For the sixth time, the Prime Minister, Minister of State, Xavier Bettel, is currently participating in the WEF in Davos, Switzerland.
The visit allowed the Luxembourg Prime Minister to meet many political and economic decision-makers, as well as representatives of civil society in an informal setting and to address current political, economic and social issues.
Bilateral exchanges focused mainly on the topics of digitalisation, including the consequences the latter has on the world of work and industry, and the fight against global warming, in particular Luxembourg’s practical efforts in this area. Thus, the Prime Minister had some 30 bilateral meetings, including one with the Secretary General of the ETUC, the CEOs of Cisco, PayPal, Apple and ArcelorMittal, as well as the Vice-Presidents of Google and Facebook.
During his meeting with Luca Visentini, Secretary General of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), the Prime Minister was able to reiterate the importance of social dialogue as a key element of the social model of Luxembourg, which aims to ensure prosperity and social peace. According to the Prime Minister, experience shows that countries with strong social dialogue institutions have better performing economies and are more resilient to crisis situations. The Prime Minister also seized the opportunity to commend the ESC for its defence of fundamental social values such as solidarity, equality, democracy, social justice and cohesion.
This was followed by an interview with Chuck Robbins, the CEO of Cisco Systems, to address in particular the Country Digital Acceleration Plan, an initiative through which the company provides its know-how and the technical infrastructure for connectivity via digital networks to the participating countries, including Luxembourg. This exchange enabled the Prime Minister to underline that this initiative has become a success story in Luxembourg: "I am very pleased that Cisco invests in the digital future of Luxembourg. The Public-Private Partnership with the University of Luxembourg has been strengthened and ambitious research projects have been launched. This is proof of our excellent cooperation."
The Prime Minister also had a meeting with Lakshmi Mittal, CEO of ArcelorMittal, to discuss developments in the industry sector in the face of digitisation, as well as the challenges that the fight against climate change poses to the steel industry, in particular the need to design carbon-neutral production methods. "Luxembourg is proud of its industrial past and we remain committed to ArcelorMittal due to our common history A sustainable industry is important for our country, not only for reasons of employment, but also for the induced effects on innovation and research. The steel industry is much more modern than it appears, and is moreover capable of making a decisive contribution to achieving the objectives of the Paris agreement on climate change", the Prime Minister noted in this interview.
On the same day, the Prime Minister had a meeting with Karan Bhatia, Vice-President of Google on the subject of digitalisation, connectivity, and the use and storage of data. According to the Prime Minister, digitalisation relies on secure data storage. Thus, the Government’s decision to make Luxembourg a leader in the field of data storage was born out of the modern needs of end-users and industry To this end, Luxembourg today has the highest density of "TIER IV" data centres in Europe. These infrastructures can provide our citizens and businesses with the sustainable and long-term means to carry out their projects, thereby helping to maintain Luxembourg's competitiveness on the world stage.
During a meeting with the Vice-President of Facebook, Nick Clegg, the Prime Minister reiterated the importance of transparency in the collection and use of personal data. Nowadays, Facebook is ubiquitous in the daily lives of a quarter of humanity and three quarters of Luxembourgers, and is arguably a global empire that also holds some of the most popular free applications in the world: Instagram, which revolutionised photography, as well as Messenger or WhatsApp. In this regard, the Prime Minister recalled that "the digital transformation must be at the service of citizens — which cannot be guaranteed without transparent and clear digital governance. All of us, including Facebook and other social networks, must take responsibility and contribute to building a more informed, inclusive and safe society that will ensure social cohesion in the long term".
The Prime Minister also met Dan Schulman, President and CEO of PayPal, whose European headquarters are in Luxembourg Xavier Bettel and Dan Schulman exchanged on opportunities in the FinTech sector. They also reviewed the first experiences since the launch of the PayPal-FNR PEARL Chair at the University of Luxembourg. This collaboration between PayPal, the National Research Fund and the University of Luxembourg enables scientific research to be carried out on the digital transformation of financial services at the intersection of finance and technology. "This partnership supports the Government’s aim to make the country a world leader in innovative financial services and we are grateful for PayPal's vote of confidence in Luxembourg's research ecosystem", notes the Prime Minister.
The meeting with Tim Cook, Apple CEO, was focused on the need to speed up the completion of the European Digital Single Market. "With our advanced ICT infrastructure, 90% of the population has high-speed internet access, and with our new 5G national strategy, we are also aiming to be among the pioneers of mobile connectivity Mobile connectivity doesn't stop at borders — this is why, at the European level, we continue to press for a truly European Digital Single Market."
This was followed by an interview with Bob Moritz, CEO of PWC, on developments in the world of technology, such as digital transformation and artificial intelligence. "For Luxembourg, artificial intelligence is not a substitute for human interaction, but rather a vehicle to facilitate an even more personalised, instantly rewarding and frictionless experience for citizens," notes the Prime Minister in this context.
The Prime Minister also participated in panel discussions including one on the inclusion of people from the LGBTI+ community as well as the role of media and communication in a changing world.
Press release by the Ministry of State