President’s Quarterly Address – Q4

04 October 2021

Brussels, 4th October 2021 – The Brish Chamber of Commerce | EU & Belgium 

Dear Member,

I hope you had a relaxing and enjoyable summer holiday. Colleagues from both sides of the channel are hopefully returning to a more open and energised autumn compared to the previous year. I am personally looking forward to, slowly but surely, attending meetings and events face-to-face again and connecting with co-workers off-screen.

We are coming back to an action-packed autumn. Three weeks ago, von der Leyen laid out her priorities for the coming year in her State of the Union Address. Ramping up global vaccination, increased action towards accelerating the green and digital transition, and stepping up security and defence measures are the primary targets on the EU agenda. COP26 is only a few weeks away, where global leaders will gather in Glasgow to set a plan for unified climate action aimed at reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Conventions on Climate Change. BritCham encourages broad and effective discussion before the conference takes off on the 31 st of October, through its pre-COP26 series in partnership with Bayer, launching on the 7th of October.

The BritCham office is excited to welcome Sue Arundale, our newly appointed CEO, to the office on the 18th of October. Her experience working for more than 15 years in EU membership associations in Brussels, will greatly support the development of our new strategy, aimed at strengthening our relations with our EU and Belgian partners and supporting a new, yet strong, relationship with the UK. We are very much looking forward to having Sue join our enthusiastic and dynamic colleagues and invite you all to swing by our office for a coffee to say hi to Sue and the Britcham team.

On the bilateral side of the Chamber, we are stepping up our Belgian advocacy programme and begin with the relaunch of our Ambassador Hosts programme. In partnership with His Excellency Ambassador Marn Shearman, we will seek to host a range of leading Belgian politicians in the months ahead. A first invitation is on its way to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sophie Wilmes. If you would like to know more about this programme or get involved in Belgian advocacy efforts, please get in touch.

On the 20th of October we have our Extraordinary General Meeting. Following the adoption of new Articles of Association at the AGM in June, we will be holding elections for a number of Board positions. I would like to encourage all our members to participate in the nomination and appointment process, and welcome you all to attend the EGM, where we will confirm our new Board as well as introduce our CEO Sue Arundale. We will be hosting “welcome back” cocktails after the EGM, so it would be great to see as many of you as possible in person, so we can share a glass or two and meet the new team.

Finally, I invite all members to start off ‘la rentree‘ by making use of the opportunity to maximize your involvement in the activies of the Chamber this upcoming year. We have a range of excellent events in our calendar, and our committees are back, well-rested and enthusiastic to connue strengthening dialogue with colleagues and partners across Belgium, the UK and the EU. Participate in our events and join a committee to have your say in the development of the Chamber’s activities.

After almost 18 months of corresponding with most of you virtually, I sincerely look forward to seeing many of you at upcoming face-to-face events and networking sessions.

Best wishes,