martes, 11 de octubre de 2016

MEPs discussed economic outlook and challenges at the IMF Annual Meetings in Washington DC

A delegation of members of the European Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) attended the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank in Washington D.C. from 6 - 9 October.

After the meetings, delegation leader Roberto Gualtieri (S&D, IT) made the following statement:

"We have been struck by the way the so-called political risks deriving from populism have featured in the discussions at the IMF this year. I agree with the IMF assessment that euro area monetary policy must be complemented by structural reforms and a quality-led fiscal policy in order to relaunch growth and address the output gap in some Member States in a consistent way. In our meetings with the IMF there was a sense that we should not lose the momentum towards deepening the EMU. Regarding Greece and debt relief, euro area interlocutors reiterated their commitment to implement the Eurogroup statement of 25 May 2016 aiming at delivering debt relief at the end of the programme in mid-2018. Brexit was also raised at several meetings. I can only reiterate what many others have already said: access to the single Market goes hand in hand with the fundamental EU freedoms, without cherry-picking."

Apart from ECON chairman Roberto Gualtieri, the delegation included Pablo Zalba Bidegain (EPP, ES), Werner Langen (EPP, DE), Siegfried Muresan (EPP, RO), Pervenche Berès (S&D, FR), Jakob von Weizsäcker (S&D, DE) and Bernd Lucke (ECR, DE). The members met with IMF Executive Directors and high ranking officials for discussions on the European economic and fiscal situation, financial stability, the financial assistance programme in Greece and on economic governance of the euro area. It also held bilateral discussions with the Spanish Finance Minister, Luis de Guindos and the Portuguese Finance and Treasury Secretary, Ricardo Mourinho Félix, regarding the follow-up to the possible suspension of European funds to Spain and Portugal in the context of the on-going excessive deficit procedure.

LIST OF MEETINGS (in chronological order)

  • EU Ambassador David O’SULLIVAN
  • Commission Vice-President Valdis DOMBROVSKIS 
  • Commissioner MOSCOVICI
  • Maurice OBSTFELD, IMF Chief Economist
  • Hervé de VILLEROCHÉ, IMF Executive Director (France)
  • Stephen FIELD, IMF Executive Director (UK)
  • James HALEY, IMF Executive Director (Canada)
  • Cyril MULLER, World Bank VP for Europe and Central Asia
  • Axel VAN TROTSENBURG, World Bank VP of Development Finance
  • Jeff HURLEY, Committee Director for State-Federal Relations at the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL)
  • David SILBERMAN, Deputy Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Nicolas VERON, Visiting Fellow at the Peterson Institute
  • Rasmus RUEFFER, Permanent Representative of the ECB in Washington DC
  • Luis DE GUINDOS JURADO, Minister of Economy and Competitiveness of Spain
  • Ricardo MOURINHO, State Secretary of Treasury and Finance of Portugal
  • Klaus REGLING, Managing Director of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM)
  • Ratna SAHAY, IMF Deputy Director, Monetary and Capital Markets Department
  • Carlo COTTARELLI, IMF Executive Director (Italy)
  • Fernando JIMÉNEZ LATORRE, IMF Executive Director (Spain)
  • Mahmood PRADHAN, IMF Deputy Director, European Department
  • Steffen MEYER, IMF Executive Director for Germany

jueves, 15 de septiembre de 2016

Apple tax deal: Controversial ruling backed by MEPs

Ireland’s political isolation over the Apple ruling was laid bare on Wednesday as MEPs overwhelmingly backed the EU’s finding that the State had offered illegal state aid to the US multinational.

In a highly-charged, though sparsely attended, debate at the European Parliament, MEPs from across the political spectrum lined up to congratulate EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager on her decision against Ireland.

“Citizens who have been asked for great sacrifices cannot understand that big multinationals do not participate in this collective effort,” said Spanish MEP Pablo Zalba Bidegain.

