No. 65 APRIL/MAY 2019
Last chance for Europe As crucial European Parliament elections loom, who will save the EU project from the sceptics and populists?
54 FINTECH Initial coin offerings Will crypto tokens get past the boom & bust cycle? APRIL/MAY 2019
78 SPACE FOR ARTISTS Luka Heindrichs on De Gudde Wëllen and the last Food For Your Senses festival 5 453000 010015 65
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European Parliament elections
Come together institution that merely rubber-stamped EU commission and council policy. There is, then, a certain irony that as the parliament finally has been helping shape EU policies--“flexing newly discovered muscles” in the words of Politico’s Ryan Heath--it could become hostage to those very agents whose political agenda is to question the democratic nature of the European Union. Among the parliamentary political groups expected to make the most gains and have increasing influence in Brussels and Strasbourg is the Europe of Nations and Freedom. This is the bloc to which Italy’s League and England’s Ukip belong, and whose largest number of MEPs come from France’s National Rally (formerly the National Front). If it wins enough seats and succeeds in overcoming differences to join forces with other populist blocs, then, eurosceptics could, according to Politico, become a force “capable of blocking appointments and taking charge of up to six of parliament’s 20 committees”. That is a frightening thought, especially as the EU strives to deal with the fallout of Brexit and the ongoing dispute with the US over trade tariffs, while simultaneously trying to reign in the powers of the global tech giants and seeking agreement on how to handle member states who ride roughshod over the rule of law. Hope comes in the form of the coming together of older and younger politicians who support the values of the EU. The more experienced heads know only too well the danger of allowing the European project to fail. No. 65
Even as the influence of their own parties is on the wane, they will have to
display the maturity and nous to bury their differences and agree to vote together as a powerful majority in the European Parliament.
Last chance for Europe
But newer political movements, peopled largely by the under 40s and possessing all the vim and vigour that youth brings, can also play a role in
As crucial European Parliament elections loom, who will save the EU project from the sceptics and populists?
cutting off the oxygen of protest support that the eurosceptics currently
54 FINTECH Initial coin offerings Will crypto tokens get past the boom & bust cycle? APRIL/MAY 2019
enjoy. Look at the enthusiasm and knowledge of members of pan-European
78 SPACE FOR ARTISTS Luka Heindrichs on De Gudde Wëllen and the last Food For Your Senses festival 5 453000
movements like Volt or the left-wing populist DiEM25, and you see viable and
No. 65 001_delano_cover.indd 1
ILLUSTRATING DELANO The cover for this edition was illustrated by Francesco Bongiorni, who splits his time between Milan, Madrid and London. He was recently included in a list published by American magazine Print of the best visual arts talents under 30 worldwide. ↳ www.francescobongiorni.com
immediate alternatives to the far right. Perhaps only in the long term, they will also be a credible preference to the fading traditional parties of the old guard. Europe can be saved, but it will require an extraordinary effort to stave off those who would destroy it.
Duncan Roberts Editor-in-chief
Letter from the editor
For far too long, the popular view of the European Parliament was of an
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April/May 2019 Reporting on the community
Analysis of business, the economy and politics
A guide to culture and lifestyle
WALK OF HOPE
SPACE FOR ARTISTS Luka Heindrichs of De Gudde Wëllen on the venue’s philosophy and the last Food For Your Senses
11 OFF-PISTE CROCHET
THE “KEY” TO TOP PERFORMANCE
CROONERS, SWOONERS & UNDERGROUND FESTIVAL
14 HIKING THE TRAIL OF A LIFETIME
16 LIVING HISTORY
Get the picture
LAST CHANCE FOR EUROPE With crucial elections in May, who will save the EU from sceptics and populists?
