Professor Catherine Barnard of Cambridge University and Judge François Biltgen of the EU Court of Justice are spearheading a conference on 19 June on the European Social Model and the values it encompasses, including democracy and individual rights, free collective bargaining, the market economy, equal opportunities, social protection and solidarity. Over the years, all of these have been translated through European labour law into a set of ‘positive laws’.  

The conference starts at 12:00 in the Weicker building, Kirchberg, with the aim of fostering debate on these themes, as they highlight a paradoxical situation of the Brexit process coinciding with the launch of the European Pillar of Social Rights.


Wednesday, 14 June 2017 18:28

FinTech Awards Luxembourg Finalists Named

fintech awards

After several weeks of scrutinising applications from more than 160 FinTech companies, KPMG Luxembourg and the LHoFT Foundation have announced the fifteen semi-finalists who will face the jury at the FinTech Awards Luxembourg on 28 June. 

“It was very difficult to narrow down the applicants’ pool,” said Pascal Denis, KPMG, who will supervise the jury during the semi-final. 

“The quality of applications was of an incredibly high standard again this year. It’s challenging for them, but also for us as organisers. To ensure an excellent 2017 edition, we must understand every project, since each one’s ins and outs inform its ultimate potential”. 

Nasir Zubairi, CEO of the LHoFT added “The list of the fifteen semi-finalists is of great quality, as is the diversity of the activity sectors represented. They geographically demonstrate the international dimension of the Awards and the indisputable appeal of Luxembourg as a FinTech hub. We cannot wait to hear the pitches in the semi-final and the final and to see who will finish at the top of the podium”.

The fifteen companies are:



Beijing ThinkYoung Technology Co., Ltd.

Blanco Services

Pulsar Connect 






ClauseMatch Ltd



WealthInitiative AG


cancer foundation logo

The Cancer Foundation’s “Mission Nichtrauchen” campaign claimed a victory this year with more than 2,200 students aged between 12 and 16 from 114 classes taking part in the challenge to remain smoke-free for six months. Ninety-seven classes held out during the campaign. 

Based on the premise that most people have their first experience of smoking between the ages of 11 and 14, the campaign calls on students in the participating classes to remain smoke-free for six months. If more than 10% of the class smoke during the competition period, the class must withdraw. 

"Every year about 1,000 people die from the consequences of smoking in Luxembourg. Tobacco prevention projects like the 'Mission Nichtrauchen' action can save lives. With this competition, we want to ensure that the first contact with cigarettes is prevented already to prevent cancers,” said Lucienne Thommes, physician and director of the Cancer Foundation. 

For the celebration party on 13 June for the 18th edition of this campaign, the Cancer Foundation invited classes from among the finalists in the capital to the Place d’Armes for a rally organised in collaboration with the City of Luxembourg where the students mastered sports challenges as well as quizzes with questions about smoking. 

The winners for this year were:

First prize — one afternoon in a climbing park — to S3FIA of the European School Luxembourg;

Second prize — a cooking workshop — to 7STP4 of the Lycée Josy Barthel Mamer

Third prize — a hip-hop class — to 6ME6 of the Lycée Hubert Clément Esch / Alzette 

The prizes for the 'Mission Nichtrauchen' competition were sponsored by the 'Coordination Service for Pedagogical and Technological Research and Innovation' (SCRIPT) of the Ministry of National Education, Children and Youth.


francine closener confirmation soldiers

For the 50th Anniversary of Army Volunteering and as part of the 175th Anniversary of Military Music, the Luxembourg Army invites the general public and all interested parties to attend the "Arméifest um Rousegäertchen” at the Place des Martyrs in Luxembourg-Ville on 23 June. 

The popular festival celebrating the anniversary of these two milestones in the history of the Luxembourg army will take place at the end of the battle that takes place from 11:30 on the Avenue de la Liberté in the presence of HRH the Grand Duke and HRH the Grand Duke.

The "Arméifest um Rousegäertchen" will start at 13.30 after the taking of weapons. 

Free drinks and snacks will be served by the army until 16:00. At the same time, the army will display military equipment and vehicles, including a historic cargo. A Dixie band will provide military music.