“We as European citizens have to thank for the commissioner for her effort and for remaining so strong on the Apple case. These kinds of actions undoubtedly contribute to European citizens seeing [the European Union] as part of a solution not as a problem.”

Green MEP Sven Gielgold, a long-time tax justice campaigner, said Ms Vestager “deserved a medal” for her actions, while his colleague Philippe Lamberts said he wanted to “clone” the Danish commissioner for taking on multinationals.

German centre-right MEP Markus Ferber congratulated Ms Vestager in finding the “right lever” for tackling unfair taxation through state aid law, “even though it rewards those who ought to be punished”, referring to Ireland’s decision not to accept the €13 billion in recovered taxes.

Other MEPs referred to the funds that were extended to Ireland during the bailout, while a French MEP recalled how she had raised concerns about tax competition with former commissioner Charlie McCreevy.


While the European Parliament has little power over EU competition policy, it has taken a leading role in efforts to clamp down on multitax avoidance by establishing special tax committees in the wake of the Luxembourg Leaks and Panama Papers scandals.

Fine Gael’s Seán Kelly and Brian Hayes were among the only MEPs to question the European Commission ruling. Mr Kelly referred to it as “profoundly wrong and extremely damaging to Ireland”, while Mr Hayes accused the commission of displaying a determination “to get Apple from the start of this investigation”.

More News:

Pablo Zalba Bidegain: “We must say loud and clear that the party is over. Although multinationals create jobs they must pay taxes and we need a consolidated tax basis.”

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has been defending the decision to order technology firm Apple to pay 13 billion euros in back tax to the Irish government.
She told a European Parliament debate in Strasbourg on Wednesday that the goal is for all companies to pay tax where they generate profits and for all information on that to be made public.
Vestager is also keen for the specifics of the Irish ruling to be known: “Once agreed by Ireland, we will publish our decision for all to see and I hope that this can happen as fast as possible. The published information may also be relevant to tax authorities in other jurisdictions.”
She added: “If the US tax authorities consider that Apple should have paid a higher contribution for research and development to its US parent it could lead to a higher taxable amount in the US.”
Dublin has called the ruling an attack on its business-friendly low-tax regime and is to appeal against it, as is Apple.
Vestager denied that saying the action applied only to two tax rulings which gave Apple a selective advantage.
“The party is over”
Most MEPs in the debate supported the ruling.
Spanish EPP MEP Pablo Zalba Bidegain said: “We must say loud and clear that the party is over. Although multinationals create jobs they must pay taxes and we need a consolidated tax basis.”

miércoles, 14 de septiembre de 2016

Emissions scandal: “Member states not keen on strict implementation”

Parliament’s inquiry committee investigating the car emissions testing scandal is now halfway through its mandate, but already it has a clearer view of how car manufacturers were able to claim that their cars polluted many times less than they actually did. MEPs vote on their interim report in plenary on Tuesday 13 September. Watch the video for an interview with report authors Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy and Pablo Zalba Bidegain.
Gerbrandy, a Dutch member of the ALDE group, said: “What we see is a picture of European Commission that seems to be either incapable or unwilling to take action against the growing gap between on-road emissions and those during the test cycle. Secondly we see that the member states were not very keen on very strict implementation and enforcement of car emission legislation.”
Zalba Bidegain, a Spanish member of the EPP, said: “Evidently, nobody knew or even suspected anything until Volkswagen admitted in the US that it was using these kind of devices. On the other hand, everyone was aware that there were discrepancies. I believe this crisis will be an opportunity to improve emissions testing.”
This week there will also be two hearings with EU commissioners and representatives from Bosch, a leading automotive supplier that among others supplies engine control units for diesel engines. The commissioners  attending  the hearings this week are Elżbieta Bieńkowska,responsible for industry and the internal market, and Karmenu Vella, who is responsible for the environment.
So far the Parliament’s inquiry committee into emissions measurements in the car industry has questioned experts as well as representatives from environmental organisations and the car industry. It has also had hearings with  current and former commissioners regarding existing and proposed testing procedures. Committee members asked them  what they knew about the so-called defeat devices that prevent the emissions control system from working properly.