KEEPING THE PRESS AFLOAT A look at Luxembourg’s media market
INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE PROGRAMME An interview with the Athénée’s vice principal Joanne Goebbels
38 THE WAR FOR TALENT Steen Foldberg talks about recruitment and retention in the funds industry
60 Technology & innovation
GDPR, ONE YEAR ON
62 AI FOR INDUSTRY
17 Think local
FINDING FRIENDS IN UNLIKELY PLACES
18 In my suitcase
20 Community spotlight
A TOUCH OF THE HOMELAND
42 BEYOND THE BORDERS Meet expats who’ve moved to the Greater Region to beat spiralling housing costs
COMMUNITY & NETWORKING EVENTS
INDUSTRY 4.0 IN ACTION
70 48 Reportage
FINISHING A MALL Inside the new Cloche d’Or shopping centre
LONG TERM VALUE OF ICOS Is the boom in initial coin offerings headed for a bust, or for maturity?
88 FREE-DOM TO LEARN Free and low-cost training courses
APPEALING TO FEMALE STUDENTS Christian van Dartel of Deloitte on the gender balance in professional services
74 In focus
92 Kids page
FUN & INCLUSIVE TRAINING
98 Auntie Eleanor
WINE TIME Our advice columnist cherishes her vin blanc
Spotlight on international creation at the Grand Théâtre! 2 World Premieres & 1 English-language Premiere
23 & 24 April 2019
Peeping Tom KIND Artistic residency / World Premiere Concept & direction Gabriela Carrizo & Franck Chartier Cast & creative team Eurudike De Beul, Maria Carolina Vieira, Marie Gyselbrecht, Brandon Lagaert, Hun-Mok Jung, Yi-Chun Liu
26-28 April 2019
Le Livre de la Jungle – Jungle Book AFTER RUDYARD KIPLING Text in French, songs in English World Premiere Concept, direction, set and lighting Robert Wilson Music CocoRosie
3-7 May 2019
Monsieur Linh and His Child PHILIPPE CLAUDEL In English with French surtitles Premiere in English With Jules Werner Directed by Guy Cassiers WWW. L E ST H E AT R E S . LU WWW. LUX EM B O U RGT I C KE T. LU | T É L . : + 352 /47 08 95 -1 1 , RO ND - P O I NT S C H U M A N | L- 2 52 5 LUX E M B O U R G
Write to PO Box 728 L-2017 Luxembourg Offices 10 rue des Gaulois, Luxembourg-Bonnevoie ISSN 2220-5535 Web www.maisonmoderne.com Founder and chairman Mike Koedinger CEO Richard Karacian Administrative and financial director Etienne Velasti CONTENTS Phone (+352) 20 70 70-150 Fax (+352) 29 66 19 E-mail email@example.com Publisher Richard Karacian Editorial director Matthieu Croissandeau Editor-in-chief Duncan Roberts (firstname.lastname@example.org) Desk editor Aaron Grunwald (email@example.com) Journalists Jess Bauldry (firstname.lastname@example.org) Natalie Gerhardstein (email@example.com) Contributors Esther Bechtold, Stephen Evans, Tonya Stoneman Photography Marion Dessard, Jan Hanrion, Lala La Photo, Patricia Pitsch, Mike Zenari, Matic Zorman Proofreading Pauline Berg, Lisa Cacciatore, Sarah Lambolez, Elena Sebastiani DESIGN Phone (+352) 20 70 70-200 Fax (+352) 27 62 12 62-84 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Agency director Mathieu Mathelin Head of production Stéphanie Poras-Schwickerath Creative director Jeremy Leslie Head of art direction Vinzenz Hölzl Art director José Carsí Layout Tae Eun Kim (coordination), Oriane Pawlisiak ADVERTISING Phone (+352) 20 70 70-300 Fax (+352) 26 29 66 20 E-mail email@example.com Partner-director, advertising sales Francis Gasparotto (firstname.lastname@example.org) Sales manager Luciana Restivo (email@example.com) SUBSCRIPTIONS For subscriptions, please visit www.delano.lu Luxembourg (shipping included) 1 year / 7 issues / 25 euros Europe (shipping included) 1 year / 7 issues / 31 euros Printed by Imprimerie Centrale Distribution by Valora Services Luxembourg
DELANO LIVE Each edition of Delano Live features live onstage interviews with people and on topics covered by Delano magazine, but with a fresh perspective. That’s followed by an open bar and a bit of networking. 11 June, 18:30 Knokke Out, Rives de Clausen ↳ club.paperjam.lu
GET BRIEFED Delano publishes two newsletters weekdays: the “Breakfast Briefing”, which features world and local headlines to start the day informed; and the “Noon Briefing”, covering the latest Luxembourg news and events. Sign up on our homepage: ↳ www.delano.lu
In accordance with article 66 of the law of 08.06.2004 on the freedom of expression in the media: the company that publishes Delano is indirectly held, by a stake exceeding 25%, by Mike Koedinger, an independent editor registered in Luxembourg. Richard Karacian is chartered with daily management. Delano™ and Maison Moderne™ are trademarks used under licence by MM Publishing and Media S.A. © MM Publishing and Media S.A. (Luxembourg) NOTE TO OUR READERS Delano’s next print edition comes out 12 June. For daily news updates, commentary and our weekly what’s on guide, visit www.delano.lu. CORRECTION On page 27 of our February/March edition, a caption misidentified the ambassador seen speaking at a fintech conference. Conrad Bruch, Luxembourg’s ambassador to Poland, was pictured (not the Polish ambassador to Luxembourg). Sorry.
