10th Anniversary. The EMECA European Union Working Group celebrated its 10th Anniversary in Brussels. The Working Group was founded in 2004 and since then not only monitored closely the political and economic decisions taken in Brussels, networked with decision makers and relevant stakeholders in Brussels but also integrated various EU issues into the association’s work agenda. EMECA President Andreas Gruchow explains: “The EU Working Group is EMECA’s first active working body. This long term commitment contributed to shape EMECA’s profile and has proven to be an effective link between the trade fair industry and European Union institutions and policy makers.”
At the recent EMECA EU WG meeting David Boon, General Management at Brussels EXPO and new EMECA Vice President Relations with the EU, took over the lead from Messe Frankfurt who headed the EMECA EU WG since its start. “I am proud to engage in this important EMECA committee. I will support all necessary activities within EMECA and the European Exhibition Industry Alliance to strengthen our sector’s position in Europe and in the global business”, declares David Boon.
The continuous engagement of EMECA in Brussels opened the opportunity to participate in the EU-funded America Latina Invest IV programme. The Programme supported the development of economic relationships between Latin America and Europe from 2009 to 2013. The participating consortia were composed of all relevant players in the field of development, commerce and trade in the EU and all across Latin America. EMECA integrated the European Services Consortium together with Eurochambres, GIZ and other partners, focussing on supporting micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from Latin America to exhibit at major European exhibitions.
With 400 Latin American exhibiting companies, 2.000 sqm rented exhibition surface and over 1.000 Latin American visitors attending 13 European trade fairs, AL Invest IV was a most successful long term project for EMECA. By successfully participating and completing the project, EMECA was able to promote the European exhibitions and its impacting services within a large community of potential customers and partner organisations. On a second level, EMECA obtained a high visibility and acknowledgement as qualified partner within relevant stakeholder groups in the EU Institutions.
Recognising the impact and the opportunities provided by engaging in Brussels, EMECA and the European members of The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) decided to join forces in 2012 and founded the European Exhibition Industry Alliance. It now represents the common interests of the whole European exhibition industry towards the European Union Institutions and other relevant stakeholders in Brussels. It promotes the impact of the sector, monitors EU issues and advocates the sector’s interests in order to maintain a favourable operating environment within the EU and globally. In the run-up to the European Parliament elections in May, the European Exhibition Industry Alliance published a Position Paper stating the trade fair industry’s needs and its contributions to innovation, jobs and growth.
Earlier projects of the EMECA European Union Working Group include a study on the accessibility of its Members’ exhibition venues highlighting best practice and offering recommendations for improving accessibility, especially for vulnerable users. It was conducted on the occasion of the “European Year of Equal Opportunities for All” in 2007. At the EU WG’s suggestion, the EMECA Technical Working Group was founded in 2009. Under the lead of Veronafiere it commissioned a study on the Energy Efficiency of EMECA Exhibition Halls, again with recommendations for improving the existing infrastructure and its resource efficient operation to the benefit of all EMECA fairground operators.