First Speech of the newly elected President of CEPLIS, Mr. Gaetano Stella

Porto, meeting of CEPLIS General Assembly – 31st of May 2019

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Don’t worry, this won’t be a long speech and we’ll soon have a lunch break, before the second part of the day.

First of all, I would like to sincerely thank you all for your confidence in the organization I represent, Confprofessioni, and in my person, to hold the Presidency of CEPLIS till May 2022. Allow me just to say that I am very conscious that the important raise of our visibility, of our reputation and of the results of our lobbying in Brussels, due to the good work of the former President and of his Board, very efficiently seconded by our efficient team of the Secretariat and our General Director, makes my task more demanding, because I am called to maintain and improve what is already a good result.

This Board is beginning its mandate at the same time with the newly-elected European Parliament and the College of Commissioners that is going to be confirmed by the EP this Autumn. The challenges the EU is currently facing are amongst the most serious of its history: unable to match its huge economic importance to a correspondent role on the scene of international politics. Europe – the biggest free market of the world established on the principles of democracy – gives the impression of a weak giant, whose amazing potential is undermined by a chronic internal dysfunction, due to bureaucracy, lack of leadership and consequent uncertainties as regards the future of the economy and its growth. Our professions are close to our clients and patients, the EU citizens, we are the first to observe the results of the systems’ shortcomings and the first to suffer from them as well.

During the recent election campaign, Confprofessioni drafted a political Manifesto concerning the liberal professionals’ proposals and priorities for the future Parliament. The Manifesto has been endorsed by several candidates and sixteen of them will be members of the new legislative body. It is a great result and we will work together to achieve the goals for all liberal professionals. As we all belong to CEPLIS, we should contact, cooperate and share our priorities also with your elected members in order to develop policies and strategies supporting liberal professions all over European Union.

I believe I am not the only one who feels that a very important field of challenges lies in front of us: digitalization, integration in a sustainable social dialogue, entrepreneurship respectful to our specificities, security regarding the economic growth, emphasis on efficient politics of welfare and health-related assistance, better cross-border mobility, eradication of gender-based discrimination, are just some of the most important of them. Of course, our organisations have been already working on these issues, but it is very important that we also have this precious forum that is CEPLIS, bringing together the national inter-professional bodies with the European representations of each profession and giving us a common, more valuable, more recognized, more efficient voice when dealing with the European institutions.

In the three years to come, we should work all together to increase CEPLIS actions in order to reinforce our professions and the values we stand for. I will begin with a lot of enthusiasm and the certainty to be proud of us. I am closing these thoughts I wanted to share with you, announcing you my decision to propose to vote as our First Vice-president, for the very first time, a lady, our colleague Professor Victoria Ortega from UP Spain. Currently, women are fighting more than ever to eliminate the last traces of a past we should not be so proud of as men, I feel we, liberal professionals, owe to our lady-colleagues a sign and an important message: we are equal and stronger when working together! I propose to the newly elected Board members and to all of you to have her elected by acclamation.

Finally, let me propose to this Assembly the election of our very efficient former President Mr. Rudolf Kolbe to the position of President of honor of CEPLIS. This is a way to say thank you but also to continue to benefit his advices during our Board meetings. I hope that this nomination will be also accepted by acclamation.

Thank you again for your trust!