martes, 30 de agosto de 2016

EZB kommt Deutschland zu Hilfe und kauft VW-Anleihen  

Der EUObserver berichtet, dass die EZB bei ihrer jüngsten Shopping-Tour Unternehmensanleihen von Volkswagen gekauft hat. Die Anleihen haben Laufzeiten bis 2017 und bis 2021 und wurden von der Bundesbank durchgeführt. Ein EZB-Sprecher bestätigte den Kauf, lehnte aber Aussagen zu Details ab. Die EZB hatte angeblich 2015 nach dem Bekanntwerden des Abgas-Skandals den Kauf von VW-Anleihen ausgeschlossen. Der EUObserver schreibt, es habe den Anschein, die EZB würde bei ihren Ankäufen ausschließlich nach der Kreditwürdigkeit urteilen.

Andere europäische Institutionen halten das anders: Die Europäische Investment-Bank EIB und die Europäische Entwicklungsbank EBRD haben ihre Kredite für Volkswagen auf Eis gelegt.

Der linke EU-Parlamentarier Fabio De Masi spricht von einem „Bail-Out“ für Volkswagen. Sie seien riskant, weil es zu Interessenskonflikten kommen könne. Der Kauf von Unternehmensanleihen sei generell „kritisch“ – nicht nur im Fall von VW. Die EZB will mit dem Anleihenkauf den Markt für Asste Backed Securities (ABS) wiederbeleben. Die Verpackungsform von Finanzprodukten hatten bei der US-Immobilienkrise zum Crash geführt.

Der konservative spanische EU-Parlamentarier Pablo Zalba hält die Käufe dagegen für Sache der EZB und verwies darauf, dass „die Unabhängigkeit der EZB immer respektiert werden muss“.

Ob hinter dem Kauf ein Deal mit Deutschland steht, ist unklar: Deutschland könnte, wenn die EZB Entlastung für VW schafft, geneigt sein, einer Banken-Rettung in Italien, Spanien und Portugal durch Steuergelder zuzustimmen. Aktuelle drängt die EZB zum Ankauf von faulen Krediten (NPL) durch die Steuerzahler – eine Aktion, die unabhängige Finanzexperten für den völlig falschen Weg der Bankenrettung halten.

viernes, 26 de agosto de 2016

Pablo Zalba speaks in BBC Radio about the relationship between Spain and Gibraltar after the Brexit (Interview with Pablo Zalba from the hour and twenty minutes)

Pablo Zalba speaks in BBC Radio about the relationship between Spain and Gibraltar after the Brexit. 

viernes, 22 de julio de 2016

ECB in ‘bail-out’ of scandal-tainted VW

The European Central Bank (ECB) has started supporting Volkswagen Group (VW) by buying corporate bonds as part of a programme aimed at boosting the eurozone's economy.
The move stands in stark contrast to the policy of two other European financial institutions, which have temporarily banned working with VW after it emerged that the German company cheated on emissions tests.
  • The ECB is supporting VW by buying corporate bonds (Photo: ECB)
In effect, the ECB is sending the message that it is neutral about VW's behaviour, a company which New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman this week described as having a “culture that incentivises cheating and denies accountability”.
The value of the bonds is unknown, but on Monday (18 July) the bank, in charge of monetary policy in the eurozone, made public that five VW bonds are among those being purchased.
The bonds have maturity dates between 2017 and 2021, and were bought by the German central bank, the Bundesbank.
The ECB bond buying programme is carried out by six national central banks, including the German institution.
ECB spokesperson William Lelieveldt told EUobserver he could confirm VW bonds were among those being purchased, but said he could give not details about “operational decisions”.
He would also not confirm reports from the Financial Times and the Sunday Times from September 2015. The newspapers wrote at the time, shortly after the VW scandal was brought to light, that the ECB had suspended buying loans backed by VW assets.
It appears that the ECB looks only at the creditworthiness of the assets, and other technical details set out in the legal act that set out its mandate, but does not take into account recent corporate affairs.