An "Open Door" day will also take place at the Military Centre in Diekirch on 9 July between 10:00 and 18:00, during which the public will be able to visit some of the Härebierg's facilities and to attend demonstrations and exhibitions of military equipment.

Image: Francine Closener during the confirmation of new volunteers in May this year. 

valerie chiasson canada MatthieuLambert

Quebecois driver Valérie Chiasson, who lives in Luxembourg,  returned to competition this weekend when she took part in the Canadian Porsche GT3 Cup at Canadian Grand Prix on Montreal’s Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve finishing in the top ten on her Saturday race, and 12th overall on Sunday. 

This year, Valérie competes in the Gold class, for older cars that are usually two seconds per lap slower than the 2017 GT3 models. 

At the wheel of her Total Canada Porsche 911 GT3 Cup prepared by Mark Motors Racing, Chiasson had to re-familiarise herself with the Canadian Porsche Cup series after only competing in European Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Benelux events so far this season.  

“I’m using a car in the Gold Class, for GT3 Cup models prior to 2017. The quality of the preparation by Mark Motors Racing was perfect but understandably, it’s impossible for a car in this category to vie for the top overall”, explained Chiasson. 

Nevertheless, ahead of the first race on Saturday, she qualified in thirteenth overall and second in Gold Class. “I had a good start and gained three spots on the first turn. Following that, there was a caution period as a result of an incident in the peloton and I lost two places. I actually think one of two of the drivers didn’t heed the yellow flags indicating that nobody could pass, but they weren’t penalised”, she said, adding. “It didn’t affect me much as I was able to overtake them as soon as the race was back on”.

Chiasson found herself back on the podium at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, once again after being the first female driver to climb onto an overall podium at the Canadian Grand Prix, in 2015. "It was an amazing feeling to be on a Canadian Grand Prix podium. I really attacked from start to finish, to earn and defend my position in this race, so this tastes particularly good", she said. 

On Sunday, Chiasson started from fourteenth spot. Slowed down during several laps because of an incident, the race was too short for her to regain many positions after the fact. She finished twelfth overall and second in Gold Class, making her way once again onto her category’s podium. “My best lap was the last lap of the race and I really believe that had the race been longer (it was only 25 minutes instead of the series’ usual 45 minutes), I would’ve been able to climb one or two more spots but all in all, it was a remarkable weekend”, said Chiasson, who is also the Canadian representative on the FIA’s "Women in Motorsport" Commission, which encourages female participation in motorsports. 

Without having done any testing ahead of time, Chiasson was in her first Canadian Porsche GT3 Cup event of the year. She will be back behind the wheel of the #27 Mark Motors Racing and Total Canada Porsche at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières. Between now and then, she will continue her season in Europe, with her next Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Benelux event scheduled for 1 July at the Zandvoort track in the Netherlands. 

Image: Valérie Chiasson in Canada. © Matthieu Lambert.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017 16:57

Bettel Meets China's President Xi Jinping

xavier bettel xi jinping june2017

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel is in China this week for a series of visits and meetings, where he met the Chinese prime minister, Ki Keqiang on Monday, and President Xi Jinping today. 

Prime Minister Bettel took the opportunity to welcome the strengthening of relations between China and Luxembourg. 

"45 years after the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries, our partnership is today very diversified, especially in the financial, logistics and cultural sectors, and has great potential for the future. I am thinking in particular of the new air freight company between Cargolux and HNCA and the presence of the six Chinese banks in Luxembourg, with other banks finalising the procedures to settle in Luxembourg”, he said.

During the day, the prime minister also met with leaders of Chinese companies active in the field of information technology and communication and also in the field of FinTech. In this context, the Prime Minister presented the new Luxembourg House of FinTech (LHoFT) structure and its potential to host new foreign companies in Luxembourg.

Finally, Xavier Bettel was received by the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China, Zhang Dejiang.

Prime Minister Bettel was accompanied by the Minister for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, François Bausch, and Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna, as well as an economic delegation composed of representatives of Cargolux Airlines International, SES Astra and Promotion of the Luxembourg for Finance financial sector.

