On 22 October at the Garrigues head offices in Madrid, the Leading Brands of Spain Forum (FMRE) and the financial newspaper Expansion held a debate on whether to pursue a policy of competitiveness for European brands in the first half of 2010 to coincide with the Spanish Presidency of the EU. The meeting was organised with the support of the Secretary of State of the EU and attended by Antonio Garrigues and by the Secretary of State Diego López Garrido, as well as representatives from leading brands such as Juan José Guibelalde, CEO of Campofrío; Miguel Ángel Martínez, Corporate Development Director at GMV; Julián Villanueva, Director of the Marketing Department at IESE Business School; Eddie Ross, Corporate Marketing Director at Amadeus IT Group; and Gonzalo Brujó, CEO of Interbrand Spain. The debate was moderated by Miguel Otero, the Managing Director of FMRE. One of the conclusions reached was that the Spanish presidency of the EU in the first half of 2010 is an ideal opportunity for Spain to promote and lead the policy at European level. The leading European brands have shared interests, goals and challenges both domestically and in other international markets. They are also a strategic asset for European competitiveness and an essential leverage for the international image of the EU: the ‘EU brand’. Ensuring their strength and competitiveness and leveraging themselves on their key attributes and image values is an obligation and an opportunity for European authorities, which are aware that the 'Union' builds strength. This European initiative promoted and led by Spain would positively affect Spain’s nation brand. On 16 November, the financial newspaper Expansion ran a big double-page spread entitled (“The Spanish brands want to propel ‘Made in Europe”). The article contained some of the ideas and proposals submitted during the debate, which was followed by another meeting on “The European brands and the EU: legal protection and combating piracy” held on 6 November, involving experts and senior representatives from business and government.

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