The rotating presidency of the EU Chambers of Hungary was passed from Bulgaria to Germany in a small ceremony at the German Ambassadorʼs residence in Budapest on February 16.
The presidency has been held for the past two years by Rossen Tkatchenko, head of the Hungarian-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce. The role will now be taken by Dale A. Martin, president of the German-Hungarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (and President-CEO of Siemens Zrt.)
As is traditional for EU-Chambers, Martin will be assisted by two vice presidents, one the outgoing president, the other from the chamber due to follow the current post holder, and that will be Alessandro Stricca, head of the Greek-Hungarian Chamber of Commerce (and also president of the Italian Department of the BKIK, the Budapest Chamber of Commerce and Industry).
The event is possibly the first official function to be held at the German ambassador’s residence since it was renovated. Host Volkmar Wenzel commented that when the EU-Chambers was formed, Hungary was not even a member of the trading block. “Today, Hungary is a prosperous member of the EU, and very much integrated into the single market.”
Tkatchenko said he had worked “to make this organization conspicuous to the business community” and had “tried to improve cooperation between the chambers and the business communities”.
Martin echoed the German ambassador’s comments, saying that the mission for the individual chambers had changed over the years, with the focus now more on “concentrating on the needs of our member companies”. The challenges, too, had changed, with digitalization, the labor shortage and training all priority areas.
He said he saw no need to reinvent the way EU-Chambers works and pledged to continue the Business Chill, a “very successful string of [networking] events”. But he also called on others to share ideas for doing things better, so that member companies feel welcome in Hungary and are happy “to invest in future growth and progress, which is in the interests of all of us”.
To mark taking over the presidency, the German chamber has made one of its publications more widely available to all. “Vocational Training in Hungary” was originally written in German in May of last year, before being translated into Hungarian and now English. It is aimed at C-suiters, rather than entrepreneurs, giving “an overview for businesses interested in vocational training”.
EU-Chambers was founded in 1994 by the British, German, Italian and French chambers, and now numbers 15 members. According to its website (euchambers.hu): “The mission of the Permanent Commission of the bilateral business chambers of EU member states operating in Hungary (EU-Chambers) is to support the improvement of the legal, institutional and business framework for successful operation of companies of other EU member states in Hungary.”