DIGITAL HIGHLIGHT Looking to diversify your agenda? Each Tuesday, Delano suggests “Ten things to do this week”. Check our website or sign up for the “Noon Briefing” newsletter. ↳ www.delano.lu
The Journal Reporting on the community
Caoimhe Alliot-Stenson, Emma Farrell and Lynda Jacob want to spark discussion about mental health
Walk of hope Renowned in Ireland, the Darkness Into Light walk to raise awareness of suicide
and self-harm is coming to Luxembourg for the first time this year thanks to the efforts of three Irish women. The initiative was first launched in 2009 as a fundraiser for the Dublin-based Pieta House, which provides freely accessible counselling to people suffering from suicidal ideation or engaging in self-harm, as well as those bereaved by suicide. Pieta House now has 240 qualified therapists in 15 centres around Ireland. The walk is symbolic as its starts before sunrise and ends as dawn breaks. “It really struck a chord because I think it
can help people at any level,” says Emma Farrell, one of the founders of the Luxembourg project. “It doesn’t have to be as drastic as having suicidal thoughts, it can be the whole symbolism of coming out of darkness into a brighter place. Mental health problems don’t discriminate, it can affect young or old people. It can be people who you look at and think, ‘oh, don’t they have the best life’.” Emma was put in touch with Lynda Jacob and Caoimhe Alliot-Stenson by a mutual friend who now lives and works in Brussels and had helped out with the first event in the Belgian capital in 2018. They immediately felt a connection.
“We complement each other,” says Lynda. “We each have something to bring to the organisation effort and we get on really well.” Emma concurs: “If it wasn’t the three of us together, I don’t think it would work. Because we have exactly the same goal.” In addition, they have brought in other trusted contacts to help out at committee level, and further volunteers who will be in the field at the event itself have also been drafted. “The most important thing is that we start a discussion about mental health and suicide and self-harm, which is a huge problem in the younger community. → People need to know they will not
↑ Raphaël Halet The LuxLeaks whistleblower, after the European Court of Human Rights, in Strasbourg, accepted his appeal.