'Bail out' of VW

A left-wing German MEP Fabio De Masi said that the German central bank “appears to try to 'bail out' VW via the backdoor”.
VW has already had to put aside €16 billion to deal with the fallout of the crisis, and this week said it reserved another €2.2 billion, as the New York attorney general said he would pursue "substantial penalties".
MEP De Masi, a member of the parliament's committee on monetary affairs, told EUobserver in an e-mail “the bond buying of VW bonds [is] critical regardless of the VW scandal”.
“Corporate bond purchases are subject to moral hazard and vested interests in general,” he said.
The German EU parliamentarian noted the scheme is part of a wider attempt to revive the market of securitisation
Securitisation is a financial tool through which loans, mortgages or other contractual debts are bundled and sold as securities - electronic documents that give the buyers the right to collect the collateral on overdue payments.
The result is that the risk of those loans is sold off, freeing up money on the sellers’ balance sheets to keep lending.
The European securitisation market collapsed after sales of bad debts in the US helped to create the 2008 financial crisis.
“I see securitisation critical, as it incentivises banks to push bad loans to buyers and involves contagion risks,” said De Masi.

Bond-buying is 'sensible'

His centre-right colleague, Pablo Zalba, saw things differently, however.
The Spanish MEP is also a member of the economic and monetary affairs committee, and will be one of the co-authors of a report from the parliament's inquiry committee on the VW scandal.
Zalba called the bond buying programme “sensible” and said that “the ECB's independence should always be respected”.
“I have no doubt the ECB is fulfilling its mandate,” Zalba said.
The bonds themselves have the required credit ratings, and although their value had a nosedive in the period immediately after the scandal broke, most of them are back at the same level, or higher, as a year ago.

EIB loans 'on ice'

Meanwhile, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has taken a different approach.
The bank, which grants loans to projects that are in line with EU policy, has suspended all lending to Volkswagen Group. A spokesman confirmed to EUobserver this week that the ban is still in place, and referred to a recent newspaper interview with EIB president Werner Hoyer.
In June, Hoyer told the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung that “all our activities with VW are on ice”.
The ban followed the suspicion that part of a €400 million EIB loan may have been used by VW to develop the engines that were equipped with the cheating software. The ban will be in place until the EU's anti-fraud agency Olaf has wrapped up an investigation.
“We have worked closely and constructively with VW for many years, that's why we are so disappointed by VW's actions,” said Hoyer. He noted that lending from the EIB may become more expensive for VW in the future.
The EIB has supported several VW projects over the years, including loans for the construction and upgrade of production plants in Slovakia (€200 million), Brazil (€91 million), Mexico (€70 million), and Argentina (€45 million).
The loan which may have been misused, was signed on 16 February 2009. An EIB press release said at the time that the loan should “support the development and market launch of greener and more fuel efficient drive train components for passenger cars and utility vehicles”.
It was part of a programme aimed at reducing emissions in Europe's transport sector.

Polish factory

A second investment bank also put a VW project on hold.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) was supposed to lend a Polish daughter company of VW up to €250 million, for the construction of a production plant in the Polish town Bialezyce.
However, the loan to Volkswagen Poznan has also been put on ice. It still is, a spokesman for EBRD told this website, but without giving additional details as to when the ban would be reconsidered.
The EBRD was founded in 1991 to stimulate development in former communist and Soviet countries. It is owned by the EU, the EIB, and 65 countries around the world.
A spokeswoman for Volkswagen Poznan did not say if the company is still expecting to receive the loan.
“Whether EBRD plans to loan money to us, please ask the EBRD Bank,” she said, without adding if Volkswagen Poznan still needed the money. The construction of the factory is almost complete.

