Fedactio @ Paleizenstraat 27, 1030 Schaarbeek, België
European Professionals Network (EPN) organised its 6th breakfast talks series on Sunday, 25 March with the participation of Ms. Guler TURAN as the guest speaker.
Guler Turan was born in Gent in 1975 as the daughter of a migrant Turkish family of the first generation in Belgium. She studied law as bachelor and business law as master`s degree and then opened her own law office in 2002 in Antwerpen. in 2006, she made the first step in politics by being elected as a city councilor in Antwerpen municipality and in 2009 she achieved to be elected as the member of Flemish Parliament. Her areas of competence are as follows: Employment, Economy and Housing, special youth-care and fight against poverty.
She has also been named as the senator in 2010 and has taken an active role in the justice committee. The distinguishing point of Guler is the fact that she became the first alderman with a migrant background within a fairly nationalist Flemish region, namely Antwerp. She is now responsible for the areas of housing, youth and the development of peaceful coexistence. In order to realise this post, she quitted her position as the senator Now, she is the member of Flemish Parliament and the alderman in Antwerp municipality.
After an open-buffet breakfast where participants enjoyed the delicious food, Guler took the floor and made her presentation.
She opened her speech by insisting on the important role that women can play in our society if we go one step further and give them equal chances and equal treatment. Her second point of focus during the introduction was that it was extremely crucial to provide a sustainable social progress within migrant communities as she described it “to get them one-level higher”. In this context, high-educated professionals have important tasks on their shoulders and they have to feel this responsibility and act upon it.
As she went into the core of the subject, she explained the general economic overview of Belgium and said that the Flemish economy, with its GNP figures and export rates, was the main economy within Belgian federal system.
She supported her views by giving some statistics like the unemployment rate within Flemish region which is %6,9 while it is %15,7 in Wallonian region after the financial crisis. Another statistic is that the %70 of the GNP of Belgium is made up by the Flemish economy and the %80 of the Belgian exports are realised within Flemish region. The export rate of Wallonian region is about %18 while the one of Brussels is miserably %2.
Guler listed the critical factors that are making Flemish economy so strong as its strategic location, the port of Antwerp, diamond sector, strong and dynamic SMEs and the strategic sectors like petrochemistry, biotechnology, logistics, food industry and ICT. The human capital with distinguished educational and multilingual capacities is also what is making Flemish economy so strong and dynamic.
With a total number of 514.262, the SMEs in Flemish region represent almost %60 throughout Belgium while SMEs in the Wallonian region represent nearly %28 and in Brussels %12.
She also explained that Flemish authorities are pushing hard to support the SMEs and start-ups by financially and logistically assisting them. There are many attractive packages for both starters and SMEs within Flemish region starting from €15000 to €25000 in the form of grants and €250million total budget in the form of Archimedes fonds.
The programme continued with Q&A session…