be judged and that there are others they can speak with,” says Emma. “If it were any other illness, people can talk about it. Some are even delighted to talk about it,” she quips. Emma explains that the event aims to be all-inclusive, and that it is different from raising money for charity at a running race, for example. “It will bring hope to people.” To appeal to as many people as possible, the organisers have involved two local agencies--the Service Information et Prévention of D’Ligue and SOS Détresse - Mir hëllefen iwwer Telefon an online. They will also benefit from the fund raising. The local angle also ensures that Darkness Into Light is not just another Irish event in Luxembourg. “It will help some people who were maybe unaware of these organisations discover them. They need support, because it takes 18 months to train the consultants who answer distress calls,” Lynda explains. × Darkness Into Light 11 May, 5 a.m. Altrimenti Cultural Centre, Luxembourg City Participants must register in advance via the Luxembourg event page of the Darkness Into Light website
Ex-football player Daniel Ormelius makes 3D doilies
Darkness Into Light - Luxembourg
NEED TO TALK WITH SOMEONE? SOS Détresse 45 45 45
Duncan Roberts Mike Zenari
With the rise of hipsters, it’s not uncommon for men to take up handicrafts. But, Swedish translator Daniel Ormelius was hooked well before hipsters made it cool. “I did a semester at school of textiles and one of woodwork and then you could choose. I chose textiles, and crochet was one element,” he told Delano. In the intervening years, he followed his other passions: studying for a PhD, playing second-division football in Sweden and for Racing FC in Luxembourg, and becoming a translator. He picked up the yarn again four years ago while on holiday in Sweden. “My niece started making grandmother squares. I thought:
‘I can do that!’ I started doing scarves, hats and gloves and giving them away.” Ormelius then stumbled across a doily on the internet made by Patricia Kristoffersen. “She reinvented doily-making by building on three dimensions,” he said. “She uses non-classical stitches. It’s really off-piste crochet in that sense!” Ormelius bought patterns online and began to make his own. “The first few times, it was a bit of extra labour to understand what the instructions meant. I’m left-handed, sometimes the instructions are only right-handed.” Once he got the hang of things, he was → unstoppable, turning out dazzling
“It’s a big step since 2012 and the beginning of the fight against tax evasion.”
Facts & figures about Luxembourg
SPEED CAMERA FINES
BANK HIGH EARNERS
Authorities issued 242,000 €49 speeding
17 Luxembourg bankers earned more than €1m,
tickets and 8,000 €145 speeding tickets
two earned more than €2m and one earned
based on fixed speed cameras last year.
more than €3m in 2017.
WOMEN WORKING PART TIME
More than a third of women worked part time
Luxembourg has won the international
in 2017, with family most often cited as
song contest five times (although
the reason, compared to 6% of men.
it hasn’t entered since 1993).
Sources → Luxembourg Police → European Banking Authority → Statec → Eurovision.tv
doilies in a matter of days. He says the attraction, besides having something visually complex and beautiful at the end, was being able to make something with his hands. Ormelius, who came to Luxembourg in 2006 for work, says he enjoys his job as a translator for the European Parliament. But he craved concrete experiences over abstract ones. “I do like it when I see proper materials, I can touch.” His family has a smallholding close to Lund, in Sweden, where he likes to spend time, helping maintain the woodland and meadows. Last year, he even took a sabbatical year to help out on the farm. “The last 15 years, I’ve been dealing with the exterior doing forestry work and keeping the meadows in order,” he said. “I love doing that, being outdoors and exposed to the four elements.” The response to his creations has been varied. Ormelius laughed as he recalled attracting attention from some older women while crocheting Christmas decorations on a bus in Germany a few years ago. For a long time, he only gave them away to friends and family as gifts or kept them in his archive. But, more recently, he has exhibited his doilies at a Viking fair in Germany and at the Anglican Church Arts Festival, where he sold a few for charity. “Some people are surprised because I’m a guy and they may not expect it when they meet me. I was also a footballer and like heavy metal [music], so there’s a contrast.” He points out that people are less surprised back in Sweden, where it is much more common to meet men doing handicrafts. Ormelius doesn’t plan to turn his hobby into a career. With the number of hours he must put into each doily, it would be hard to cover living costs in a place like Luxembourg. Although his creations look striking and flawless, he also insists he’s not quite a pro yet. “I’m just a × grassroots person doing stuff.”
Emergency communications, 18 March
The disaster relief outfit Emergency.lu set up interim satellite communication links in Beira, Mozambique, after Cyclone Idai words
Jess Bauldry photo Marc Blasius/Maison Moderne
struck the country.
Photo → Emergency.lu
Zala and Val Kravos flanked by their parents after a recital at the Philharmonie
The “key” to top performance Zala Kravos has already made a name for herself in classical piano in Luxembourg
and beyond. And she’s only 16. Her bio is impressive: she started classes at age 5 (showing talent even earlier). Studied at the Conservatory of the City of Luxembourg under celebrated pianists Marco Kraus and Jean Muller of Luxembourg. Spent six years at the esteemed Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel alongside classical pianist Maria João Pires. Recorded her first album at the age of 14.
