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Meeting with European Institutions

“High-level meeting of ONCE, its Foundation and Ilunion with European Institutions”

 

BRUSSELS, 10-11 NOVEMBER 2015

A representation from ONCE, its Foundation and ILUNION, its social corporate group visited Brussels from 9 to 11 November.  The agenda was intense and the objective was to inform EU authorities about their social model, which allows multiplying in our country the effects of the European social funds investments for people with disabilities.  They had meetings with Commissioners Marianne Thyssen, Tibor Navracsics and Miguel Arias Cañete; Deputy Permanent Ambassador in Spain’s Permanent Representation to the EU Council, Juan de Arístegui; EP Vice-President Ramón Luis Valcárcel, among others; and other important European Parliament members, as well as members of disability representative organisations in Belgium.  The European leaders coincided in their appraisal of this model social projection, which “jumps borders” with the objective of a more inclusive Europe.

Political and institutional support

The President of ONCE and its Foundation, Miguel Carballeda, made an openly satisfactory assessment of the visit.  First of all, he emphasized the way our Organisation had maintained direct contacts in recent months with up to five EU Commissioners, to explain to them our situation and objectives and also to claim respect for responsible gaming models such as ONCE’s, which is the main financing source of the organisation.

With reference to social gaming, ONCE Director General, Ángel Sánchez, insisted on the need to work with all EU commissions to defend the indispensable contribution to a social Europe of the so-called ‘good cause lotteries’, as opposed to private agents.  In the course of the meeting with Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, at Brussels headquarters of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg, our delegation presented the social inclusion model it supports with the co-management of the European Social Fund (ESF).

Alliance in defence of diversity

ONCE Foundation Vice-President and ILUNION President, Alberto Durán, agreed that, this “strong alliance” of EU and Spanish authorities with our organisation (as manager of ESF operational programmes), allows “to support employment and training networks with other public and private agents in Spain and in Europe”.

With a passionate justification of the spreading throughout Europe of “diverse societies”, Miguel Carballeda culminated the last day of the visit with two meetings with Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, and Commissioner for Climate Action & Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete from Spain.  During the meeting with Commissioner Navracsics further information was given on progress made in the field of education in Spain.

For his part, Commissioner Arias Cañete was pleasantly surprised by the work carried out by ONCE and its Foundation abroad and by the positive outcome of the initiative to group its social companies under the ILUNION brand, with the ability to create in excess of 33,000 jobs, with more than 30% of them held by people with disabilities.

Sectorial meetings

ONCE’s visit to Brussels allowed also holding two interesting sessions.  The first one (“Regulating Gaming and Lotteries in the Single Market”) highlighted the need for a regulation granting more consumer protection, fighting against illegal gaming and preserving interests of social games such as ONCE’s.  ONCE General Council Vice-President, José Luis Pinto; ONCE Director General, Ángel Sánchez; European Lotteries President, Hansjörg Höltkemeier; and Spanish MEPs Jonás Fernández and Antonio López Istúriz took part in the event.

The session on “Economic and Social Impact of Employment of Persons with Disabilities”, held on European Parliament premises, permitted three ILUNION employees to show their own personal experience of employment ‘capacity’.  MEPs Rosa Estaràs and Javier López; EC Manager for Social Economy Policies and Entrepreneurship, Patrick Klein; and ILUNION main officers, Alberto Durán (President) and Alejandro Oñoro (Chief Executive Officer) were present on that occasion.