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Being the change we want

For most of us, the thought of tiny Malta holding the European Council presidency was a distant notion, a near impossible idea to even imagine, let alone experience. And yet, here we are today, living a historic moment, witnessing a milestone achievement.

This will mean nothing if we as citizens do not do our part. We are being called to become protagonists through active participation by understanding the challenges, the threats and the opportunities that lie ahead and to find solutions together.

Perhaps this explains why I am so proud to chair a proactive company like Paragon Europe at this point in time. Paragon Europe always understood and embraced the immeasurable opportunities that EU accession would bring to Malta and through the vision of Anton Theuma wanted to grasp these opportunities to help those with a mission to bring change in their community.

Through dedication, hard work, innovation and a lot of travel, Paragon Europe is a Maltese company with the professional will and integrity to contribute both in Malta and in Europe, to the objectives of the EU social agenda and the ‘headline targets’ of the Europe 2020 Strategy.

It is in this spirit that our company started looking at Malta’s presidency and asking itself: “What can we bring to Malta at this very special moment in time? How could we leverage 13 years of experience in important areas such as education and training, sustainable development and environment, energy, climate, transport and water, cultural heritage and tourism, social inclusion, ICT, innovation and entrepreneurship?”

This is where we took the decision to adopt an active role by doing what the company does best: building collaboration with our networks and to address important issues concerning corporate governance, climate change, transport, energy, innovation funding, intrapreneurship and unemployment through a series of milestone conferences.

At Paragon Europe, we want to positively change our world for the better through assisting local and European regional stakeholders in sourcing EU funding or financial instruments to implement EU projects, bringing professional excellence to bear on behalf of the community.

Our commitment is now being extended to Malta’s presidency and we have just launched a calendar of conferences that will be held over the coming months as part of Malta’s official EU presidency programme.

We are looking at the main three priorities of Malta’s presidency namely the Mediterranean, maritime and migration. We plan to deliver high-profile conferences with world-class speakers on corporate governance, circular economy, urbanisation, access to finance and more, bringing together key stakeholders from national governments, corporate and civil society.

The first conference, the 20th European Corporate Governance Conference is being hosted on behalf of the Institute of Directors Malta Branch together with ecoDa and with the support of European Issuers, Business Europe, EY EAME as a major sponsor and DG Justice, endorsed by the Ministry of Finance under the auspices of the Malta presidency.

This May 4 conference in Malta will explore corporate governance as a tool for rebuilding trust, generating shareholder value, redefining the CSR debate while discussing recent changes in corporate governance in the global context in relation to digitalisation processes as foreseen in DG Justice’s Green Paper on Company Law which is expected to go before the European Parliament in November. More than 200 European directors, chairmen, CEOs and non-executives are expected to attend, supplemented by local experts and directors.

The second conference, being led by Paragon Europe executive director Nadia Theuma, is ‘Towards a Zero Carbon Economy in the Mediterranean and Beyond’, organised in conjunction with the EU’s Climate-KIC project and with the support of the Maltese Ministry for Sustainable Development, Environment and Climate Change. This event will tackle global warming. If climate change is not mitigated, within the next 30 years Malta could be very different to how we know it today.

It will also discuss how innovation will be playing an extremely important role in confronting the challenges of climate change and how challenge-led innovation is confronting climate change.

Malta’s EU presidency is happening at a very complex time for EU integration and Malta is the last Mediterranean country to hold the presidency before 2020.

This is an opportunity for the Mediterranean region and Paragon Europe has found a leading role to raise the profile of important issues in this historic time for Malta.

Edwin Ward is chairman of Paragon Europe.

www.paragonevents.eu

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