But at her “From Amadeus 2 Albena” recital at the Philharmonie in February, it wasn’t just Zala who wowed the crowd. Her younger brother, Val, 14, came on stage during her encore to play a few pieces with her, including Heitor Villa-Lobos’ ‘The Gaiety of a Children’s Band’ and the first movement of Mozart’s ‘Sonata N°3 for piano four hands’. What impressed many wasn’t just that the two were playing technically challenging pieces while seated at the same piano.
As Zala says, “Many people say there’s a special connection they can hear in the music… It’s good to play four hands when you know the person very well.” Val, who is now studying at the Musica Mundi School in Belgium, is also training to be a concert pianist. “My sister is a big inspiration for me. When I started, it was because she was playing. Today, she also helps me a lot.” It’s easy to wonder whether there might → be a bit of healthy sibling rivalry, given
the talent that both exhibit. But they seem to stay grounded. “If there is competition, music dies,” says Zala. “It’s hard to be a real artist if you’re competing with someone, especially in the family. It’s more like mutual helping, and inspiration.” Their father, Marko, was always a music lover who played mainly bass guitar--poprock, then jazz. He had originally planned to study music before he received one of two prestigious scholarships by the French government for all of then-Yugoslavia, which led him to study literature and languages instead. Their mother, Lijie Che, studied biology. But the couple enjoyed attending concerts together. “When my wife was pregnant with Zala and we went to a concert,” Marko recalls, “I remember the bass played, and Zala moved.” Zala has early memories of attending children’s concerts, as well as “discovering music through play” in weekly children’s workshops at La Chaise Musicale in Belgium. She also says that most evenings after school, she and her dad would sit down at the piano together, even if for just 15 to 20 minutes. “Our original motivation was for the children to learn an instrument, since it has been proven that children who play or learn music are better in any professional career,” Marko says. And, while he supported both Zala and Val as they showed their love of music, saying he felt “motivated seeing them motivated”, he didn’t want to impose on them. “What’s most important is that parents should not, at any time, have ambition,” Marko says. “Ambition is a personal thing, so it should be left to every individual child or adult to have their own ambition.” Zala agrees. And her advice for children wanting to learn music? “It’s more for their parents, actually. When children are young, their parents mean everything to them, and I was lucky my dad accompanied me… At the beginning, the role of the parents is very important: to motivate.” × ↳ www.zalakravos.eu www.facebook.com/Zala.Kravos www.facebook.com/Val.Kravos
Natalie A. Gerhardstein Matic Zorman
Luxembourg policeman Guy Christen is hiking America’s west coast
Hiking the trail of a lifetime Luxembourger Guy Christen set out on the Pacific Crest Trail on 23 March, hoping to
complete the 4,270-odd kilometre hike in under eight months. The long-distance path takes northbound hikers like Christen from Campo, California, to the US-Canada border along Manning Park in British Columbia. Christen aims to hike 25-30km per day, although that will depend on the trail conditions as he crosses a variety of terrains: forest, mountain, snow field, desert. At the time this issue of Delano is published, Christen anticipates being between Warner Springs and Idyllwild. Some have joked with him that he’ll just keep walking after the official PCT ends--not impossible, he admits. About one month before his departure, he was still not yet settled on what he was packing. His backpack would weigh around 8kg, not including food and water and, unlike many PCT hikers, he wasn’t going to
ship supplies along the route. “I’m living in a foreign country for some months, and I want to spend money in these towns,” he said. “I benefit from the villages and talking to the people that live there.” Before leaving, Christen also had a dream he’d lost his tent. And that wasn’t even one of his main concerns about the PCT. “I have some anti-inflammatories and stuff against Montezuma’s revenge… People don’t want to talk about that, but it can be a problem if you get that and don’t get enough water.” He planned on taking some water tablets (which he says aren’t for long-term use), but he’ll mainly be using a fist-sized water filtration system to help remove impurities, plus a mini UV light to treat remaining bacteria and viruses. PCT hikers have to be prepared not only for the wildlife--bears, mountain lions, rattlesnakes--but also for hypother→ mia, lightning, wildfires, and so on.
