On 20 June, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg held its Ordinary General Assembly at the Cervantes Institute in Brussels. The day resumed the attendance lost during the last assemblies due to Covid-19 and gathered a large number of members and different personalities among which the Ambassador of Spain in Belgium, H.E. Ms. Beatriz Larrotcha Palma, stood out.
The event was opened by the President Pablo López-Álvarez who wanted to thank all the members present and, in particular, the Honorary President, the already appointed Ambassador of Spain in Belgium, for their attendance. López-Álvarez also wanted to show once again his gratitude to everyone for the trust they placed in him more than a year ago when they appointed him President of the Chamber.
Following the Agenda, the Secretary General of the Chamber, Marta González Benguria reviewed the main activities and events organised by the Chamber in the past financial year 2021. She highlighted the positive trend that the organisation has been following in recent years in relation to the increase in the number of members and, consequently, in the number of dues. He also highlighted the increasingly relevant presence of the Chamber as a platform for debate and dialogue with EU institutions, as well as the diversification of its activities and participation in various European projects.
In the absence of the Treasurer and having previously sent the necessary documentation to the members, the Secretary General made a brief review of the accounting situation of the Chamber, having obtained a profit of almost 60,000 euros in the financial year 2021 and a total asset of 1,281,476 euros. Both the Secretary General and the Vice-president, Abelardo García, affirmed the good financial health of the entity and highlighted the high diversification of the income derived from its different commercial activities. This diversification was exposed as a great value that ensures the economic viability of the entity, making it less dependent on the difficulties that may arise from situations such as Covid.
The annual accounts and the disclaimer of the Board of Directors were approved by the assembly, and the next item on the agenda was the revision of membership fees and the reform of the Articles of Association.
After explaining that the Chamber’s membership fees have been frozen since 2016, the President pointed out that the accumulated inflation of this period has amounted to 13%, so that after deliberation the Board of Directors, as the governing body, proposed a 20% increase in membership fees for all members, exempting members in the “entrepreneurs” category.
The increase in fees, which was unanimously approved, will come into effect on 1 July for both renewals and new registrations. Automatic indexation for subsequent years was also ruled out, so that future assessments will be based on the economic situation and the state of inflation.
Regarding the reform of the statutes, the members were informed that a draft of the statutes had been consolidated and that work is underway on an explanatory report on the statutes. Once these two documents have been completed, the Economic and Commercial Department will be responsible for submitting them to the State Attorney General’s Office, which will be responsible for their revision, after which the statutes will again be submitted to the Board of Directors and subsequently presented to the members at the Extraordinary General Assembly for final approval.
The Secretary General announced the names of the members who will complete their term of office, as well as the candidatures received, which, in accordance with the provisions of the statutes, are standing for re-election.
This year, due to the limited number of nominations (6 nominations for 6 seats), all candidates were elected to serve as members of the Chamber’s Board of Directors for the next 3 years by popular acclamation.
The new members of the Board of Directors, as well as those revalidating their posts, are:
– Joseba Arriortua, Individual Member (Member)
– Eva Chamizo, Iberdrola (Member)
– Susana Garayoa, Zabala Innovation (Member)
– Andrea Oriol, LaLiga (Member)
– Angel Rebollo, Arpa EU Affairs & Communications (Member)
– Miguel Troncoso, Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Member)
Departure from the Board of Directors:
– Juan Rodriguez-Villa Matons, Aspro Parks Group (Past President and Member)
– Manuel Mostaza, Atrevia (Member)
The President took the opportunity to thank the members who are leaving the Board of Directors for their intense work and dedication during these years, highlighting the important value and legacy that Past President Juan Rodriguez-Villa Matons leaves in the Chamber and his always unbeatable disposition for advice and accompaniment.
Ms. Beatriz Larrotcha Palma, Ambassador of Spain in Belgium, took the floor and expressed her gratitude to all the Spanish companies for representing a solid and fundamental business fabric for the Spanish economy. She highlighted the good work of the Chamber and its position as the most active of the national chambers, as well as its recognised prestige as a centre for debate and dialogue with the European institutions. He urged the highest representatives of the organisation to continue in the current line of work and stressed the importance of finalising the new statutes that guarantee a solid legal framework with regard to the administrations and members.
At the end of the Assembly, the President thanked the Spanish Ambassador, who will soon be leaving her diplomatic mission in Belgium. Rafael Chamorro Martín, the representative of the Spanish Tourist Office, was also bid farewell, highlighting the good relations that had been enjoyed during the years of his mandate.
Finally, the President of the Chamber thanked the Secretary General and her team for the work they have been doing. He highlighted the work of the interns who have been part of the team during these months, wishing them good luck in their professional future and highlighting their good work, training and knowledge acquired in the entity.