Report of the President of CEPLIS, Mr. Rudolf KOLBE on the evolutions relating to the main axes of work of our organisation during the first semester of 2018


Report of the President of CEPLIS, Mr. Rudolf KOLBE on the evolutions relating to the main axes of work of our organisation during the first semester of 2018.

Chers collègues, Chers amis,

C’est un véritable plaisir pour moi d’ouvrir aujourd’hui les travaux de notre Assemblée générale dans la splendide capitale de la France, la Ville Lumière, Paris, un des centres les plus brillants de culture, de musique, de science, de littérature, de coopération internationale et de civilisation dans le monde entier.

Mon plaisir est encore plus grand car nous sommes ici les hôtes de nos collègues de l’Union Nationale des Associations des Professions Libérales de la France, qui constitue la voix de nos professions dans ce grand et beau pays et qui est en même temps une des premières associations inter-professionelles nationales qui ont compris le rôle capitale de l’Europe pour l’avenir de notre secteur. L’UNAPL est un des membres fondateurs du CEPLIS, elle a exercé sa Présidence durant très nombreuses années et elle est encore aujourd’hui un des membres les plus actifs et les plus engagés de notre Conseil.

Un grand merci à vous cher President Chassang et à vos collaborateurs pour le magnifique répas de hier soir, pour votre très aimable accueil, pour votre hospitalité, pour votre générosité et surtout pour votre engagement européen, pour votre leadership vers une Europe des professions libérales.

I will have unfortunately to pass from the language of Molière to that of Shakespeare for my report of our activities, “mon français n’est pas encore parfait”!

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I am very aware of the fact that I become somewhat repetitive by saying that I am very satisfied with the work of our organisation. And yet it is the truth. Since ou last meeting, the 30th of November 2017 in Rome – yet another splendid city, we have advanced our interests in all the three axes of work that were decided at our last meeting.

More specifically, we have strengthened the Core Values of our professions thanks to our Centre of Excellence on Professional Ethics in Malta. Professor Dr. Benoît Rihoux, who is one of our speakers this afternoon, will give you more detailed information about the Centre’s activities. I must, from my side, remind you the very successful conference organised by it in Malta the 16th of last March, the Centre’s second one since its opening last year. We look forward to seeing a number of publications and proposals coming out of its meetings. It is significant that both Professors Rihoux and Koutroubas were invited this last January by the University of Montréal to represent the Centre at a round table discussing the link between professional and political ethics. We are creating a reputation around and I am confident that we are going to see soon concrete fruits.

Needless of course to mention that Ben Rizzo and I are always using our position within the European Economic and Social Committee in order to promote our Common values. At the extraordinary meeting of the Committee’s Groupe III in Rome last December, these values where very present both in the speech of our Director General and in the pannel I have chaired at the begining of the Day.

Regarding Networking and Public Affairs I am pleased to report that we had two very fruitful meetings with the European Commission’s DG Growth Unit for Professional Regulations since our last General Assembly. The objective was to discuss issues raised up by our membership, to feed back to the Working Group on CTFs that Simone is chairng with such efficiency and dedication and of course to discuss the process of adoption of the “Proportionality” Directive Proposal, the adoption of which is a matter of weeks.

At the level of the European Parliament we have maintained very close contact with the offices of the MEPs who have supported our positions last September, notable Messrs Danti, Swab and Karas. We hope that we’ll be able to coorganise with them another breakfast event once the “Proportionality” Directive is officially adopted and exchange thoughts on the way forward.

At the level of the Council, I must salute the initiative of our First Vice-president and dear Colleague, Mr. Gaetano Stella, to begin a visit of a delegation of professionals of his country to the one occupying the rotating Presidency every six months associating CEPLIS to this event by inviting our Director General to join the Confprofessioni delegation. Some weeks ago, at the begining of May, Gaetano and Theo have met in Sofia with the competent Minister of the Bulgarian government, several professional organisations as well as various other government officials. Awareness was raised to all on our Common Values – again with our booklet serving as an excellent visit card – and on our positions on the various issues at stake for us. This was good lobbying and I look forward to its fruits.

Finally, at the level of the European Economic and Social Committee I am very proud to report my own election as co-spokesperson of the newly created category “Liberal Professions” within the Group III. Along with other colleagues we have worked hard to establish this category and we are now actively preparing a Day of the Liberal Professions, an important event for our sector, which is scheduled to be held the 27th of this coming November in Brussels. I am more than confident that CEPLIS is going to play a very important role in this event and of course, the presence of Group III’s President amongst our speakers of this afternoon is no coincidence!

Let me also mention the European project on Social Dialogue for the Sustainability of European Professional Practice in which CEPLIS and some of our member organisations are actively involved under the leadership of Confprofessioni. Having granted this project by the European Commission was a big success and a fruit of careful planning and good work. One general meeting was already held in Rome and Professor Koutroubas, who is representing us there is telling me that should be expecting very fruitful results. Most of all, the prject is a proof that we can do many great things if we built up synergies between CEPLIS and our associations at the national and European levels. Participating in more EU funded projects must become one of our main aims in the future!

I guess that you have already seen that by doing all of the above we are not only monitoring but indeed efficiently following and influencing the ongoing legislative processes and trends with an impact to our sector. Our Working Groups are actively assisting professions to benefit from the opportunities provided for and to deal with the challenges created by the different EU Directives, our Telegram brings news from the EU institutions and from the national and local events relevant to our professions, our Secretariat, the good work of which I am once more happy to salute at this meeting, is at the service of each one of our members discretely when it is needed and efficiently.

Including in what regards Brexit and its challenges CEPLIS is next to you with interesting articles from the other side of the Channel, bringing you the different views of our British friends and helping you to monitor evolutions.

All this is of course happening thanks to your support and I would like to thank here all those associations who paid on time their subscription fees enabling us to continue and multiply our activities and to pay our collaborators for their very good work.

This is a mid-year report and yet, you have seen it, it is quite pleasant to read since we feel we have done our duty. My fellow Board Members and our dear Director who repeats that I am never pleased will forgive me however to say once more that there is always the word “better” after the word “good” and even the word “excellent” after the word “better”. I sincerely hope dear friends and colleagues that in six months time I shall be reporting again to you with even “better” news!


Rudolf Kolbe

Président of CEPLIS


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