Brussels, 17 December 2013 – The Croatia-EU Business Council organised the event "Meet Croatian MEPs" at the European Parliament building. The event was attended by representatives of the Croatian business community, Croatian MEPs, and high-level officials from EU institutions (i.e. the European Commission, European Parliament and the EU Council).
The event began with presentation on the Croatian business sector by Ivana Budin Arhanic, Board Member of tourism Valamar Group and Drazen Orescanin, President Croatian Independent Software Exporters (CISEx) association. Croatian MEPs described their activities at the European Parliament, followed by a discussion on the possible cooperation and representation of the business community’s interests at the EU level. Former EU Ambassador to Croatia Paul Vandoren also addressed the audience.
A Christmas and Holiday reception was held among the participants after the presentations. More than 100 guests had an opportunity to enjoy the exquisite dishes prepared by Podravka’s culinary experts, which included seafood, home-made pasta with truffles, capon roll with dumplings, Croatian prosciutto and cheeses, etc. All the dishes were seasoned with Podravka’s renowned Vegeta brand, which has been one of the most famous Croatian products in Europe for the past 45 years.
The event was co-hosted by MEPs Davor Ivo Stier (EPP Group), Tonino Picula (S&D Group) and Nikola Vuljanic (GUE/NGL Group), and sponsored by Podravka, Emerson, Croatian Post, Valamar Adria Holding, Fipra International, Winery Safran and Maraska.
This was the first organised gathering of the representatives of the Croatian business community in Brussels. In 2014, the CEUBC will organise a series of events named "Meet Team Croatia", in order to establish cooperation between Croatia’s political leadership in Brussels and members of the Croatian and International business community.
Natko Vlahovic, CEUBC, Executive Director: "We are proud that we have organised this event in the European Parliament building. Croatia is a member of the European Union. That is a fact. Therefore, we must start using the EU models of communication between business communities and EU institutions, so our companies can realise how Brussels really operates."
Ivana Budin Arhanic, Board Member, Valamar Group: "I am extremely pleased to be here with you today at the start of Croatia's EU path. Your work here in Bruxelles is of great importance to Croatia and to our economy. As a company, and as a business sector, we are sincerely interested in continuous collaboration with Croatian representatives in EU institutions. I believe that strong ties between the public and private sectors can only benefit the quality of policies at both the national and EU levels."
Paul Vandoren, former EU Ambassador to Croatia: "Croatian entrepreneurs: step up your efforts and exploit your niche markets for your products and your services for more than 500 million consumers. The market is there. It is your challenge. The opportunity is yours. You have only one chance in your life time. Do it now."
Davor Ivo Stier, MEP: "I commend the CEUBC for organising a meeting between the MEPs and the representatives of Croatian companies and multinational companies in Brussels. EU membership provides numerous opportunities and access to a market of 500 million people. The cooperation among citizens, businesses, and Croatian political representatives at the EU level is necessary for promoting Croatia’s interests in the EU."
Tonino Picula, MEP: "Since Croatia joined the European Union, I’ve actively communicated with EU institutions, in order to protect the interests of the Croatian economy on the highly-liberalised EU market. For instance, I informed the European Parliament, and subsequently submitted a question to the Commission, regarding the issue of Croatia’s outstanding obligations as a former CEFTA member. Furthermore, I prompted the Commission to reconsider the amount of aid that would be allocated to the Croatian fisheries sector, and underscored the importance of financing regional airports, which would be beneficial for the integration of Croatian regions as well."
Drazen Orescanin, President, CISEx: "CISEx’s primary activities are promoting the IT industry and members of the association, as well as cooperating with state institutions and international organisations. Therefore, it was our pleasure to participate in this event organised by the CEUBC."