in choosing FCC as the Company of the Year Award”.

In October 2018, FCC won the contract for the design, construction, financing, operation, maintenance and concession, for 25 years, of the new Haren prison complex, located near Zaventem Airport (Belgium). This construction, that has been classified by the Belgian government as the largest infrastructure under construction in the country, will be completed in the second half of 2022 and will involve an investment of more than 382 million euros.

This new penitentiary infrastructure will replace the prisons of Saint-Gilles, Forest and Berkendael. It will cover an area of 116,000 square metres and will be able to accommodate up to 1,190 inmates.

Haren is FCC’s first concession project in Belgium and joins many other national and international projects developed by the company, including urban transport infrastructures (roads, metro, high-speed, railway lines…) and non-residential building projects (hospitals, sports, cultural, social and health infrastructures, etc.). For Pablo Ovejas, FCC Construcción’s Country Manager for Belgium and the Nordic countries, “this award is an incentive to continue developing our activity in Belgium, thus being able to continue contributing to the growth of the country’s economy, contributing to the local value chain with our social values and environmental protection, and ultimately improving the quality of life of its citizens”.

You can read the full press release here.

The Chamber of Commerce and the Agencia EFE in Brussels decide to collaborate to promote the “Marca España”

The Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg and the delegation of the Agencia EFE in Brussels have signed a collaboration agreement with the aim of giving a higher visibility to the Spanish companies operating in Belgium and Luxembourg and to the Spanish professionals working in the European institutions and in the EU environment.

The agreement establishes a general framework of collaboration between both institutions, taking advantage of the wide range of services of commercial promotion, information, advice, logistic and administrative support offered by the Chamber and the wide information coverage of the Agencia EFE, a world leader in information in Spanish.

After signing the agreement, Pablo López-Álvarez, President of the Chamber, and Catalina Guerrero, Director of the Brussels delegation of the Agencia EFE, defined the priority actions.

“With this collaboration, we seek to benefit not only our partner companies but also to promote Spanish interests as a whole, both in the Belgian and Luxembourg markets and in Brussels. as the capital of the EU. This is something that both institutions have been doing separately for decades and so this collaboration was a logical decision”.

For her part, Catalina Guerrero stated that “this collaboration will undoubtedly open up privileged channels of communication between Efe and the Spanish companies located in Belgium and Luxembourg, and will help to give greater depth to our coverage of economic information and to nourish our specialised services even more. In this way, Efe, the first Spanish media to open an office in Brussels, maintains intact its European commitment and its public service vocation, with the largest deployment in the European capital and with a team that has just been reinforced”.

Meeting of the Forums Committee

On September 20th, the second meeting of the year of the Forums Committee, a working group whose task is to propose, organise and monitor the events organised by the Chamber, was organised telematically.

During the meeting, which was chaired by Pablo López Álvarez (FTI Consulting), a balance of the last events organised by the “business circle” platform was made, as well as new initiatives to be developed in the coming months were proposed, both at local level and with the institutions of the European Union. They also discussed the call for the Company of the Year Award 2021, which is currently open, and the upcoming training on “Public Affairs Strategies and dialogue with European institutions”.

About the Chamber’s Committees

The Committees are made up by some of the members, as well as by the person in charge of the area in question in the Chamber.

These working groups have numerous functions: in-depth studies of proposals, problems, projects, and activities. Through them, the members influence the day-to-day life of the Chamber in order to better adapt the Chamber’s activities to the needs of the members.

At any time, a member can ask the President of a Committee to join it or request the Secretary General to create a new group.

Luxembourg’s Management Committee Meeting

On September 7th, the Luxembourg´s Management Committee met virtually.

The Vice President of the Chamber, Joseba Arriortua, started the meeting by informing the rest of the members of the Committee about the changes in the Board of Directors of the Chamber after the last AGO held in June in Brussels. Then, he welcomed Antonio Corpas, CEO of OneLife, who had the opportunity to introduce himself to the other members of the Committee.

Afterwards, the balance of new members for the Luxembourg Delegation was presented and information was given on the activities to be developed in the upcoming months and future projects.

Among the projects of the Luxembourg Delegation, the activity of the Spanish Financial Forum (SFF) was highlighted. The members of the Management Committee had the opportunity to comment on and discuss upcoming initiatives proposed by this Working Committee.

Meeting of the Board of Directors

On September 13th, the Board of Directors of the Chamber held a telematic meeting.

