“we want … to become even more visible”

An advocate for European business

Valerie Moschetti, new chief operating officer at the EBC

 


April 2020 EBC Update / Text by Andrew Howitt


Born in Lebanon, raised in Algeria,and educated in France, the French citizen Valerie Moschetti joined the EBC management in February as chief operating officer. It is a role that perfectly unites two of her skill sets: a deep knowledge of the EU and extensive experience advocating for European business interests. She studied political science with a special focus on EU law, economics, and politics; completed a Master’s in intercultural management and communication; and did business development and strategy for a decade in Africa. Since coming to Japan, she has worked at the EU–Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation, the construction materials company Saint Gobain, and the mealvoucher firm Edenred.

Could you tell me about your past involvement in the EBC?

I worked for Saint Gobain from 2011 to 2016, and my role was to convince the Japanese government that, in a post-Fukushima era, it would be very important to care more about conserving energy, particularly energy in buildings. At the time, there was no regulation for house insulation in Japan. I used case studies from Europe to show government representatives that using insulation would improve living conditions and help to reduce the need for energy imports.

I met Bjorn Kongstad, EBC chief policy director, who told me the EBC could help us, so I joined the Construction Committee in 2013. It was a good complement to our internal advocacy work. After a year as a member, the chairperson stepped down and I was asked to chair the committee. EBC committees give you the opportunity to meet a lot of people, including directors-general from the EU Commission and even commissioners, so when there’s a hot topic, you can tell them directly.

In 2015, the Japanese government passed a regulation requiring a minimum amount of insulation in buildings.

What are some of your goals for the new EBC?

Since I arrived, a new constitution has been adopted, and we have a new logo and website, which will help us to improve our communications. What we want now is to become even more visible. We recently started EBC Briefings, which are events that will help us to raise awareness of the work of the EBC and what our committees are working on. Even with the EU–Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, there are still problems for businesses between the EU and Japan, so we have a role to play in advocacy. We hope that these activities will also convince more companies to join our committees.

I believe we also need to become more reactive. For example, when one of our committees identifies a problem, we should act immediately and in a variety of ways. It could be by sending out a press release, making a recommendation through the European delegation to the EU Commission, or organising a meeting with the ministry concerned.

I’m convinced about the importance of the European Union, so I’m really happy to have the chance to help European businesses in Japan.

What are some of your interests?

I love African art, in particular masks. They are not designed to be seen as works of art, but to be used during ritual social or religious ceremonies. A mask embodies a character who represents both a deity and a force in human society. Its wearer is invested with attributes recognised for this divine and social force. When I’m in Paris, I often go to the Musée du quai Branly — Jacques Chirac. It’s a wonderful place. •

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