Image: Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, with President of China Xi Jinping. Photo supplied. 


 government logo

The amended law of 30 July 2013 on spatial planning raises several problems concerning the good conduct of regional planning. By the end of 2014, the Council of State had already issued several formal objections to amendments proposed by the government, one of them dealing with so-called "standstill" servitudes, which had a significant impact on private property since the filing of a draft Grand-Ducal Regulation declaring the sectoral master plan mandatory. Indeed, the amended law of 30 July 2013 does not provide sufficient framing (conditions, purposes and modalities) at the level of the sectoral master plans.

At the end of 2014, the government had to announce the withdrawal of the procedural phase from the draft grand-ducal regulations declaring sectoral master plans compulsory and its intention to amend the law on spatial planning while reworking the draft master plans Sectors with complete transparency and transparency.

In view of the changes to be made and the legal problems involved, it was found that a complete overhaul of the amended law on land-use planning was more appropriate. A new draft law was therefore approved by the Governing Council at its sitting of 22 July 2016.

By its Opinion No. 51.935 of 13 June 2017, the Council of Sate formulated twelve formal objections — and not sixteen — and threatened to formulate six oppositions against the draft law. The main criticism concerned the lack of a sufficient normative framework.

The criticisms made by the Council of State are not surprising, however, whereas spatial planning is a highly complex matter, which may undermine fundamental rights and freedoms as well as fundamental constitutional rights, including the right of property referred to in Article 16 of the Constitution, the freedom of commerce and industry covered by Article 11(6) of the Constitution and the principle of autonomy referred to in Article 107 of the Constitution.

However, sectoral master plans and land-use plans, as well as the enforcement measures they provide, such as expropriation and the right of first refusal, are all instruments available to land use planning Enabling an organised, harmonious and rapid development of our territory at the national level. However, such measures and instruments may also infringe the aforementioned provisions of the Act. 

In this context, the bill consciously sought constitutional boundaries to prepare the country for major challenges such as the creation of affordable housing, reduction of mobility problems, economic diversification, protection of landscapes, natural resources And cultural heritage, maintenance of climatic and agricultural functions, etc. In short, the country's major challenge is to maintain the quality of life in a context of socio-economic and demographic growth on a small territory of 2.586 km2 and with exhaustible resources.

Also, the bill must take into account the effects of various legislation in order to ensure a coherent interaction with the latter.

The legislation in question is mainly:

The amended law of 19 July 2004 on municipal planning and urban development;

The amended Law of 19 January 2004 on the protection of nature and natural resources;

The amended law of 15 March 1979 on expropriation for reasons of public utility;

The amended law of 22 October 2008 on the promotion of housing and the creation of a housing pact.

Consequently, the Minister for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, François Bausch, intends to continue the work with speed so as to be able to start the debates in the parliamentary committee at the end of the month and to present the amended text to the vote Before the end of the legislative period

jean asselborn cuba june2017

Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, was in Havana, Cuba, this week meeting with representatives of the Cuban government including President Raúl Castro and promoting the possibility of enhanced exchanges between the two countries as Cuba gradually reforms and opens up its economy. 

Minister Asselborn in particular emphasised the potentials within the air transport, telecommunications, scientific research and cultural sectors. 

In addition to meeting the head of state and his counterpart, Foreign Minister Rodriguez Parilla, Jean Asselborn also met with Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment Minister Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz and National Assembly Vice-President Ana María Machado Nuñez.

In addition to discussing future potential trade links, ministers stressed the desirability of starting negotiations on a double taxation convention between the two countries at an early stage.

Cuba's relations with the European Union also came up, for which the signing of the bilateral agreement on political dialogue and cooperation (ADPC) last December was welcomed. With this important agreement, the EU intends to support Cuba in a continuous process of change and modernisation, providing a solid framework for political dialogue and cooperation, promoting and defending human rights and fundamental freedoms At the heart of relationships.

During his trip to Havana, Minister Asselborn laid a wreath at a commemorative ceremony in front of the monument of Cuban national hero José Marti.

Image: Asselborn at the monument to José Marti. Photo supplied. 

lydia mutsch may2017

Health Minister Lydia Mutsch, accompanied by Dr. Jean-Claude Schmit, Director of Health, visited the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in Stockholm yesterday. 