During the meeting, chaired by the President Pablo López-Álvarez, it was discussed the content of the next multiannual strategic plan to be developed by the Chamber. In addition, the different European programmes managed by the institution and the working committees of the Spanish Financial Forum and Competencia España were reviewed.

Finally, the upcoming scheduled events were detailed and the rules for the call of the VII Edition of the Company of the Year Award 2021 were approved.

General Assembly Meeting 2021

Last Thursday, June 24th, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg held its Ordinary General Assembly. Due to the current sanitary restrictions caused by the COVID-19, the Assembly was held for the first time in a hybrid format.+

After the agenda was read out, the President of the Chamber, Juan Rodríguez-Villa Matons, took the floor. He first thanked the members present for their attendance and then announced his decision to resign as President. After an emotional speech, recalling the milestones of his work at the Chamber for 16 years, the President thanked all the people who took part in the resounding success of the institution. He highlighted the work of the Vice-President Pablo López, since his appointment in 2010, whom he acknowledged to have served as President “de facto”, during the long period of crisis in which we are still in. He also celebrated the positioning the Chamber as a point of reference for Spanish companies abroad, especially in terms of European agenda and visibility before the European institutions. Until the election of a new President by the Board of Directors, Vice-Chairman Pablo López Alvarez will act as Acting President.

Then, the Secretary General, Marta González Benguria, reviewed the main activities and events organised by the Chamber in the past year 2020. The Secretary General highlighted the positive trend in the increase in the number of members in the last year, with a growth of more than 8% compared to the previous year. This trend is positive not only in quantitative terms, as the Chamber has 6 new sponsoring members, from 34 to 40, an increase of almost 18%.

She also underlined the organisation of online events as one of the tools to continue with the traditional activities of the Chamber in a context of pandemic. Thus, the Chamber organised 53 events throughout 2020, mainly online, in close cooperation with its members. Of particular note were the online events developed in the framework of the “Business Circle” Platform which was able to attract important figures from the European institutions. The novelty of this 2020 were the working committees: the launch of “Competencia España”, focused on competition law and policy, and the “Spanish Financial Forum”, whose objective is to share experiences and generate business opportunities for Spanish companies in the financial sector.

Then, the Secretary General highlighted the role of the Chamber in the management of several European projects, two of which, for the first time, the Chamber has a coordinator role. In addition, the commercial area also remained active despite the paralysing effects of the pandemic on the economy, with 255 commercial consultations, and 9 direct trade missions.

Finally, she detailed the main items corresponding to the Balance Sheet for the financial year 2020, which was subsequently approved by all those present and represented. For the first time, the balance sheet exceeded one million euros and the profit was 125,177 euros.

The President then proposed the candidate members for presentation to the General Assembly and the General Assembly elected, for the first time with a telematic voting system, the following 8 members as vocals, representing their respective companies for a period of 3 years:

– Antonio Corpas (OneLife)
– Bert Dehandschutter (Racine; Degor)
– Sergio De Miguel-Jessel (Partner in his personal capacity)
– Abelardo García González (BBVA)
– José Gracia Barba (Meteora)
– Sophie Leconte (everis)
– Asier Marquina Sánchez (ArcelorMittal)
– Manuel Menéndez Barrero (Santander Consumer Bank)

After the vote, Vice-President Pablo López Álvarez intervened as Acting President to pay tribute to the outgoing President, Juan Rodríguez-Villa, whom he described as “the best President the Chamber could have had”. After acknowledging his admirable career and the important legacy he leaves behind, he proposed his appointment as “Past President”, for the remaining year of his mandate as Board Member. This appointment was unanimously approved by the members present at the General Assembly, who gave the President a heartfelt round of applause. The Vice President undertook to convene a Board of Directors meeting shortly to elect a new President and announced his candidacy.

 

María Palanca Reh, Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Spanish Embassy in Belgium and Luxembourg, then took the floor to recognise the excellent performance of the Chamber, especially in a pandemic situation. She thanked the Secretary General, her team and all the members involved in the Chamber’s activities. After reiterating the official nature of the Chamber from the Spanish public administration, she concluded by thanking the outgoing President for his dedication. Finally, tribute was paid to the former Secretary Generals, María Catalán and Miguel Ángel Arrimadas, who spoke briefly to convey their thanks to the Chamber and to the outgoing President. Additionally, the President of the Chamber thanked all the young trainees for their vitality and commitment to the Chamber.

 

On July 2nd, a telematic meeting of the Board of Directors will be held to vote and appoint the next President of the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg.