Dear friends,

It has become a tradition for me to keep you posted on what goes on in my life, so here is coverage of the first six months of 2019.

So far 2019 has been more positive for me than the end of 2018. Well,more or less… rather less at the personal level,because Barbara lost her mum (who amazingly managed to pass on her 97st birthday), a very close friend died dedicating his body to science, and the wife of a very good friend also succumbed to a series of mean cancers.  

But on a professional level things developed rather nicely.

Let’s begin with microStart : a completely new team was put in place and is still expanding in order to cope with the growth which is needed, without neglecting the risks that come with it. The work done by microStart ( is precious for society as a whole in Belgium. In 2018 we carried out threeimpact studies and one of the most striking results was that after a period of two years one € invested in microStart yields four €sto the Belgian state! People who start a business are no longer unemployed, they pay social security contributions and they recruit other people. The other financial institutions in Belgium are beginning to realise that they don’t need to be afraid of a competitor given that they are not in the same lineof business and that some of their own clients who wish to embark on a new type of activity might be interested. At the start of my third term as administrator I am as committed as ever. But despite that I shall have to leave the Board at the end of my term, in line with the rules on good governance. If you wish to help making microStart even more successful, enroll for voluntary work.

Now, what about NewB, Olivier? We have submitted a file to the National Bank of Belgium in order to obtain a banking licence. It’s a long (and complex) way to Tipperary but I am confident that at the beginning of 2020 NewB will be able to start a new life as a genuine bank. We shall have to raise funds before the end of the year to reach the minimum capital required and I hope that you will wish to make a contribution to this end. By then I shall have left that Board, too (another third term),because my skills are not essential for a bank at that stage and all the relevant posts have now been filled. But, here again, I shall remain fully committedto making this project work. Join the cooperative, thereby contributing to the success of NewB !  (

Another fascinating commitment is SIREAS. I am very happy that I was able to play a part in the reshuffling of the Board in the course of 2018, and now, at long last, there is also a lawyer on (B)board. Fabien Debarre’s precious skills will be extremely useful for SIREAS ( We are also working towards expanding the management in order to be ready for the future. Once that is achieved I think I will have accomplished the mission my friend Jean Tondeur entrusted me with. The future of SIREAS is highly important given that migration is not likely to abate anytime soon and that the need for integration is key to maintain stability in the Belgian society. I will continue to be a member of the Association and am always available when needed to assist this superb institution and its fantastic staff and administrators as best I can. You can contribute to the success of SIREAS by making a donation or bequest.

On to EMMI, the European Money Market Institute ( . There, too, we recruited a new Secretary General who has scored a first great success with his team : After a long and complex process FSMA has now authorised EMMI to maintain its mission as administratorfor Euribor. Congratulations to him and obviously also to the team!The same process is under way for EONIA. The STEP label continues to be highly successful. The next step will be to consolidate the teams and to start reflecting on how to diversify their activities.

And Emergency, Olivier ? are you still involved?Yes, I am still a member of the Board. But there is less work now as the organisation in Italy is reconsidering the role of their entities abroad which makes it difficult to develop a strategy for our action. But there is progress and we’ll have a clearer view of our role soon. (

As the true European you are, Olivier, are you stillworking for Alumni Europae, the association of former students of the European Schools? Of course I am! Our President Reinhold put in a lot of work and the organisation has become much more visible. It still relies exclusively on volunteers and we will need to find the means to recruit someone. We are confident that we’ll get there and we draw hope from the fact that one of our former students has been appointed as Head of the European Commission.Ursula von der Leyen was indeed raised in Brussels and went to one the European Schools (  

And finally I have decided to join the Board of APO.G ( I enjoy staying posted and up-to date with regards to the topical issues and challenges of our times, and once per month our group invites a person who specialises in the areas we are interested in to come and speak to us. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to become a member.

To conclude the review of my activities I should mention that my friend Emmanuel Mossay has asked me to join the Advisory Board of Manufast, the largest company offering work adapted to people with disabilities in Brussels, in order to help reflecting on the future of the organisation. (

And what about your paradise in the Dordogne, Olivier ? Well, this is where I am right now, at « Les Cèdres» where Barbara and I are spendingan extended vacation. As always and as has been a tradition for over 20 years now, friends drop in to stay a few days and sometimes even weeks. We are looking for a sixth member to complete the team. If you are interested in preparing the future as part of our group, get in touch! (

So there we are. Of course we still sing in the Chorale del’Optimistan and also in another, new choir where we learn to sing Mozart’s Requiem! Come and join us if you enjoy singing !

I wish you all wonderful holidays and look forward to seeing you again soon!

Olivier, Les Cèdres, July 2019

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