Interview with László Ignéczi, Director of the Agency for Support for BEREC

The International Women’s Club of Riga have the pleasure to invite you to participate in our Annual Christmas bazaar, which is a timeless and much loved-tradition in Riga, bringing together Embassies, organisations, charities and local businesses to celebrate the Christmas season and support local charities.

The IWCR invites the local and international community to partake of an international experience– while staying at home and safe in Latvia. Visitors will enjoy an international experience with the Online Auction in early December where you will be able to purchase items

From December 6th until 12th we invite you to visit the online auction platform to do your Christmas shopping while sitting in your home. The auction offers high valuable goods and intercultural experiences through an online bidding process.

Preview the items to write your shopping list:

We are very grateful for Agency for Support for BEREC (the BEREC Office), supporting our efforts by providing the technical solution. Today, we met virtually with László Ignéczi, Director of the Agency for Support for BEREC and our President for the International Women’s Club of Riga, Gabriella Furusjo Temel.

The only EU agency in Latvia – BEREC Office – is looking forward to starting the auction on December 6th.

To find out more about the IWCR Christmas Journey 2021 and fundraising activities to support charities in Latvia, please click on the link

IWCR: László, would you please describe BEREC’s mission in Europe and why Latvia was chosen as the place to set up the EU agency for regulating telecommunications?

Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communication’s (BEREC) mission is to contribute to the development and better functioning of the Digital Single Market throughout the European Union.  It is done by ensuring the consistent application of the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications markets.  Experts from the National Regulatory Authorities work together in BEREC’s different working groups on the subjects of roaming, open internet, intra-EU calls and SMS, and numerous other topics. BEREC is also providing input to a new regulation for over-the-top services such as WhatsApp, Viber, and Skype.  

Here in Latvia, Riga is hosting the Agency for Support for BEREC. BEREC Office’s main task – as it derives from its name – is to provide professional and administrative support to BEREC. Regarding its location, it was the Latvian authorities that showed great interest and were very determined throughout the negotiations with the EU.  Upon meeting the specified requirements, Latvia was selected to establish the headquarters for the Agency.

IWCR: László, what does BEREC aim to achieve in Europe with its focus on communication and technology? How will this benefit European citizens in the future?

BEREC sets the scene for the future of the European telecoms landscape. One of its main objectives is to ensure the consistent application of EU telecoms rules in the interests of both consumers and businesses. Therefore BEREC contributes to the improvement of communication networks and services both within and between EU countries. Needless to say, the COVID-19 crisis has clearly demonstrated that connectivity is essential and a must-have for all parts of society. BEREC will thoroughly continue analysing the experience gained during this ongoing crisis, including quantitative and qualitative research on the impact on the digital ecosystem, sustainability and the digital divide, to draw conclusions and lessons, notably to further strengthen Europe’s digital capabilities.  The people of Europe will definitely benefit from the developments and opportunities the technologies will continue to offer, as we already see how crucial the digital platforms have been during the pandemic.

IWCR: What role has telecommunications played during the pandemic with remote working. What is the importance of faster and more accessible communications, and what role could this play in the future?

We all can agree that the Covid-19 pandemic definitely brought unprecedented changes to the global economy and the working patterns. It has demonstrated the importance that telecommunications play in keeping businesses functioning and people connected. It has certainly fast-tracked the adoption of teleworking modalities by employers, and has shown the crucial role of the telecommunication infrastructure and its services. Faster and more accessible communication is a very important aspect for a productive and efficient work process. Everything is evolving and changing very fast, and even in the face of the pandemic, it is important for us to adapt to the challenging conditions in order to move forward and develop globally. In the future, there will definitely be new discoveries and the importance of the digital platforms will only increase. 

IWCR: What motivates you and your team to donate your time and energy to our organisation and help support our charities in Latvia? How are you supporting the IWCR this year?

It has been a pleasure to be part of the IWCR charity events for many years already. The pandemic in particular has shown how important it is to support each other. Although the BEREC Office is a small EU agency, we are a multinational family and we understand the importance of helping others who need it. We work every day to benefit all of the people of the EU in the field of electronic communications. As a decentralized EU agency, we are also involved in many local activities here in Latvia, where we can be closer to everyone by promoting the EU’s core values. This year, the BEREC Office continues to support the Charity Bazaar event by ensuring the functioning of an online auction platform, where everyone will be able to bid on different items donated by the embassies and other organisations. 

IWCR: What has been a memorable moment for you from your time in Latvia?

This is my eighth year in Latvia, and I have found much delight in being here. There are many things to see and experience, especially the nature and the architecture is something that I have been enjoying a lot. Latvia is a historical country with many castles and manors, and each with its own story. In the past years, I have had a chance to celebrate different festivals with Latvian traditions. Christmas in Latvia is very special as throughout most of Europe, and it is celebrated on Christmas Eve, 24 December, like in Hungary, my home country. I am especially fascinated by the feast, which has an enormous role on Christmas Eve. Twelve different dishes have to be served on the table to ensure that the next year is prosperous. But this is just one example, many traditions in Latvia are unique and I am happy to experience and discover something new.

IWCR: I understand that you come from Hungary, how do you typically celebrate Christmas in Hungary? Are there any special traditions, which are native in your country?

In the run-up to Christmas, we have several traditions that we love with all our hearts, for example, welcoming Saint Nicholas – called Szent Miklos or Mikulas in Hungarian – already at the beginning of December. We use the four Sundays and weeks of Advent to prepare and remember the real meaning of Christmas. Advent Crown with four candles is used to count down Advent. Like in many countries, it is common to have Advent Calendars, which are made of paper or card with 24 little windows on. A window is opened on every day in December and a Christmas picture or a small gift or chocolate is displayed underneath.  Similarly to Latvia, in Hungary, we also serve special dishes during Christmas for example, fish soup, stuffed cabbage, and bejgli. Christmas is definitely the time of the year when I appreciate and enjoy being together with my whole family.  

For more information about BEREC and its activities in Riga, please click on the link

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