viernes, 15 de julio de 2016

Global regulatory alignment for securitization won´t last

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervisión´s updated securitization fremawork shows strong alignment with the European Commission on risk weights - but adverse discussions in the European Parliament mean that the chances creating the elusive level playing field for high quality securitizations looks Slim.

miércoles, 29 de junio de 2016

75 Spanish companies make London Stock Exchange Group’s ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Europe’ report

Today, company CEOs featured in the report were welcomed at the European Parliament by Commissioner Lord Hill, Mr Othmar Karas MEP, Mr Paul Tang MEP, Mr Ramon Tremosa MEP, Kay Swinburne MEP and Xavier Rolet, CEO, London Stock Exchange Group at a special launch event which celebrated the spirit of small and mid-sized companies’ ambition and entrepreneurialism.

Vice-Chair of Economics Committee, Pablo Zalba MEP:
“My sincere congratulations to the Spanish companies in 1000 Companies to Inspire Europe. Today more than ever we need companies like these to boost growth and job creation. There are 75 Spanish companies and 2 from Navarre, these are good news.”

Commissioner Lord Hill said:

“The companies you will find in the ‘1,000 Companies to Inspire Europe’ report are all remarkable examples of European hard work and entrepreneurship. They come from all 28 EU Countries and from a wide range of business sectors. This report gives these companies the recognition they deserve. But more than that, I hope that by providing investors with a selection of companies with great potential ‘1,000 companies to Inspire Europe’ will make it easier for them to find opportunities and channel investment to SMEs that want to grow and compete in bigger markets, helping to make Capital Markets Union a reality.”

Xavier Rolet, Chief Executive, London Stock Exchange Group said:

“This research shows high-growth SMEs are the driving force behind the European economy. While the public sector and big blue chip companies have not been creating jobs for many years now, these companies are growing and employing at an incredible rate. And because by definition these companies are innovators, these jobs tend to be higher skilled and higher paid, helping to give young Europeans the brighter economic future they deserve.

“So it is critical that we give these firms access to suitable growth finance that will enable them to invest, grow and become the big job providers of tomorrow.”
LSEG’s “1000 Companies to Inspire Europe” report has received international political support with contributions from Markus Ferber MEP, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Othmar Karas MEP, Alain Lamassoure MEP, Paul Tang MEP and Kay Swinburne MEP.

A full searchable database of all of the companies along with a downloadable pdf of the publication can be found online at
The report is supported by AFME

Simon Lewis, CEO, AFME said:

“We are delighted to support this important and timely initiative by the London Stock Exchange Group, which highlights Europe’s SME success stories. SMEs are at the heart of the European economy and supporting them to grow and innovate is vital to Europe’s long-term economic future. Part of this involves facilitating access to diverse sources of funding, as well as helping SMEs to think creatively about their financing options. AFME’s pan-European guide on raising finance, published in six European languages, sets out all of the funding options available to Europe’s SMEs, which we hope will prove useful to the high growth companies of the future.”

Further support and contributions from leading business bodies in the EU including Business Europe, European Issuers, EUROCHAMBRES, EUAPME and CEPS/ECMI.

The report is part of LSEG’s broader support campaign for ambitious SMEs which includes ELITE, the innovative programme now counting almost 400 international businesses. At the launch, LSEG announced an ELITE European roadshow which will take place in major European cities throughout 2016. This will bring further visibility to the companies in their home countries and allow them the opportunity to access ELITE, helping to support them in their long term growth.

miércoles, 22 de junio de 2016

Dieselgate probe getting frustrated with EU commission

There is a "growing frustration" with the EU commission in the European Parliament's inquiry committee into the dieselgate scandal, the committee's chairwoman Kathleen Van Brempt said Tuesday. She spoke after MEPs Pablo Zalba and Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy presented their interim report, which Gerbrandy noted was "a procedural one". Documents the committee requested in April from the commission have still not been delivered, Gerbrandy said.