ECDC is the European Agency for Infection Prevention and Control and works in close collaboration with member states. Its priority themes are the fight against antibiotic resistance and infections that can be prevented by vaccination.

The Minister was welcomed by Dr Daniel Reynders, Chairman of the Board, and Dr Andrea Ammon, director of the Centre. 

In her speech on the situation of infections in Luxembourg, the minister addressed a number of topics, including the national infectious disease surveillance system, the national antibiotic plan being developed, infections linked to population migration, the importance of Immunisations, HIV infection and hepatitis, epidemic preparedness, the role of new diagnostic technologies for infections and Lyme disease.

The Minister then had discussions with Dr Denis Coulombier, head of the Infection Surveillance Unit, Mike Catchpole, chief scientist, and Professor Karl Ekdahl, head of ECDC Communication Unit

LIST Logo 600x259 

Luxembourg’s Institute for Science and Technology (LIST) has launched the Financial Innovation Technology and Systems (FITS) centre in order to meet the gap in applied research and innovation for the sector in Luxembourg. .

The Finance Sector is the biggest source of GDP for Luxembourg, yet there are still important and largely untapped areas where financial innovation will help consolidate and grow the industry in the country, while also helping to transform the corresponding segment of ICT providers to the finance sector. 

To this day, the industry has demonstrated that purely technological discoveries have not been enough to transform its services, reduce continuously rising costs or avoid the collapses experienced in the cyclical crises of the industry. Opportunities from digitisation still remain mostly untapped. 

The measure of success for FITS will be its impact and its ability to bridge a gap between research and industry actors. 

Its working approach is based on the business principles of systemic interdiciplinarity — i.e. a holistic approach that considers people, practices and processes — and industry segment focus, that will direct research towards generating tangible economic value for the local finance industry. 

Consequently, the new Centre has identified four domains as its main focus areas where capacity for growth exists, namely investment management and funds, private banking and wealth management, risk and finance & accounting competences, and regulatory compliance and legal technologies.

The integrative and multidisciplinary scope of FITS will take root in the bridges necessary between managerial systems and the use of information, done through a close integration of data with people, practices and processes inside and across organisations. To sum this up with a concept, “Business Analytics research” will be a fundamental pillar for the Centre’s ambitions, closing the gaps left unaddressed by conventional and monolithic research on data analytics, artificial intelligence and other computer sciences topics existing for decades.
Large data and computing infrastructure for both innovation and proof-of-concepts will also be essential. The aspiration and goal of the FITS centre will be to move the frontier of commercial high- performance and data-intensive computing by searching new vehicles to democratise the access to these capabilities through new economies built around communities and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Families of new applications will be co-created with keystone leaders in the critical segments of the local industry and deployed on computing clouds hosted in Luxembourg.

FITS will focus on digital technologies as an accelerator in the deep interplay between people, practices and processes. The research challenges will be approached with world-class expertise in Business Analytics, made possible thanks to recent recruitments at LIST.
FITS will not work on “generic technology” topics such as blockchain and other security, software engineering or reliability issues. It will focus only on practical and value-driven solutions with all financial industry parties and the related ICT companies.
FITS proposes to work in close collaboration with all the instrumental government actors including the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, the National Research Fund, the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Finance. 

With the exception of a few new portfolio managers and business partners, FITS is fully operational without dedicating resources further to those already existing at LIST. The Centre is regrouping a portfolio of new and existing LIST projects, mobilising resources coming from different units within the parent organisation. LIST has made some initial investments by recruiting key experts in business analytics and regulatory technologies from different places in the world as a seed effort. 

The FITS Centre will be led by Prof Dr. Jorge Sanz as its Scientific Director. Prof Sanz was invited to come to Luxembourg as a new landmark in the international expert’s long academic and private industry career, which was first consolidated in Sillicon Valley, U.S.A. and recently also in Singapore, Asia. The motivation for the relocation was due to a strong interest from Luxembourg to create a new avenue for applied research and innovation for local industries, and the need to apply the said professional and academic expertise for the growth of the country, specifically in Financial Services. 



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