Minister Bettel, how do you envisage promoting Luxembourg and Luxembourg’s economy abroad?

Xavier Bettel: The promotion of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has always been very close to my heart, also in my previous political functions. I love my country. I love its diversity, its multilinguistic nature and the openness of its mindset. I love my home city, Luxembourg, of which I have had the honour of being mayor. There are so many features I am enthusiastic about when it comes to my home country. Basically, I simply want to share my devotion for the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Some may call this promotion; I call it sharing a passion.

I love my country. I love its diversity, its multilinguistic nature and the openness of its mindset.

Luxembourg Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Xavier Bettel on promoting Luxembourg's economyWhen you look at Luxembourg’s success since the end of the 19th century, the main point that stands out is our openness to the outside world, which is pretty logical when you consider the size of our country. Being open does not exclusively refer to trade and investments. What is even more important is your mindset. You need to embrace new ideas and technologies. The birth of the Luxembourg steel industry had much to do with the technological innovation of that time, namely the Thomas-Gilchrist process, a perfect example of “disruptive” technology in the positive sense of the word. The most recent example of technology contributing to economic growth  and success has been the Luxembourg space and satellite-based communication services. Being open to ideas and innovation, embracing forward-looking legislation, allowing companies to develop by offering political stability, looking for excellence while remaining pragmatic: these recipes have guided us in the past and shall guide us in the future.

At the same time, I would like to emphasise the importance I attach to the European Union and to the European ideals of economic and political integration. Luxembourg can only prosper within the single market of the European Union, while serving as a bridge or gateway between the European Union and other countries and continents. I stand for openness, tolerance and inclusiveness. These are important values for a society and this shall also be reflected in Luxembourg’s economic promotion. Promotion is obviously about opening doors in foreign markets, raising awareness and essentially creating a platform for Luxembourg-based businesses to promote and show themselves.

How do you see your role in this specific context?

I had the honour to represent my country internationally as Prime Minister for 10 years, from 2013 to 2023. During these years, I came to the conclusion that the most important thing in international relations is friendship based on mutual understanding.

I am very confident of our strengths and I am looking forward to the world of tomorrow.

In the end, what truly matters is your integrity and your determination to achieve good results together. The positive attitude you take towards a given set of challenges is what really makes the difference. The human touch and the spirit to achieve something together are the delta factor; not the size of the country, not the size of a team, but the spirit.

I know my country. I know Luxembourg’s companies. I know our research and innovation ecosystem. Therefore, I am very confident of our strengths and I am looking forward to the world of tomorrow. Now, as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, I have the honour to lead Luxembourg’s diplomacy and the representation of our interests abroad. Diplomacy and foreign trade belong together, because in both you meet the outside world, entrepreneurs and leaders who share your ideals, people who are open to the world. Mutual understanding, integrity and living up to commitments are the key to trust and to success.

What is the network you work with to achieve these goals?

Networking means knowing people. There are many networks: some are of a more institutional and official nature, like the one of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while others are more informal. What truly matters is the motivation to make things move along together. I am obviously also pleased to have the network and contacts of the Luxembourg Trade and Investment Offices abroad, which for many years have been of invaluable help for Luxembourg’s companies and our country’s promotion efforts.

When it comes to the promotion of the Grand Duchy, it is not one person nor one network which will be the game changer. Promotion is a team effort. All relevant actors need to come together, since we are all part of one and the same country. This includes partners from the public and private sector. Successful promotion never takes place in isolation, but always needs to take into account the wishes and concerns of a society as a whole. I am very much looking forward to this new task, in which I will be supported by my colleagues in the government, as well as by HRH the Grand Duke and HRH the Crown Prince, and by many other private or public sector partners. As I said before, promotion is a team effort, and I am honoured to lead “Team Luxembourg”.

Since we are in the beginning of January, let me conclude by wishing all readers a successful and healthy New Year 2024!

Photo credits: SIP / Claude Piscitelli