Our headline event for 2017 was held on June 16th at the CCIR in Lyon, in partnership with the EACC (European American Chamber of Commerce).
Brexit Chief Negotiator
Our guest speaker was Michel Barnier, the European Union’s Chief Negotiator for Brexit. Attracting such a prestigious speaker is a real coup, but this was also the last working day before the official start of the Brexit negotiations with the UK government, (led by David Davis), which meant interest among our members was sky-high!
The event was a sell-out, more than 140 members, guests and VIPs present. Florent Belleteste of CCIR briefly welcomed us with Nathalie Berliet of EACC and yours truly introducing the event and welcoming our members…delighted to say that FIBA members were out in force, even on a Friday afternoon at 5pm, so a big thank you to all who attended!! Our very own Tim Hughes was the moderator and he carried out this task with skill, aplomb and his ever-present good humour!
Geopolitics and Brexit
Michel Barnier’s presentation was superb. It combined history, politics, geopolitics, global and European economies, demonstrating a thorough grasp of the current European question and great vision of the ensuing talks with the UK government over Brexit. I found the tables of economic ranking especially illuminating for those looking for further arguments for staying with the EU! His visit to Ireland to the Northern / Southern border was particularly poignant. Finally, Tim opened the floor to questions, which demonstrated the importance of this subject to FIBA members; my only regret was that we had to call a close to the conference, as plenty of other questions were on tap! The cocktail that followed was a hubbub of networking enthusiasm, with everyone delighted to have witnessed this exceptional conference.
Huge thanks to my co-organisers: Tim Hughes, Natacha Lalande of the EACC , to Eric Wallenbrock of Bird and Bird, (our generous sponsors) and of course to Florent Belleteste of the CCIR who made us so welcome at their impressive venue at the CCIR. All eyes now turn to Brussels to follow the Brexit talks with enthusiasm and no little trepidation!