We have excellent memories of the first three congresses, both with respect to the quality of the working sessions and the level of enthusiasm of the participants. The Spanish notariat considers the congress to be a key moment for the European notariat, during which we can put our political priorities to national and European policy-makers, the press and our various partners. The Spanish notariat, represented by Mr José Manuel García Collantes, holds the 2017 Presidency of the Council of the Notariats of the European Union. Organising a fourth edition of the congress was therefore naturally high on our agenda for this year.
European citizens are increasingly mobile within the European Union. They expect to live, work, get married and buy property in the European countries of their choice. This tendency is accompanied by the accelerated digitalisation of our daily activities. We all expect to be able to benefit from the opportunities offered by the internal market in the best possible conditions, which means at the lowest cost and with shorter deadlines. In this context, the European notaries are facing an increasing series of challenges, which also represent opportunities: the provision of digital services, digital inheritance, bitcoins and blockchains we are promised will revolutionise real estate transaction systems, etc. We must adapt to our clients’ consumer methods and propose innovative solutions, whilst making sure we guarantee the very essence of our function, i.e. legal certainty. The European institutions also consider these developments in society a priority. The development of the digital market features prominently in the work programme adopted by the Commission, Parliament and the European Council on 13 December 2016. The Congress in Santiago de Compostela will therefore be the ideal place to deal with all these essential issues for the notariat.
In the past decades, the European legislators have been particularly active and have harmonised a certain number of areas: the incorporation of the public limited liability company, mergers, divisions, shareholder rights, the European company, etc. But these rules go back several years and, today, the stakeholders are less enthusiastic about developing new rules. Nevertheless, the Council of the Notariats of the European Union considers that a new European directive on the transfer of company headquarters would satisfy a real need and could benefit from strong public opinion. Such an initiative would put an end to the many legal uncertainties for businesses wishing to develop in the internal market, but also for their partners and creditors. The work of the fourth congress will therefore be a tangible scientific contribution pending a European initiative on the subject. We hope that our call will be heard.
Of course, and as I have stressed, the quality of the programme and the topics debated will make this edition an unmissable event for the notariat. Our colleagues will also have the opportunity to discover a magnificent city, Santiago de Compostela, which is well known for its pilgrimage but also for its many cultural and architectural treasures. The congress will also provide the opportunity for each of us to meet notaries from other countries, to forge friendships and develop professional contacts. Last but not least, it will also be a wonderful message of the notariat’s European unity to send to our national and European policy-makers.