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VP Tajani visits Belgium's Wallonia region to jump-start the recovery of local SMEs

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To help SMEs in Wallonia emerge from the downturn and help them participate in the next economic growth cycle, the European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani travelled to La Louvière with Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director-General of DG Enterprise and SME Envoy.

They will be accompanied by 600 representatives of companies from 37 countries, many of them will participate in more than 800 bilateral meetings with SMEs from Wallonia to form new partnerships and discuss
opportunities for collaboration in key sectors active in the region such as aeronautics, mechatronics, logistics and creative industries.

Europe 2020 Strategy for growth

An important part of this visit has been the Europe 2020 strategy for growth conference, which the Vice President opened together with the Belgian Prime Minister, Elio Di Rupo and the Vice-President and Minister of Economy of Wallonia, Jean-Claude Marcourt. Issues discussed included internationalisation and access to markets of SMEs, key enabling technologies as well as clusters and regional specialisation.

The Vice President used this opportunity to introduce COSME, a new € 2.3 billion program for SMEs which aims to address the main challenges they are currently facing, such as access to financing, access to foreign markets, improvement of the business environment and support to entrepreneurs. Central to this visit, hosted by the region of Wallonia and the Wallonia Trade & Investment Agency “AWEX”, has been the business to business networking event which took place in the afternoon.

The aim of the event was to promote business partnerships between Walloon and other EU companies, but also with other non-European countries in sectors identified as key contributors to achieving growth in the region, including:

  • Aeronautics and Space
  • Mechanical industry: mechatronics, materials and surfaces of the future
  • Biotechnology, especially (Bio)-Pharma and Life-Sciences
  • Transport and logistics
  • Creative Industries

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