global issues network

Today and tomorrow, at the Global Changes Initiative International Global Issues Network (GIN) Conference is at the Chamber of Commerce in Kirchberg, 250 students and their teachers from over 15 different countries present their ideas for “Facilitating Sustainable Change through Education and Integration”.

The Global Issues Network aims to put students in a position where they can develop and realise aid projects by equipping them with the tools that allow them to bring about positive change underpinned by the idea that you don’t need to be an adult, politician or other kind of person with power in order to affect change. 

500 GIN projects have already been implemented since it was founded ten years ago at the International School in Luxembourg. Since then, it has grown into an international network with 100,000 members from 1,000 schools across five continents.

Guest of honour and coordinator of the Mateneen initiative Martine Neyen opened the conference on Thursday with a presentation on the unique project financed by the Oeuvre Nationale de Secours Grande Duchesse Charlotte, aimed at facilitating the integration of the many refugees arrived in Luxembourg in the last few years.

Other speakers included Andy Cunningham, from the Aga Khan Foundation in Geneva, Isabel Falkenberg, CEO of the Walkabout Foundation, Marie Christine Nigagwire, who survived the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, and Rob and Paul Forkan, who lost their parents in the Sri Lanka Tsunami in 2004 and set up a company that donates 10% of its profits towards helping orphans in that region.

Also speaking was Sophia Jansen, ten years of age and the founder of the Garden Concerts for the Mobile Mini Circus for Children in Kabul.

government logo

National route N31 between Neudorf and Esch/Alzette will be closed to traffic from midnight on 12 April until midnight on 16 April for the dismantling of the CFL bridge. Diversions will be introduced.

A pedestrian crossing will be guaranteed throughout the duration of the construction site. The pedestrian link will be via a shuttle bus -- Rue du Stade, Galgenberg, Disswee, Gare TICE, as well as in the evening via a secure passage below the structure.

On 12 and 16 April 2017, for security reasons, the following accesses and directions will be blocked for up to four hours. 

Schifflange - Esch / Neudorf;
Rumelange - Esch / Neudorf;
Galgenberg (rue du Stade) - Esch / Neudorf.

save one life Chris Bombardier

Haemophilia is a reasonably rare inherited blood disorder that prevents a sufferer’s blood from clotting properly, resulting in severe pain, disability and even death. Globally, it affects one in 10,000 people. 

Difficult enough to manage in a developed country, haemophilia takes on another perspective when the sufferer lives in a country with limited supports. Save One Life is a US based nonprofit organisation that offers sponsorship directly to individual children and youth with bleeding disorders in thirteen developing countries. Funds are used to help with transportation, pain management, food and education. Sponsorship costs around €20 per month. 

Today more than 400 sponsors around the world share the same belief, compassion and resources with more than 1200 sponsored families. 

In order to raise funds and awareness, in April this year, Save One Life board member and mountaineer Chris Bombardier from Denver Colorado, who himself has severe haemophilia B, will take on his sixth and most ambitious of the seven summits, Mount Everest. 

He will be the first person with haemophilia to climb the Mount Everest and soon the first person with haemophilia to climb the Seven Summits, the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. This year's funds raised by his climb will be used to assist families with haemophilia in Nepal, who are still recovering from the devastating earthquakes that took place in the spring of 2015. 

Anyone whe would like to find out more, or to support the project, can check out the website:

Image: Chris Bombardier infusing at 17,500ft on Mt. Aconcagua in 2013. Taken from the Save One Life website. 


In a drive to sensitise young drivers to the dangers of inattentiveness behind the wheel, the Automobile Club of Luxembourg (ACL) is launching a new video and photo contest, built around the theme of the dangers of micro-naps behind the wheel.

Following the success of Drive Drive, Drive Phone Free, the ACL decided to organise a second edition entitled "Drive Safe, Stay Awake". The risk of accidents due to drowsiness is underestimated by many, says the organisation. Indeed, driving tired can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. Yet many young drivers are unaware of this. At the wheel, many think that as soon as the first signs are felt, it is possible to suppress fatigue by increasing the volume of the radio or by opening the window, for example. This is, however, an erroneous belief that can have fatal consequences.

The competition is open to young people between the ages of 16 and 25 who can register alone or in groups and send their photo or video to the ACL. The number of contestants is unlimited. Groups and even whole classes can take part.

Entry for the competition will run from 22 May until 16 June, and contestants can find out more or register through the website:


Goldman sachs rules regulations report

Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) has just published a report, titled “Rules and Revitalization” where the company states, among other things, that the trend to harmonise regulations at the international level is losing momentum as the world's largest economies adjust their policies to meet their domestic priorities for stability and growth.

According to the report, the push for de-regulation in the US is clear as the Trump administration takes aim at a regulatory regime that it considers a constraint on the economy and jobs. The scenarios in Europe and China are more nuanced, motivated by the need to preserve stability while supporting growth.

GSAM asked their investment professionals in key global markets to share their early views on the sector and strategic implications of a shifting regulatory landscape. Their answers can be found on this link.

Image: © Goldman Sachs Asset Management


ILCC GT Niall Quinn joe huggard

As part of the build up to the Ireland v Wales football World Cup qualifier on Friday 24 March, the Ireland Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce hosted a memorable evening on Wednesday with former Ireland record goal scorer Niall Quinn. Still trim and looking every centimetre of his 1.93 metre frame he still cuts an imposing figure even at the age of 50. 

This may be down to the schedule he continues to maintain. Following on from his on-field exploits with his national team, Arsenal, Manchester City and Sunderland football clubs, Mr. Quinn has also been chairman of Sunderland football club, a successful businessman in his own right and is currently a Sky Sports football pundit.

Opening the evening, chamber president Joe Huggard spoke of the similarities between the open economies of Ireland and Luxembourg and how, even though the two countries may be competing for business at an economic level, their similarities mean that it would be beneficial for the two nations to cooperate at a political/policy level over matters of mutual concern such as, for example, Brexit. In passing the stage to compere Geoff Thompson and guest of honour Niall Quinn, Mr. Huggard also reminded the packed audience that the chamber is always looking for new members, details on the website

After a brief introduction from Geoff Thompson, Niall Quinn took the stage. Former sports stars often have a lot of stories, but sometimes their presentation skills can let them down. This is certainly not the case with Mr. Quinn, whose humour, frankness and humility combined in an easy flowing speech which, as with the Q&A session afterwards, was unerringly held together by that most important of public speaking supports, a theme. In this case, the theme was “a pat on the back”. 

From his opening remarks, in which he said that he had come to Luxembourg not least because, even at the age of 50, he still needs a “pat on the back” through to his closing comments where he said that even though a rollocking can sometimes be good for short-term results, to get the best out of people “still, to this day, I would promote a pat on the back”. This theme of support, encouragement, vulnerability and a liberal sprinkling of “pats on the back” gave Mr. Quinn’s stage time a coherence and a warm human nature.

There were far too many humorous, and frequently self-deprecating anecdotes about his football career both on and off the park to quote them all here, but a couple of the more serious ones particularly stood out. The first was his regret over the World Cup quarter final against Spain in 2002, which went to penalties. Despite being a striker he didn’t volunteer to take a penalty, and Ireland were eventually eliminated in that penalty shoot out. Mr. Quinn freely admitted that he had lost his nerve, and that it is something that haunts him to this day. 

He also spoke about the joint testimonial accorded him by Sunderland Football Club and the Irish Football Association in 2002, all of the proceeds from which were to go to local charities in Sunderland and Dublin (an act of generosity which prompted Roy Keane’s “who does he think he is, Mother Theresa?” put down). 

The match was a sell out, but he received a letter from a man in prison who could not go to the game, but who offered to donate £10 if he could be sent a “non-attendance” ticket. Quinn was so moved and motivated by that gesture that he organised open sales of non-attendance tickets of which 27,500 were sold, which helped to raise the total sum raised to over £1 million.

Following retirement from his football career and from the sunlight of constant adulation, particularly in Sunderland,  Quinn, like many elite sports people, found it difficult to cope and, by his own admission, went into a dark place. So much so, it seems, that his wife was prompted to follow a degree in psychology, specialising in the transition of sports stars into a “normal” life out of the limelight. So much so, indeed, that Mr. Quinn himself was inspired to launch the “Catch a Falling Star” initiative to better prepare footballers for the trauma of post retirement. He quoted the statistics that 3 in 5 ex premier league footballers divorce within 3 years of retirement, and 2 in 5 will become bankrupt.

At the close, Niall Quinn signed some footballs that will be used as prizes for ILCC events later in the year, posed for photos, answered questions and left an audience feeling as though it had itself received a 1.93 metre “pat on the back”.

ILCC Niall quinn 2

ILCC Niall quinn

ILCC Niall quinn 3

Image: Geoff Thompson, Niall Quinn, Joe Huggard. © Ali Sahib

VDL centre societaire rollingergrud

The Centre sociétaire Rollingergrund, was inaugurated yesterday after a transformation of the former “Meedechersschoul” that took exactly three years to complete at a cost of €490,000. 

The 270 metre square building will now be available for use by the Grand Ducal Choral Society Rollingergrund, known as “Männergesang”, Chorale Ste Cécile Rollingergrund, and Ciné Amateurs Septfontaines-Rollingergrund (CASR).


fedil barging

An inter-professional agreement on the organisation of working time in the inland navigation sector has been signed between the LCGB and OGBL unions and by the FEDIL Barging association. 

The agreement is the culmination of negotiations with a view to the transposition of EU directive EU Directive 2014/112 / EU of 19 December 2014 implementing the European Agreement concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time in inland waterway transport, concluded by the European Barge Union (EBU), the European Skippers Organisation (ESO) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETWF). 

