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ECCT Christmas lunch

On 4 December over 120 members and guests attended the ECCT's annual Christmas lunch, which was held directly after the chamber's Annual General Meeting.

Guests arriving early were able to stave off winter chills with a warm cup of mulled wine (known as "Gluhwein" to Germans & Austrians and "Glogg" in Scandinavian countries) served with raisins and nuts and accompanied by ginger biscuits. This was just the first in a smorgasbord of dishes that guests were treated to. The menu featured traditional European festive fare including thick lentil and pork knuckle soup and roast turkey, accompanied by fine wine.

The entertainment programme matched the warmth of the cuisine. ECCT Chairman Bernd Barkey started with a tribute to ECCT Director Helmut Felix Bolt, who has been on the ECCT's board of directors for 17 years and is about to retire. Bolt was previously Co-Chair of the ECCT's Automotive committee for many years and was always very active on the board's working groups, particularly those covering position papers and EU-Taiwan trade relations. He was part of the chamber's monitoring of Taiwan's compliance with its WTO commitments in the first few years after Taiwan joined the WTO and one of the proponents of the ECCT's first Trade Enhancement Measures (TEM) study in 2008. He has been on numerous overseas trips representing the board and took part in all but one of the chamber's Open Door Missions to Brussels as a director. In recognition of his outstanding service to the ECCT, the chairman announced that the board of directors has decided to grant Mr Bolt honorary membership of the ECCT.

Later, to get members in the Christmas spirit, the Taipei European School's junior choir and musicians took to the stage to perform some lively Christmas songs. Just as the choir was about to leave the stage, Father Christmas (also known in some parts as Santa Claus) happened to show up and proceeded to give presents to the children.Father Christmas went on to single out certain ECCT members who had been especially good this year. Executive Director Godwin Chang was given a present for attending more ECCT events than any other member. Lorene Chen was recognized as the Social Networker of the year for liking absolutely everything on the ECCT's Facebook and LinkedIn pages. Bart Linssen and Bernd Herrmann were singled out for being the most-travelled ECCT members because they live far away from Taipei but still travelled to Taipei very often for ECCT meetings and events.

There was no way to be sure but the bearded man in red had a voice that sounded very similar to a certain well-known Swiss lawyer in Taipei. Suspicions were further aroused when he made a few jokes about ECCT staff photo-shopping certain photographs in the Christmas presentation because the brand of humour was uncannily akin to that same lawyer. Certain members were inclined to investigate whether he was the real Santa or an impostor as he was about to leave but, despite his apparently huge bulk, Santa proved to be fairly athletic. He quickly darted from the room, hopped onto his reindeer-drawn sleigh, said no more than giddy-up Rudolf, and flew off the hotel balcony.