Brexit means breakfast in Belgium

Debate at British Chamber in Belgium on what Spain would like from Brexit, 15 June 2017From the British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium

Belgians like their breakfast – and breakfast meetings are a staple of the programme in our Brussels HQ. Many of these breakfast meetings are on the subject of Brexit, inevitably. We’re using our network in Brussels to make sure the voice of European business gets heard – especially in partnership with COBCOE.

Our Brussels location means that Britain’s relationship with the EU is a central part of our work – especially since Belgium is one of the countries likely to be most impacted by Brexit. Brussels is also home to the EU representations of many national business bodies, and we want to make sure the EU hears the concerns of European business about Brexit.

The chamber is supporting the COBCOE Brexit Ambition project by holding a series of industry and issue-specific round tables, participating in the COBCOE task-force and collaborating on the Brussels launch of the Brexit Ambition report this September.

January saw us kick off the Brexit programme in a joint event with the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Leading think tank Bruegel set the scene with a reflection on the importance of German-British business in Europe and the need for a new framework for European relations beyond the EU or ‘core’ Eurozone members (a so-called Continental Partnership).

We were joined by Volker Trier, Berlin-based Deputy CEO of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DiHK), to highlight what German industry would like to see from the future relationship, as well as major German and British businesses like Siemens and BT.

This approach has since driven their programme, creating opportunities for their members to share their concerns with colleagues from other member states – and get their voice heard by ministers, ambassadors and EU actors. Following events with Belgian Minister Sophie Wilmes and Dutch Ambassador the EU Robert de Groot, June has seen joint events with Spanish and French colleagues.

On 15 June, a debate was held with Cámara, the official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium, and Spanish think-tank Elcano, along with representatives from BBVA and Diageo to discuss what Spain would like to see from Brexit. And the series continues with French partners (MEDEF, AFLP and the French chamber) on 28 June.

See the statement on Brexit here

 

Pictured above (left to right): Thomas Spiller, President of the British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium; Ignasi Guardans, Partner, K&L Gates, Member of the Board of Directors of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg; Ignacio Molina, Senior Analyst, Elcano Royal Institute; Javier Arias, Head of European Affiars, BBVA; Dick Van Ham, Corporate Relations Director for Benelux, Diageo

 

 

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