The Directive aims to guarantee workers in inland navigation a high level of protection at work, in particular by introducing limitations on maximum working hours and minimum safety standards.

Indeed, as a mode of international transport, inland navigation is characterised mainly by cross-border activities. Many boats sail continuously, that is to say 24 hours a day.

Since workers can also stay or live on the vessels on which they work, it is quite common for them to also spend their rest periods there. Many workers in the inland navigation sector, particularly those away from their place of work, work several consecutive days on board and then spend several days at home or at any other place of their choice. Their average working time also includes a significant amount of on-call time (especially related to unpredictable waiting times at lock-outs or loading and unloading of the vessel).

Consequently, the time spent by these workers cannot be fully assimilated to working time and therefore the ceilings for daily and weekly working time may be higher than in other areas. General standards for working time do not sufficiently take these characteristics into account, and inland waterway transport undertakings are excluded from the scope of the relevant provisions of the Labour Code. Thus more specific requirements were necessary in order to limit the duration of work on board.

In a sector that is essentially cross-border, it is essential to guarantee workers an identically high level of social protection across all the Member States of the Union, which is why the social partners at European level have been identified as the best-placed to define these requirements. For example, the European Union of Inland Navigation (UENF), the European Organisation of Boat Workers (EPO) and the European Federation of Transport Workers (ETF) concluded on 15 February 2012 a European agreement on certain aspects of ship- The development of working time in the inland navigation sector, which was subsequently adopted by a Directive 2014/112 / EU of 19 December 2014.

In order to implement the directive, trade unions and employers' organisations at national level who are confronted on a day-to-day basis with the realities of the field and who know better than anyone else the specificities and constraints on board and the different models of the organisation of the working hours practiced, had recourse to the faculty conferred on them by Article L. 1651 of the Labour Code to conclude agreements to implement Directives, in particular Directives based on the agreement of the social partners at European level.

The inter-trade agreement agreed between the OGBL and LCGB trade unions with FEDIL Barging is the culmination of nearly a year of negotiations and aims to guarantee workers in inland navigation a high level of protection at work.

The agreement was signed yesterday, on 22 March 2017, in the presence of Mr Nicolas Schmit, Minister of Labour, Employment and Economy, by Jean Paul Baudot (LCGB) and Hubert Hollerich (OGBL), on one side, and By FEDIL Barging, represented by its chairman, Mr Jacques Naaborgh (Chemgas Barging S.a.r.l.), and Vice-President, Mr. Oliver Schweers (Imperial Shipping GmbH), on the other side.

This statement was produced by FEDIL Barging. 

ramborn cider

Luxembourg’s Ramborn Cider Company is toasting the bronze medal their Original Medium Dry Cider picked up for this year’s International Cider Awards.

Informally known as the ‘Oscars of the brewing and cider making industry’, the International Brewing Awards and International Cider Awards are one of the biggest competitions in the industry, which this year saw tough competition from 187 breweries and 53 cider mills from over 50 countries, taking in everything from regional micros to multi-national companies.

45 judges, including six cider judges, from 16 different countries on six continents were obliged to taste the 982 beers and 139 ciders before deciding on the medal winners.

Ramborn said they were proud to be ranked among other medal-winning cider-makers including Angry Orchard (USA) and Zeffer Cider Co. (NZ). The medal puts them in companywith some of the world’s most renowned craft brands, including American favourites Sierra Nevada and Firestone Walker, and the UK brewers Thornbridge and Camden Town.

“Being recognised by such an important industry competition confirms that our Luxembourgish cider is up there among the best craft beverages in the world.” said head of marketing, Adie Kaye. “This medal will help us to continue growing the cider category here in Luxembourg, and to share our award-winning cider with the world, celebrating what is arguably Luxembourg’s most precious natural resource: the traditional apple tree.”

Presentation of the medals will be held at Guildhall in London on Wednesday, 26th April 2017.


Thursday, 23 March 2017 14:11

Unemployment Figures Fall 3.9% on Last Year


Luxembourg’s unemployment rate has dropped by almost 4% compared to this time last year, according to figures released by the Employment Agency (ADEM) today. 

According to the report, 17,239 available resident jobseekers were registered with ADEM on 28 February 2017, 706 fewer than a year ago. This puts the current national unemployment rate at 6.1%

Low-skilled job seekers, i.e. those who have not gone beyond the 3rd or 11th level at school, particularly benefited from this decline in the unemployment figures, with numbers dropping by 4.5% over the course of the year.

On the other hand, low-skilled workers are more likely to face extended periods without work than skilled workers. 54% of low-skilled job seekers were affected by long-term unemployment, of more than 12 months, than skilled workers, 35% of whom faced the same problem.

At the end of February 2017, 5,185 people were assigned to an employment measure. This figure is down 5.7% from February 2016, when 5,498 people were allocated to an employment measure.

Over the course of February this year, employers reported 3,291 vacant ADEM positions, up 0.4% from February 2016.

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