(Texte uniquement disponible en anglais)
Mr Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,
This reception at the Toronto Club is clearly one of the highlights of our economic mission to Canada. I am very grateful to the Club and to Mr Thornburn for organizing and hosting this event.
Direct contacts between leaders are essential for new partnerships to flourish. We want to create more and better ties between Canadian and Belgian entrepreneurs. The Toronto Club is the ideal venue for that. I thank the Canadian CEOs for their presence and for their interest in Belgium.
Lawyers are key players and intermediaries in today?s complex economic environment. It is appropriate therefore that Blake, Cassels & Graydon should be at the centre of attention here tonight.
But what I want to tell our Canadian hosts above all, is that Belgium is itself worth looking at. Earlier today I mentioned four keywords : location, Europe, workforce, innovation. Location at the crossroads of Europe?s main trading routes. Headquarters of Europe?s key economic and political decision makers, the European Union. A multilingual productive flexible highly-skilled workforce. And a determination to innovate, with young scientists creating spin-off companies closely linked to universities and research centres, and these spin-offs growing fast into companies emerging strongly in niche markets.
That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is Belgium today. Take a close look at it. Weigh our assets, judge our enthusiasm. We?re worth it! Thank you.