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Warsaw congress set to drive new professional standards

Warsaw congress set to drive new professional standards (Forimmediaterelease.net) The genial Polish capital, Warsaw, will become one of “New Europe’s” pivotal meeting places when it welcomes delegates for the 3rd General Assembly and Annual Congress of the European Federation of the Associations of PCOs from January 10 to 12, 2008.

EFAPCO plans to kick-start the New Year with an action-packed three-day programme featuring headline speakers drawn from every sector of the European meetings industry.

EFAPCO’s President Julio Abreu said: “Our previous Congresses took place in Madrid and Athens, so it is entirely appropriate that our 3rd Congress should be taking place in a city which is now at the forefront of bringing Eastern European countries to the attention of meeting planners across the World.

“We have put together an exciting business programme and I know our Polish hosts have prepared a great social and networking programme. The invitation to join us for this European Summit of the meetings industry is open to all EFAPCO members and all our industry colleagues,” he added.

The Congress aims to:
• Showcase EFAPCO as a unique organisation in the meetings and events sector.
• Demonstrate best practice in the PCO business and help participants to learn from others’ experiences, both positive and negative.
• Encourage all participants to share their experiences in a truly professional environment.
• Update everyone on all relevant pan-European issues of the day.

Julio Abreu added: “We are looking forward to up-to-the-minute progress reports on our developing relations with the European Union, and on a new Code of Ethics which is being devised to help PCOs improve their own professional standards and their working relationships with other PCOs, fellow suppliers and our clients.

“EFAPCO was the first PCO-based body to be invited to join the WTO’s Affiliate Members Council.

“And now the Federation is also looking closely at the issue of common standards between our member associations, especially regarding the charters, status and working practices of PCOs. We are working with CEN (the official standardisation body for Europe) to identify common points and draw up minimum requirements for a code of quality and ethics,” he said.

“This will be one of the most effective ways for PCOs to become recognised as a genuine profession by the EU.

“Our Spanish member association, OPC, is also co-operating with the International Standards Organisation (ISO) to establish official quality standards in Spain. Putting a well-defined “Q” into the term “Quality”. One of our first successes has been the recognition of OPC as an official professional body, by one of Spain’s autonomous regional governments.

“Ultimately, we would like to create a common European standard which is recognised by the EU, so that clients and suppliers know exactly what to expect from a PCO - right down to details like back-up systems, education of staff, languages spoken. It will require a delicate balance between the internal needs of PCOs and the requirements of their clients.”

The Warsaw gathering brings together a wide range of European, national and professional organisations including the European Parliament, the WTO, the European Commission, specialist exhibitions like IMEX and EIBTM, international associations, plus private sector operators including hotels and airlines.

For additional information contact: Robin Anderson, Editorial Consultant EFAPCO. Tel: 44 (0)1670 523 568. Email: info@ra-a.demon.co.uk.

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