A journey on the ‘Pacific Crest Trail’ a_journey_on_the_pct
Natalie A. Gerhardstein Mike Zenari
Useful and random information about Luxembourg
The record low temperature in April was -6.9°C (in 1986) and in May was -2.1°C (in 1957). Source: Meteolux
In 14th-century England, fake sterling coins were known as “lusshebournes” or “lushburgs” as John the Blind, count of Luxembourg, was a well-known counterfeiter. Source: John Marshall, UK ambassador
Luxembourger Georges Christen holds the world record for fastest 10m carrying a table with weight in the mouth (6.57 seconds) and for longest distance keeping a table lifted with his teeth (11.8m). Source: Guinness World Records
“There was a snowstorm in California in February, and when the snow melts, the creeks can become really big streams,” meaning hikers have to walk along the stream to find a place to cross. Christen says he isn’t afraid of the animals, rather “it’s more things like my health, the snow and streams… I don’t think I’ll overestimate myself, but a lot of people do.” The PCT dream has been many years in the making for Christen. An athlete for most of his life--from martial arts to running and climbing--he said, “now it’s about backpacking and long-distance hiking.” Most of his weekends and European holidays lately have involved hiking. For example, he has hiked the GR20 footpath, a 180km trail running along the mountainous spine of Corsica, considered to be one of the top and toughest in Europe, as well as the GR10, a 900km path along the length of the Pyrenees which connects the Mediterranean with the Bay of Biscay. But it was the death of a fellow police officer in a car accident last year that impelled Christen to tackle the PCT. The two had done their police academy training together. “The accident happened [over the weekend]. By Monday, I wrote my request to get the year off. It was the last trigger in my mind, it was now or never.” He had already set aside savings, and then decided to look for sponsorship per kilometre. When he is back, he plans on giving the proceeds to the Fondatioun Kriibskrank Kanner, a charity supporting kids with cancer and their families. “I know from personal experience what cancer can do to a family,” he said. He also hopes those following his journey via Facebook or Instagram will find some inspiration and get a window to the world, especially if they are unable to travel. Christen anticipates it might be difficult to return back to daily life after the PCT, as has happened to him after past hikes. “I really like the feeling of being offline,” he said. “In the world we are living in, we get blind, we don’t hear, we lose the connection to ourselves… but on the trail, I find an inner peace and freedom that [recharges] my batteries for a long time.” ×
Living history It’s a foggy, wet morning when my train pulls into Clervaux station, in northern Luxem-
bourg. The conditions are not unlike those on a fateful December day almost 75 years ago, when Clervaux was invaded as part of the German counter-offensive. And there are reminders all around. In the courtyard of Clervaux castle sits a Sherman tank. “Surprisingly, not many people know the tank is an original leftover from the Battle of the Bulge,” president of the Circle of Studies on the Battle of the Bulge (Ceba) Erny Kohn tells me. Two young volunteers are emptying the tank, which for decades has been used as a rubbish bin thanks to a hole caused by artillery fire back in 1944. It is one of thousands of artefacts that Ceba has collected since the association was co-founded by Kohn’s father, Camille, in 1972. Although a child during WWII, Kohn’s father felt indebted to the American forces, who suffered almost 75,000* casualties pushing the Axis army back into Germany from 16 December 1944 to 25 January 1945. “There were two things at the beginning: they wanted to establish a museum
and one monument for the ordinary GI,” Kohn explains. Ceba opened a museum in the grounds of the castle on Independence Day 1974 and unveiled a statue on 11 September 1983. It did not stop there; it built archives of research and over the years welcomed hundreds of US veterans. Last year, Ceba welcomed 96-year-old veteran Dominic Charles Giovinazzo, dubbed the “bazooka man of Eschdorf”, after taking out an anti-tank gun with a bazooka in December 1944. “We had some amazing days when he was here. It’s very exceptional to have people coming here at that age. But they’re still coming. This will definitely have changed in 10 years,” Kohn says. Kohn’s mission to piece together what happened during that brutal winter began as a child playing “war” with his friend Lex Elcheroth, who is today the museum curator. The two even made a home movie in which they recreated a battle scene. Today, they prefer to direct tourists to the museum, which offers a compelling insight into what happened in Clervaux. “There were so many officers who were