miércoles, 8 de junio de 2016

MEPs stake claim to be EU investigators

The methods employed by the European Parliament's inquiry committee into the role of Europe's governments in the Dieselgate scandal will not be seen as revolutionary outside Brussels.
But the way witnesses are questioned in the EMIS inquiry committee (Emissions Measurements in the Automotive Sector) was apparently so novel that it deserved its own name.
 “As a general rule, upon introduction by the Chair, the witnesses or experts open their hearing with a brief oral statement, which is followed by questions from EMIS Members in accordance with the ‘ping-pong’ principle (answer immediately following each question),” MEPs Pablo Zalba Bidegain and Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy wrote last week in the draft interim report.
In many parliaments, the ping-pong principle is nothing new. But in the EP, it is a refreshing change of procedure.
Questioning in the EP is known informally as an exchange of views, and usually takes the following format: one member of each of the eight political groups takes the floor and crams as many questions and comments into a strictly allotted time slot. Sometimes one of the non-affiliated members also gets a turn.
After so many interventions, as spoken contributions are often called, the questioned guest usually has only three minutes or so to try and answer them. Alternatively, if the guest is politically savvy, they will pick the answers that are easiest to address.
Not so in the EMIS committee, where the ping-pong principle has actually resulted in the hearings being interesting to watch, at least to those who have taken some time to catch up on technical terms like “exhaust gas recirculation of nitrogen oxide”.
The hearings have so far involved mostly technical witnesses. But when former commissioners and national authorities in charge of checking if car companies are cheating take the stand later this year, a well-executed ping-pong principle works much better than the marathon of questions.
Panama Papers
It is to be hoped that the new inquiry committee into the Panama Papers, which the plenary of the parliament formally requested on Wednesday (8 June), will take a similar work method.
The Panama Papers were a trove of documents, leaked last April, that showed how the rich and powerful use offshore firms to avoid paying taxes.
MEPs voted to set up a committee to “investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Union law in relation to money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion, its powers, numerical strength and term of office”.
The outcome of the vote in Strasbourg was no surprise. At last Friday's pre-plenary press conference this website asked all political groups if any of them would vote against.
None spoke up, although it should be noted there was no representative present of the seventh-largest group, the eurosceptic Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD).
The constitutive vote for the Panama Papers inquiry was therefore somewhat less exciting than the one for the Dieselgate inquiry, which was supported by 354 MEPs and opposed by 229.
Centre-right are game, this time
The big difference this time around is that centre-right MEPs back the plan this time.
“Our preference usually is to deal with these issues in the committees that exist in the parliament, within their mandate,” said Antti Timonen, spokesman for the largest group, the centre-right European People's Party (EPP). Most of the EPP members voted against setting up the Dieselgate committee.
“We felt it would be better to see [diesel-related] proposals for the future, to see what can be done. For us it was very important not to harm the European car industry, which is a big employer,” said Timonen.
“However, for the Panama Papers, we have seen that they have created a lot of interest but also exposed many problems, so perhaps this inquiry committee gives a better opportunities for us to see what we could have done differently.”
His colleague from the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), also centre-right but much less federalist group, had similar reasoning.
The Panama Papers constitute a “slightly more cross-cutting issue”, said ECR spokesman James Holtum, noting that the group felt the normal environment committee could have dealt with Dieselgate.
Closing the trilogy
The inquiry committee on the Panama Papers will be an informal successor to two so-called special committees, which were set up after the 2014 Luxleaks scandal that revealed how companies were getting sweetheart tax deals in Luxembourg.
After the mandate of the first Tax Rulings and Other Measures Similar in Nature or Effect committee ended on 30 November 2015, the parliament decided to install a sequel, known by its acronym TAXE 2, which will run until 2 August 2016.
Although they were called special committees, the Luxleaks committees were much less powerful than an inquiry committee and they had trouble getting access to documents and persuading witnesses to appear.
The Panama Papers will therefore be a platform to take care of “some of the unfinished business” of TAXE 2, said Richard More O'Ferrall of the Greens, the sixth-largest group, traditionally a pro-inquiry group.
“We are certainly happy that there was a lot less resistance this time,” he said about setting up the Panama Papers inquiry.
After Wednesday's vote, there will be two active inquiry committees (Dieselgate and Panama Papers) and one special committee (LuxLeaks II). The Panama Papers committee will have 65 members, the other two committees have 45 members each.
MEPs as investigators
There are only two MEPs serving on both the Dieselgate and Luxleaks committees, so for a number of months this year 153 MEPs could be taking part in investigative committees. That's not counting the substitute members. If those are counted, and the Panama Papers committee acquires only members not currently in the two other committees, 40 percent of MEPs would be a (substitute) member of an investigative group.

