West Midlands Chambers of Commerce to visit Brussels
During the visit, delegates visited the European Parliament and the West Midlands European Centre and were hosted and made welcome by MEP Malcolm Harbour and Martyn Pellew – President of the British Chamber of Commerce.
The highlight of the visit was breakfast with BBC European Correspondent Gavin Hewitt. He gave a most informative and personal view on current EU issues. Gavin gave a frank view of the current Eurozone crisis, highlighting parallels to the 1930’s. He shared his opinion that huge responsibility will be placed on Germany, and the EZ needs 2½% growth to sustain the current welfare spend. Great Britain needs to focus less on the banking & finance sectors and more on manufacturing and liberating entrepreneurship. Austerity is absolutely not working, therefore the only way out of recession is by growth.
The action-packed agenda also included talks from the UK Ambassador to Belgium, three MEPs and representatives from the European Commission, Office of the UK Permanent Representative, British Embassy & Bruegel.
In summary, during the visit:
- Referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU
- Single market
- Enforcement & infringement procedure of EU regulations
- Speed of adoption and decision making process between the EU Parliament & its Councils
- Risk taking
- How best to lobby MEPs
- Trading with Turkey & the Balkans
- Multi-national consortia
- Exporting to Belgium
- Horizon 2020 framework programme for research and innovation 2014
- Programme for the Competitiveness of enterprises and SMEs (COSME) 2014-2020
- Growth for ‘High Web SMEs’
- IT literacy as a business enabling skill
- Networking with other like-minded companies
- Sharing good practice with other Chambers of Commerce
Steve & Andrea have a better view of the UK in the EU, and the benefits that a single market brings. Their business plan will be updated as there are genuine opportunities to trade via Brussels to other EU and non-EU nations. Brussels is the gateway to Europe, so look out for them in Belgium again soon!
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