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Brussels Networking Dinner (12/05/2016)

Brussels Networking Dinner

On 12 May 2016, on the occasion of the visit of Mrs. Bénédicte Wilders, the Chief Executive Director of Brussels Invest & Export, The Ambassador of Belgium, Mrs. Jehanne Roccas,
in collaboration with the office of Brussels Invest & Export organized a "Brussels Networking Dinner" where information on tourism and investment in Brussels was exchanged.
Brussels Networking Dinner
Speech of Bénédicte WILDERS, Chief Executive Director of Brussels Invest & Export
Distinguished guests,
Dear colleagues and friends,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As the Director of Brussels Invest & Export, I'm particularly honored and impressed to meet you all tonight, in such a marvelous spot… and I want to thank you all for your attendance and also to thank HEMrs the Ambassador and my colleagues of BI&E for the organization of that friendly evening.
As it sounds, Brussels Invest & Export is the organism in charge of helping Brussels companies to internationalize their business and of detecting, attracting and above all of accompanying foreign investors in Brussels, the capital of 500 millions European citizens…
That means a market of 500millions consumers.
That means also that Brussels is the center of a young, skillful, multilingual manpower, with lots of consultants and experts in financial, legal, IT or greenbuilding technologies.  With lots of universities, high schools and research centers too.  They work together with enterprises, of course, but they also welcome foreign students each year, and I hope more and more Vietnamese students in the coming years !
But if Brussels is the capital of the European Union and the seat of about 2.000 international organizations, it's also because Brussels is, for so many centuries, in the center of the crossroad of several civilizations.
All those influences are in the metropole… Inhabitants and tourists can read it on each wall in the rich and diverse architecture of the city, in so many language expressions, in the artistic heritage or contemporary creations… as well as in the diversity of the shopping streets.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I know you are asking yourself… and willing to ask me : what about the safety ???  What about the climate for companies and tourists in Brussels ?
The business isn't really impacted by the caution nor the fear of the people : for example, the SEA FOOD fair at the end of April counted only 5 percent of visitors less than last year.  The Brussels Government, together with the Federal Government, is enforcing a package of measures to help the Brussels and the Belgian enterprises to stay as reliable and performant as they use to be. Last but not least, our incubator for foreign investors is full.  But we remain very concerned and proactive to protect the citizens, businessmen and visitors in Brussels and Belgium.
Nowadays, after the attacks of March 22nd, the life goes on in our capital, 80 % of the airport capacity is recovered and all the public transports work.  The security has always been a concern for the Belgian authorities, as the Ambassador explained just before me.  The only difference, now, is that the security is strengthened…strengthened, but without any lock down !.  Thanks to those measures, all the public events remain on the agenda (see : www.visit.brussels)…  And the Brussels inhabitants are confident : for example, the great yearly Brussels "regional feast" called "Iris Feast" gathered more than 150.000 people during the last week-end in the Park of Brussels and in the heart of the capital with, amongst other events, the largest meeting of foodtrucks ever seen in Europe !  And the worldwide famous piano competition "ConcoursReine Elisabeth" is running just for the moment in prestigious concert halls Flagey and Bozar !
The program for the coming summer in Brussels is as rich as every year : I will just name some typical highlights as the Ommegang, the flower carpet on the marvelous Grand-Place, the Zinneke Parade, the gastronomy festival Eat!Brussels in September and lots of summer music or film festivals !
Last but not least, I want to mention our new museums : after the famous Magritte museum open a few years ago, the ADAM (art and design museum near the Atomium) is brand new, the MIMA (for "Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art") in a former brewery near the Canal is already a must…  And I give you a date for the opening of the new House of the European History in November !
I thank you for your interest and your friendship !
And I'm really looking forward to seeing you in Brussels !!!