On March 24, leaders gather in Madrid for the second Concordia Europe – AmChamSpain Summit. We speak to Matthew Swift, Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO of Concordia, and Jaime Malet, Chairman of AmChamSpain, to get an insight into the changing European landscape and what to expect from this year’s Summit.
Following a period of prolonged uncertainty, domestic instability, and political deadlock, Spain has a new government in place—and it marks the country’s first coalition government since democracy was restored in 1978. In a Europe dominated by shifting alliances, Spain has the power to not only shape the outlook for the European Union (EU), but to influence the global community at large. On March 24, leaders gather in Madrid for the second Concordia Europe – AmChamSpain Summit. We speak to Matthew Swift, Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO of Concordia, and Jaime Malet, Chairman of AmChamSpain, to get an insight into the changing European landscape and what to expect from this year’s Summit.
After years of political instability, Spain now has a new government in place. Jaime, what does this new government mean for Spain and for Spain’s position on the global stage?
After a long period of political instability, a new coalition government has finally been formed and President Sánchez was sworn in this past 7th of January, 2020. We now have the first coalition government since the restoration of democracy, and it is faced with challenges such as external debt, the territorial crisis in Catalonia, and others that are common for many countries of Europe, for example political polarization, Brexit, and environmental emergencies. Several of the new government’s cabinet members seem keen on addressing these issues and showcase the strength and potential Spain has to offer on a global stage. As Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Spain, I am hopeful that the government will push for economic reform, allowing Spain to continue attracting foreign direct investment and increasing the competitiveness of Spanish companies. Of course, we work toward strengthening the relationship between Spain and the United States, keeping in mind common areas of influence, such as Latin America and North Africa.
With the purpose of creating public-private partnerships, Concordia Summits tackle a wide range of issues: the future of work, women’s empowerment, healthcare, human rights and international relations, among many others. Matt, could you share an example of a public-private partnership that took place thanks to one of your Summits?
Concordia designs its Summits and year-round programming to support the partnering ecosystem. Whether we’re announcing a global partnership on our stage and inspiring companies and governments to take similar courses of action, whether our programming is informing and shaping partnering and market strategies, whether our workshops and private sessions are building skill sets and knowledge on the mechanics of partnering, or whether our curated networking and partnership development efforts are linking our members with new partners, a Concordia Summit is contributing to how and why the global community is partnering for impact. We hear from our members that they made a critical connection or gained a new resource, or that they acquired information essential to a strategic growth decision, at our Summit, and we love being a catalytic force for their partnerships. One impact investment group even felt confident to expand operations into Colombia because of the networks we provided them with through the Concordia Innovative Financing Coalition!
The future of the EU, the Venezuelan crisis, and global refugee and migration dynamics are just a handful of the many issues explored at last year’s inaugural Concordia Europe – AmChamSpain Summit. Which topics are likely to come under the spotlight this year, Jaime?
The 2020 Europe Summit will address some of the topics addressed in last year’s Summit in more depth (to view last year’s report, click here). For example, last year we addressed the future of the EU from a very general standpoint, whereas this year we will delve into issues more specifically affecting the EU, such as the development of 5G and Brexit. We will also build out programming around themes left unaddressed, such as the climate crisis, youth employment, and entrepreneurship.
Matt, 2020 is a special year for Concordia as it marks its 10-year anniversary. Over the years your events have grown, and you’ve tapped into new markets, including Spain. What do you find unique about Concordia’s arrival in Europe, specifically in Spain? What expectations do you have for the next 10 years?
What feels particularly unique is our ability to provide a forum for nonpartisan debate. Against a backdrop of unprecedented political development, marked by division, fragmentation, and polarization, the European continent is entering a new era. And it feels that Concordia really has a role to play here: to drive progress from an objective, nonpartisan perspective. We’re proud to be working with a really diverse range of corporates, nonprofits, government entities, academic institutions, students, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders, and the opportunity to bring these partners to Spain and, similarly, to bring Spanish and European organizations to New York City during the UN General Assembly week, is of huge importance. Over the next 10 years, we’re looking to grow our network, expand our reach, and further our impact, and I’m confident that—along with our partners—we can achieve this.
To attend the 2020 Concordia Europe – AmChamSpain Summit, click here
About AmChamSpain: The American Chamber of Commerce in Spain (AmChamSpain) is part of the AmCham network distributed in 108 countries, which in turn is part of the US Chamber of Commerce. AmChamSpain is an apolitical and non-profit institution created in 1917, which has about 300 associated companies, among them, the majority of large American companies established in Spain and large Spanish companies with presence in the US, as well as a significant group of SMEs from both countries. As a member-based organization, the Chamber organizes regular encounters with world leaders, businessmen and politicians as part of its ongoing commitment to serving some of America’s largest companies.