SWECA representative Tomas A Hammar reports:
"On the invitation by the President of Euracen (Chamber of Commerce Europe - Central America), Mr. Christian Meeùs, I was invited to attend the Annual General Meeting in Brussels, as Per Sondén, the President of SWECA could not make it.
Euracen was founded in 1990 and will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year. It was no doubt our model when we established SWECA in 2008. Small financial resources had us focusing on arranging events to spread experience about how to do business between Sweden and Central America.
The AGM of Euracen was well attended at the Hotel Bristol Stephanie, which is well located at Avenue Louise in Brussels. Well over 30 members did participate of which five ambassadors from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.
It was most interesting to note that a similar chamber with focus on Central America has been established in London recently with the name The Central American Business Council (UK). Mr. Chris Bennet is the Deputy Managing Director and the website of the organization is www.caribbean-council.org. They have about 20 members of which most of them are large companies, paying membership fees of about 400 Euros p.a.
The AGM took 1,5 hours and the President went through all the some 30 events that Euracen had arranged during the past year, which is most impressive. If somebody would like to study the passed events, please let me know as I have the list.
During the AGM there were two cooperation agreements signed between Euracen and the Ministry of Foreign Affaires of Belgium through the present head of Latin America. The other agreement was established between Euracen and the new British Chamber. As Mr. Meeùs resigned as President after more than 10 years in that position he was cordially thanked by various board members and was also appointed an Honorary President of Euracen. A new board was elected with 11 members who are deciding between themselves what kind of position they will hold within the board.
We were informed that Euracen had arranged a gala dinner party for the members at which donations of USD 40.000 were given to buy filter equipment for cleaning the water. Those filters have a life time of some 6 years and prevent the consumers from getting various infections. Organisations in El Salvador and Honduras are distributing them to families in a strong need of the filters. Most of the funds did come from corporate members with deep pockets. Is this something for SWECA to consider?
The balance of Euracen showed assets of some 40.000 Euro, which means that they have a much more solid base to act from than SWECA. Euracen has about 40 members of which most of them are large companies. The import of coffee from CA is a dominant sector where Christian Meeùs has over 30 years of experience and could be a useful source for our members within the coffee sector. He has excellent connections with most of the top politicians in Central America and is the hon. Consul of Honduras in Belgium.
Euracen covered my stay at the Hotel Bristol Stephanie as well as the dinner following the AGM, which was most generous."