Live from Brussels – Issue 107
Happy new year, and welcome to the first issue of ‘Live from Brussels’ in 2022. I hope you could spend quality time with your loved ones and enjoy days of well-deserved rest.
This festive season has been again challenging for tourism and hospitality. The Omicron variant took Europe by storm, and most countries had to cope with record-high new cases and winter travel chaos. Hospitality venues experienced the full impact of the pandemic and had to face closures, dramatic lack of guests or cancellations, and adjust to ever-changing health and safety guidelines.
2022 is already shaping up to be another busy year for HOTREC and our members. One thing is for sure: the next twelve months will see us prioritising the survival of the millions of businesses and workers that make up our industry. The recovery will require strong cooperation and increased coordination at the EU level. Hospitality businesses – especially SMEs – will need the European Institutions and the Members States to continue deploying concrete support and guidance. But I fear that these actions alone will not be enough to create a real turning point for European hospitality. As vaccines are giving the global population a tool to protect themselves, start travelling again, and get back to a normal life, saving our sector might need us to learn how to live with Covid-19 into the future.
Hospitality might be facing its worst crisis yet, but I firmly believe in its intrinsic resilience and, most importantly, in our sector’s potential to drive the recovery of the entire European economy. The French presidency of the Council of the EU, which kicked off on January 1st, will undoubtedly play a determinant role in shaping the next steps in the EU coordinated response to the virus. We trust them to help us bring hope and stability to the industry. In this issue, we were honoured to discuss the priorities of the French government and Presidency with regards to tourism with Mr Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, French Minister delegate for tourism, French national abroad, francophonie and for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, whom I thank for his precious insight.
In other news, we expect some relevant developments to take place in the EU in the upcoming weeks. Trialogue negotiations on the Digital Markets Act will follow the crucial European Parliament vote from December, which approved critical proposals to improve future legislations and decided on specific criteria to identify so-called gatekeepers platforms. At the beginning of this year, the European Parliament EMPL and FEMM Committees are set to vote on an EU Directive on Pay Transparency. Trialogue negotiations are also set to get underway on the EU minimum wage.
To conclude, I want to congratulate MEP Roberta Metsola, who was elected President of the European Parliament yesterday. We had the honour to interview her for this newsletter in 2020, and she showed great support for our sector. We can’t wait to continue our excellent collaboration.
HOTREC is looking forward to another year of challenges, partnerships, achievements, and to continue informing you on the latest policy developments in European tourism and hospitality. We wish you a wonderful 2022!
I hope you will enjoy our newsletter.