IX BGI Annual Conference 2006 - Munich, Germany

The Ninth BGI Annual Conference took place between 24th and 28th May last in Munich at the luxurious Hotel Bayerischer Hof, which is located in the very heart of the city. The hotel was quite luxurious and offered some tastefully decorated rooms. Furthermore, it boasted creative cuisine restaurants, bars, shops, a gym, a conference hall and a spectacular spa overlooking Munich, among other services.

Date 04/06/2006

The Conference was attended by all of BGI's members, including its new members from Bulgaria and Rumania and the new candidates from Canada and Greece. Our colleague from Mexico, Mr. Ignacio Armida, was unable to attend for personal reasons. The host on this occasion, Mr. Manfred Prymusala, from Dr. Prymusala & Colleagues, Munich, together with his wife, Mrs. Christiane Müller, welcomed us on the evening of 24th May with a marvellous cocktail at the "Tabacco Bar", a cosy bar opposite the hotel. We all enjoyed a marvellous evening, this being the ideal moment for BGI members, Conference participants and guests to exchange ideas and opinions from the very beginning, within the traditional friendly and family-like atmosphere that characterises all BGI meetings and conferences.

The following day marked the beginning of the Ninth BGI Conference, which took place at the Seehaus Conference Hall on the shores of the Starnberger Lake. The Conference was inaugurated by our host, Mr. Manfred Prymusala, who offered the Conference participants a warm welcome to Munich.

Then the President of BGI, Mr. Juan Luis Balmaseda de Ahumada, welcomed all of the BGI members and our new members, Mr. Manuel Muñiz Bernuy, Mr. Filip Todorov and Mr. Manuel Villa, from Muñiz Bernuy, Balms & Todorov Law Firm, as well as Mr. Mihai Mares, from Muñiz Bernuy, Balms & Mares Law Firm. Our host member then once again took the floor in order to present a number of considerations regarding the Justice Department of Bavaria.

The cycle of papers then began, kicking off with a contribution from Mr. Jörg Zander, a lawyer from Dr. Prymusala & Colleagues, on "Legal Foundations for Medium-Sized Companies in Germany".

Then Mr. Cristina Westphal, a tax advisor from the Tax Collection Agency of Westphalia, Munich and Dresden, presented a paper on "Tax Law Regarding Medium-Sized Companies in Germany".

Following a coffee-break, the session continued with a paper from Dr. Ralf Perrey, a patents lawyers and senior partner at Müller-Borée & Colleagues (Munich), who offered us a contribution on "The Importance of Patents Law and Its Institutions for Medium-Sized Companies".

At 12.00 p.m., all of the Conference participants strolled outside the conference room in order to take part in the traditional group photo on the shores of the Starnberger Lake. The participants then went down to the ground floor of the centre in order to enjoy a buffet-type lunch featuring typical Bavarian specialities.

After lunch, the session resumed with a contribution from Mr. Keith Janes, the Head of Business English Coaching Ltd., regarding "The Importance of Using English at Medium-Sized Companies and Regarding Cultural and Communicative Aspects within the Area of Negotiations and the Resolution of Difficulties in Europe Today".

This was followed by a paper from Mr. Maximilian Grauvogl, the Manager of Obermeyer Planen + Beraten GMBH, who tackled the topic of "Opportunities and Risks for Medium-Sized Companies in Germany: The Opinion of a Businessman". After another break for coffee, the session concluded with an address by Dr. Lichtmann.

The first day of the Conference ended at 4.00 p.m.

The participants then returned by coach to the hotel, where we had a little time to relax. At around 5.00 p.m., the Conference participants and their spouses boarded the bus in order to travel to the Palace of Au. There we were welcomed, among others, by the owners of the palace, Baron Eugen Beck von Peccoz and his wife, the Mayor of Au, Mr. Karl Ecker, as well as the District Administrator, Mr. Manfred Pointner, not to mention the Bavarian music band that enlivened the proceedings throughout the evening. At the palace we enjoyed a "Little Oktoberfest" party in the hunting room, accompanied by music and beer.

The second day of the Conference was set aside for the President's Report, which encompassed the following points, among others: a reading of the Audit Report for 2005 carried out by Fay & Co; presentation and approval of the BGI accounts for 2005; presentation and approval of the budget for the year 2006. By means of a series of graphical images, the President then illustrated the network's development regarding the number of referred cases among BGI members and outlined the objectives that had been established for the year 2005.

Later on, the President presented the new BGI web page and encouraged all members to make every effort to search for new candidates and future members of BGI.

He also welcomed and officially incorporated our new members from Bulgaria, Mr. Manuel Muñiz Bernuy, Mr. Filip Todorov and Mr. Manuel Villa, from the company, Muñiz Bernuy, Balms & Todorov Law Firm, as well as our new member from Romania, Mr. Mihai Mares, from the company, Muñiz Bernuy, Balms & Mares Law Firm.

Following a long morning pursuing Conference business, the participants joined their spouses for lunch at the Seehaus. We then boarded a coach in order to view the spectacular Castle of Neuschwanstein in Füssen. Upon arrival, we boarded a series of horse-drawn carriages up to the castle, where a guide was waiting to show us around the building.

At around 6.00 p.m., we went on to a beautiful panoramic restaurant, where we enjoyed a marvellous dinner featuring spectacular views of the castle and the lake. We then went on to the theatre, where we saw the musical, King Ludwig II, from the royal balcony. This was a truly magical evening.

The third and last day of the Ninth BGI Conference was opened on Saturday 27th May by Mr. Juan Luis Balmaseda de Ahumada.

In a very relaxed working atmosphere, we got together at the traditional Franziskaner Restaurant. Due to the layout of the restaurant, we were unable to form a semi-circle, and so the meeting was organised around a number of small roundtables. We began by discussing the new magazine on Property Law and other new projects for the network. The proposals included the idea of staging two annual meetings a year, with the second meeting being shorter than the first (a maximum two days). We ended the session with questions and other miscellaneous business and a closing address by our President, Mr. Juan Luis Balmaseda de Ahumada.

Once the session had concluded, the Conference participants and their guests lunched together at the restaurant, enjoying typical Weißwurst and Leberkässe sausages accompanied by a refreshing beer. After lunch, a guided visit around the city had been organised, although many of the Conference participants chose to enjoy a little free time.

In the evening, we travelled by coach to the Seehaus Restaurant, where we enjoyed the traditional BGI Gala Dinner in the "English Garden". Dressed in our finest even-wear, we savoured an unforgettable evening accompanied by harp music. Various BGI members even took to the stage in order to improvise a few a capella songs. A bouquet of flowers was presented to our hostess, Mrs. Christiane Müller. Various participants stood up to thank the hosts for our stay in Munich, including the President of Balms Group International, who perfectly captured the profound sense of gratitude we all felt for the warm welcome offered by Dr. Prymusala & Colleagues. Dr. Prymusala was also presented with a BGI commemorative plaque, whilst our new members from Bulgaria and Rumania were also presented with plaques so that they could identify themselves as members of Balms Group International. A member from Balms Abogados, Ms. Katja Blackmer, was surprised with a birthday cake.

Furthermore, our member, Mr. Hervé Lehman, confirmed that the Tenth BGI Conference would take place in Paris.

On Sunday morning, various members of the group got together to say "goodbye" until the following year.

In this respect, we looked forward to meeting again the following year in Paris, as part of the great BGI family.

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