On Thursday 2nd February the Spanish Chamber of Commerce held its traditional New Year’s Drinks Reception, which marks the official start of the calendar of events of our institution. The event was held at Ironmongers’ Hall, one of London’s traditional livery halls, located minutes away from St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Being the first corporate activity of 2017, the evening counted on an exceptional Guest of Honour: Miriam González Durántez, Partner at Dechert LLP, non-executive director at UBS, and founder and chairman of Inspiring Girls.
On such a special occasion, our member Natura Bissé kindly sponsored a private “Meet & Greet” with the Guest of Honour for our Patrons, Benefactors and Members of the Executive Committee. Sali Flores and Juan Albanell, from Natura Bissé, had the opportunity to greet our Guest of Honour and exchange impressions before the rest of the guests joined this private gathering.
After the “Meet & Greet”, speeches took place at the main banqueting hall. Mr. Javier San Basilio, President of the Spanish Chamber, started the proceedings by welcoming attendees and wishing them a happy and successful 2017. He took the opportunity to thank members of the institution for their continuous support and announced the new Patrons which had joined since the Gala Dinner last December. He concluded by highlighting the importance for both Spain and the UK to keep working together regardless of the outcome of Brexit.
It was then the turn of Mr. Juan López-Herrera, Minister Counsellor at the Embassy of Spain, to address attendees. In his speech, Mr. López-Herrera highlighted the steady growth of bilateral investments between Spain and the UK. He explained, the challenge after Brexit is to preserve the level of bilateral relations achieved after the last three decades, not only in the economic and trade sectors but also across the boards.
Out Toast Master then welcomed Ms. González Durántez, who took the floor and warmly thank the Chamber for having invited her to this traditional reception. Her speech raised a lot of expectation as she is a well-known professional with ample experience advising on EU and International Trade regulations. Since the June referendum, Ms. González has as well frequently contributed articles to national and international media on potential Brexit outcomes for British and international companies trading with the UK.
As an individual born and raised in a remote village in Spain, Ms. González argued she was the perfect example of how you can still feel a citizen of the world once you come to live in this country. She only had words of praise for the opportunities she has had since arriving in the UK. Ms. González regretted that a country that had welcomed so many with open arms, and had been instrumental in the consolidation of the European Union, was now challenging the same principles it once helped build.
She showed her concern regarding the recent political changes in the United States and the upcoming uncertainty in several European countries that will hold presidential elections in the coming months. However, she believed that in challenging times such as these, where major players seem to be adrift regarding the direction to follow and with so much at stake, Spain may take this opportunity to emerge as a leading force in the international arena. In a speech that was loudly applauded, Ms. Durántez concluded by saying that each of us should do the best they can, one step at a time, to avoid being a mere spectator of decisions that affect our future.
The evening proved a huge success among our members yet another year on, with over 200 representatives of both British and Spanish companies in attendance. Guests had the opportunity to wish a happy new year to fellow colleagues and taste the wonderful products offered by our kind sponsors.
We would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank our members Estrella Damm for providing the beer that was served during the reception as well as Nicolás y Valero, also member of the Chamber, for their kind contribution of a Spanish ham and a delicious selection of cheeses. We are also thankful to Wines from Rioja, which provided a generous and curated selection of white and red wines for this special evening.
If you missed this traditional reception,you can now see the full image gallery here.
We encourage you to browse our Upcoming Events section in order to keep up to date with future Spanish Chamber corporate events, seminars and many other activities.
We look forward to seeing you at the next one!