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A wishlist for the Luxembourg economy
Economics

A wishlist for the Luxembourg economy

2 min. 14.05.2014 From our online archive
Four leading members of the business community were given the chance to discuss the local economy at the presentation of the Luxembourg Business Compass on Tuesday evening, saying that more flexible labour laws, entrepreneurial spirit and better branding are among the things needed to get Luxembourg back on track.
05.14 Luxembourg Business Compass, Luxembourg, KPMG et Luxemburger Wort organisatuers sponsors, a la philharmonie, photo: Marc Wilwert
05.14 Luxembourg Business Compass, Luxembourg, KPMG et Luxemburger Wort organisatuers sponsors, a la philharmonie, photo: Marc Wilwert
05.14 Luxembourg Business Compass, Luxembourg, KPMG et Luxemburger Wort organisatuers sponsors, a la philharmonie, photo: Marc Wilwert
05.14 Luxembourg Business Compass, Luxembourg, KPMG et Luxemburger Wort organisatuers sponsors, a la philharmonie, photo: Marc Wilwert
05.14 Luxembourg Business Compass, Luxembourg, KPMG et Luxemburger Wort organisatuers sponsors, a la philharmonie, photo: Marc Wilwert
05.14 Luxembourg Business Compass, Luxembourg, KPMG et Luxemburger Wort organisatuers sponsors, a la philharmonie, Georges Bock, photo: Marc Wilwert
05.14 Luxembourg Business Compass, Luxembourg, KPMG et Luxemburger Wort organisatuers sponsors, a la philharmonie, Georges Bock, photo: Marc Wilwert
05.14 Luxembourg Business Compass, Luxembourg, KPMG et Luxemburger Wort organisatuers sponsors, a la philharmonie, photo: Marc Wilwert
05.14 Luxembourg Business Compass, Luxembourg, KPMG et Luxemburger Wort organisatuers sponsors, a la philharmonie, photo: Marc Wilwert
05.14 Luxembourg Business Compass, Luxembourg, KPMG et Luxemburger Wort organisatuers sponsors, a la philharmonie, photo: Marc Wilwert
05.14 Luxembourg Business Compass, Luxembourg, KPMG et Luxemburger Wort organisatuers sponsors, a la philharmonie, photo: Marc Wilwert

(CS) Four leading members of the business community were given the chance to discuss the local economy at the presentation of the Luxembourg Business Compass on Tuesday evening, saying that more flexible labour laws, entrepreneurial spirit and better branding are among the things needed to get Luxembourg back on track.

The panel discussion, hosted by “Luxemburger Wort” editor-in-chief Jean-Lou Siweck, followed a presentation of the bi-annual Luxembourg Business Compass study, which saw business leaders in the Grand Duchy express mild optimism about economic growth while also pointing out challenges ahead, such as recruitment, VAT changes and the impact of the automatic exchange of information.

While panelists shared a largely positive outlook on Luxembourg as a business location, they did not shy away from criticism. Especially the government was called on to make the Grand Duchy a more business-friendly environment.

Redraft labour law

For Richard Forson, Chief Financial Officer at Cargolux, which he also helmed as CEO between 2012 and 2014, labour laws should be redrafted completely to enable more flexibility. Forson explained, for example, that the freight airline faces issues with processing of perishables and live goods, because relevant authorities are not available round the clock.

At the same time administrative burdens are holding Luxembourg back, according to Marie-Christine Mariani of MCM Steel, who added that the honeymoon period will soon be over and the new coalition needs to show that it is willing to tackle the issues that matter.

Efforts to move Luxembourg's image away from that of a tax haven and money laundering machine should continue, added Véronique de La Bachelerie (Société Générale Bank & Trust), who also said that the University of Luxembourg should be supported to specialise in research areas relevant to the Luxembourg economy, such as IT.

“Change is not a threat”

However, it was not all doom and gloom, with Thierry Fromes (Microsoft/Skype) pointing out that Luxembourg is still seen as an international location right at the heart the Europe, and that there are opportunities up for grabs, if Luxembourg learns how to take them.

Financial incentives, meanwhile, are not the magic-bullet solution, as panelists agreed that there is a lack of entrepreneurial spirit haunting Luxembourg. Entrepreneurship is not part of the DNA, said Mariani, adding that it is a culture that needs to be fostered and learned at home and at school.

Fromes added that Luxembourg needs to get out of its comfort zone and learn to take risks, both from an innovator but also an investor point of view. De La Bachelerie added that there is substantial expertise in Luxembourg and synergies that need to be tapped into.

“Change is not a threat. Change is an opportunity,” concluded Fromes, adding that speed to adapt is of the essence. After all, “the early bird catches the worm.”

Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna, who was scheduled to speak at the event, unfortunately missed out on hearing what the business community had to say, after being stuck in parliament.

For more information about the April 2014 Luxembourg Business Compass click .