miércoles, 1 de junio de 2016

Zabala celabrated their 30th anniversary

I would like to welcome everyone today to the European Parliament;

When Zabala got in touch with me to host this event in the European Parliament I did not doubt that it was a great idea, particularly taking into account that Zabala celabrated their 30th anniversary last 12th of April, therefore it is my pleasure to have the chance to host this event on accelerating the commercialisation of eco-innovation in Europe‘s regions.

Eco-innovation is a key area for the european union as it aims at protecting, preserving and improving the environment for present and future generations.
In times of economic crisis, high unemployment rates, high energy prices, scarce raw materials and dependence on imports, sustainable job creation and economic growth is essential to secure social cohesion.

Innovation is one of the keys to meet this target and should therefore be fostered.

One way is through eco-innovation, which is a concept combining protection of the environment with growth, competitiveness and job creation.

Environmentally friendly innovations are essential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to use resources such as water and raw materials more efficiently, to increase the use of recycled materials and to produce quality products with less impact on the environment, just to mention a few examples, as well as to develop more environmentally friendly production processes and services.

It is responsibility of the European institutions to propose and implement policies that guarantee a high level of environmental protection and preserve the quality of life of European citizens.

At national level, it is essential to guarantee that member states apply EU environmental law correctly in favour of citizens and future generations.

I am glad that during this dinner debate we will have the chance to listen to the different stakeholders involved, we are going to have the point of view of smes, entrepeneurs, investor, the perspective from the regions and the view of the European commission.

Thank you very much,

martes, 31 de mayo de 2016

European Makers Week - First-Ever EU Institutional

Welcome to the first-ever maker fair organised at an eu institution.

First, i wanted to congratulate start up europe, think young, european commission, committee of the regions and rome maker faire.

europe can´t miss even one of the opportunities given to us to boost growth and job creation.

The maker movement represents a huge opportunity for europe, as it is a very good way to maximise the great potential that we have in terms of knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurship.

I want to be positive today.

Currently,the european union has nothing to envy to u.s.a in terms of innovation and entrepreneurship; we are now in the process of connecting the many ecosystems that exists in the eu to create our own virtual "european silicon valley". 

The number of start-ups continues to increase, reflecting the potential of the eu that i already mentioned.

2015 has been a spectacular year in this regard. for example, in the ranking "top 15: europe's biggest startup cities in 2015" madrid has risen from the 15th place in 2014 to the 5th, followed by london, stockholm, berlin and amsterdam.

Now, is time to keep improving these results and to keep growing in international terms as well.

Therefore, the maker movement is a great opportunity, as it shows many tools that can be used to boost innovation and entrepreneurship and, in other words, to revitalize the european manufacturing and keep empowering the eu´s economy.

Moreover, the maker movement can inspire and empower more young people to excel in design and stem (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) and to pursue careers making things in manufacturing.

So, don´t forget this:

Today a maker, tomorrow a start up!

Let´s build a maker continent!