EEIA (European Exhibition Industry Alliance) and AUMA (Association of the German Trade Fair Industry) have launched a new "Exhibition Industry EU Dialogue" event format that took place on March 1st in the European Parliament in Brussels, with 50 participants from all over Europe coming together for this first event. A common theme in all EU speakers’ presentations was a clear commitment to Free Trade as the only means to maintain Europe’s economic position: to facilitate growth, wealth, and respect of EU democratic values, and to help foster stable and reliable political relations for the European Union. EEIA and AUMA co-organised the event, which was open to all AUMA, EMECA (European Major Exhibition Centres Association) and UFI (The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry) members from Europe. The EU Dialogue event was hosted by MEP Istvan Ujhelyi, Vice Chair of the Committee on Transport and Tourism. The aim was to gain and discuss insights on recent EU policy areas, programmes and the latest political developments.
"We wanted to create synergies between various meetings by offering participants the chance to meet and have a shared dialogue with EU representatives, at a single occasion in Brussels", explained Gerald Böse, CEO Kölnmesse, Chairman of the UFI European Chapter and Member of the AUMA Executive Committee.
The first part of the event was dedicated to the EU’s approach to tourism and new "Destination Europe" initiatives such as the EU-China Tourism Year 2018. Istvan Ujhelyi (MEP) and Iuliana-Gabriela Aluas (European Commission DG GROW) explained the EU’s visibility and promotion strategies, designed to increase the number of international travellers to Europe.
The second part of the event was dedicated to SME internationalisation and economic diplomacy. Philippe de Taxis du Poët (European Commission DG GROW) explained the background of the increasing EU efforts in this field to support European companies, especially SMEs, to successfully internationalise, whilst promoting European values and democratic rules. The EU encourages complementarity with Member States’ programmes to achieve greater effects. On a practical level, DG GROW supports SMEs with a number of programmes, which were outlined by Jean-Marie Avezou (European Commission, DG GROW). Barbara Weizsäcker (EEIA) explained the synergies created in the "Business Beyond Borders" (BBB) project.
The third and final part of the event, the EU’s trade strategy and latest developments concerning Free Trade Agreements, was presented by Lutz Güllner (European Commission, DG TRADE). This was followed by spotlights on several regions of strategic importance.
"The European exhibition industry is a key service industry for businesses of all sectors, and we strongly believe in a successful future under democratic rules and with open and fair markets" concluded Barbara Weizsäcker (EEIA), speaking in the name of all those present at this event.