Live from Brussels – Issue n°100

A message from Ms. Marie Audren, Director General of HOTREC

Dear reader,

 Today we publish the 100th issue of our ‘Live from Brussels’. Over time, this newsletter has given HOTREC the unique opportunity to share its views on matters of great importance for the sector, bound to impact the daily lives of entrepreneurs, workers and guests. We feel excited and humbled to have come so far.

Hospitality is now facing an unprecedented crisis worldwide, and the latest figures show it might take until 2023 for the industry to recover. Businesses all over Europe are struggling to survive and need further funding and support by the EU institutions and Member States. In this edition, we will examine initiatives and strategies that we believe will help companies in the sector to remain afloat – such as extending the validity of the SURE instrument and promoting harmonized travel restrictions.

As usual, we will also discuss ‘hot topics’ for hospitality – such as the ‘Digital Services Act’, sustainability and the European minimum wages.

To conclude, a special thanks goes to Ambassador Lourtie for contributing to our newsletter by sharing his views on the priority of the upcoming Portuguese presidency for hospitality and tourism.

We wish you a good reading!


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Interview

Digital

Live from the network

Social Affairs

Statistics

Sustainability

Taxation

Tourism


Interview



The priorities of the upcoming Portuguese Presidency: interview to Ambassador Pedro Lourtie

Pedro Lourtie was born on January 15, 1971, in Lisbon. Married, he has three children. He holds a Degree in Economics (University of Lisbon - ISEG) and a Master in European Economic Studies from the Bruges College of Europe, where he was also a Research Assistant after finishing his studies. In 1995, he joined the Portuguese Diplomatic Service, starting at the Directorate for Multilateral Political Directorate and soon after, from 1995 until 1999, as Adviser to the Secretary of State for European Affairs. In 1999, he is posted to the Permanent Representation of Portugal to the EU in Brussels. In 2004, he moved to Washington as Political Counsellor in the Delegation of the European Commission to the United States. When returning to Portugal, in 2005, he held several positions, namely as Diplomatic Adviser to the Prime Minister and, later, as his Chief of Staff. From October 2009 until June 2011, he is Secretary of State for European Affairs in the Portuguese Government. In that period, from 2010 until 2011, he was also the President of the Portuguese National Commission for Human Rights. In 2012 he is posted as Consul General of Portugal in Paris and in 2015 as Ambassador to Tunisia. Since 2016, Ambassador Pedro Lourtie is the Deputy Permanent Representative of Portugal to the European Union.

Digital



Digital Services Act: HOTREC unveils position paper ahead of key European Commission legislative proposals

Online marketplaces, social networks, collaborative economy websites and search engines have in many regards changed the way customers book their accommodation, select their means of travelling, go out and discover local restaurants, bars and attractions. It has expanded choice and possibilities for consumers, invigorated competition, fuelled innovation and put new destinations on the map.

Live from the network



'The 'perfect storm' for European SMEs: HOTREC and EU stakeholders discuss SMEs after COVID-19

On 18 November, we had the pleasure to take part in the virtual event 'The 'perfect storm' for European SMEs' organised by Euractiv and supported by FoodDrinkEurope.

Social Affairs



The way forward on Adequate Minimum Wages

On  28 October 2020, the European Commission presented its proposal for a Directive on “Adequate minimum wages in the European Union” (COM(2020)682 final). HOTREC fully supports the main objectives of the Directive: improving the adequacy of minimum wage across Europe and the access of workers to minimum wage protection in the EU.


The SURE instrument should be extended!

While fully supporting the implementation and use of the SURE instrument – a temporary support scheme to mitigate unemployment risks in an emergency (SURE) with the potential to provide financial assistance up to €100 billion in the form of loans from the EU – we believe that more can still be done.


Pact for Skills: upskilling and reskilling are needed, but adequate EU funding needs to be deployed

On the occasion of the European Vocational Skills Week, The European Commission launched on 10 November 2020 a Pact for Skills to encourage relevant stakeholders to make concrete commitments to upskill and reskill workers.

Statistics



Slight summer recovery for hospitality sector stopped short by 2nd wave of COVID infections

Despite historically low occupancy rates – averaging 38.9% during August across Europe – the summer period marked by a degree of recovery of Europe’s hotel sector following the easing of travel restrictions and the opening of certain borders.

Sustainability



HOTREC welcomes the EP strategy for Sustainable Tourism

On 28 October 2020, MEP Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar (Portugal, EPP) presented her initiative report on “Establishing an EU Strategy for Sustainable Tourism”.


Towards a greener European hospitality: the new EU 2030 climate target and the “renovation wave” strategy

In her first State of the Union address, President Von der Leyen announced the plan to raise the EU 2030 climate target from 40% to 55% –  sustainable development is among the hospitality industry’s top priorities and, of course, on September we welcomed the Commission’s proposal.

Taxation



HOTREC urges EU and Member States to support hospitality sector recovery with reduced VAT rates

HOTREC, FoodDrinkEurope and FoodServiceEurope have asked for support from the EU for temporarily reduced VAT rates in the hospitality sector in order to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. A position paper co-signed by all three organisations highlights why reduced VAT rates are beneficial for hospitality and contract catering and an essential and highly effective measure of support to support the recovery of the sector in the aftermath of lockdown measures.  

Tourism



HOTREC calls on an harmonised approach towards travel restrictions

On 13 October 2020, the Council adopted a Recommendation establishing common criteria and the development of a common coloured-coded map broken down by regions to help Member States decisions based on the epidemiological situation per region.


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