killed and nobody could write down these details. So, there’s a history not mentioned on paper or in archives. Sometimes we’re lucky to get interviews from veterans or information from interviews made years ago,” Elcheroth explains. Among the stories Ceba is researching is one that took place in Oberwampach, close to the Belgian border. A five-year-old boy who took refuge in a farmhouse cellar during an attack panicked and ran outside. “An American soldier ran after him, grabbed him and wanted to seek shelter in the opposite house when a German mortar landed and exploded, killing the soldier and the boy instantly,” Kohn explains. The volunteers were able to identify the soldier’s name and unveiled a plaque in his memory, which his family visited. The volunteers are now preparing to hand the baton to the next generation of Ceba members. Twenty-year-old Michael Zeimet is probing the Oberwampach story further. “We met the sister of the boy who was killed,” he says. “She showed us some pictures and we did an interview, which was very emotional because she had never talked about this event.” Friend Georges Feyereisen adds: “We’re the last generation to have the chance to meet these vets × because they get older.” Circle of Studies on the Battle of the Bulge - CEBA
Jess Bauldry Lala La Photo
*United States Army Center of Military History
Members of Ceba, the first association to honour US veterans in the Luxembourg Ardennes
Expats who have truly integrated into local life
Finding friends in unlikely places F
FIND YOUR TRIBE IN LUXEMBOURG InterNations is a great way to connect with people from your home country or join a community of friends from another. The Bazar International is an annual event with a Czech stand and booths from over 60 countries. New volunteers are always welcome. ↳ www.internations.org ↳ www.bazar-international.lu
“These people become your new family.”
inding affordable housing is one of the most common challenges expats face when they relocate to Luxembourg, but Anna Ferreri found a creative solution to the problem: she moved into a convent with a group of nuns. Originally from the Czech Republic, Anna came to Luxembourg for a fivemonth internship with the European Parliament and was determined to stay. “I couldn’t find a flat,” she says. “The prices were too high. But I found a good deal at a convent that was opened to interns. The accommodations were very modest, but quite interesting.” She was not permitted to have visitors and there was no wifi, but the monastic lifestyle worked in her favour during year-end exams. Without the distractions of friends and technology, she was able to concentrate on her studies. “It was boring--not a student’s life,” she recalls. “But this was helpful during the exam period. And I built relationships with the sisters, which was the best part.” The cost of living is high in Luxembourg, but other than that, Anna struggles to find a real challenge to living here. “Luxembourg is a great city, the longer I live here the more I appreciate it,” she says. “It’s good for young workers, students and families--now I have a young family and there is plenty for parents and children.” Whatever your age, Anna recommends connecting with your national community here. With 47% of the population coming from other countries, there are myriad national groups and clubs to plug into. “These people become your new family,” she says. “They will give you tips on acclimating. Finding a flat here can be tricky, but if you make the effort to get to know people, they will help you. Wherever you are from, you’ll find your national group here. Or you will find people who work hard to speak your language. People are really open to newcomers. That’s the way × it is. It’s Luxembourg.”
Tonya Stoneman Matic Zorman
In my suitcase
Expats share what they brought when they moved to Luxembourg Polish/Swedish
Baltic ties words
Aaron Grunwald Jan Hanrion/Maison Moderne
← Little stuffed moose Plewniak bought this cuddly toy on the ferry from Sweden to Poland for her daughter more than 10 years ago, “and she still has it.” “It’s typical Swedish.”
← History book and family photo The book “Warsaw 1920” details how Polish troops stopped the Bolsheviks, which is “why western Europe doesn’t speak Russian” today, Plewniak says. Plewniak’s grandfather was an officer in the Polish army. So, figuratively speaking, the book is part of her family history.
→ “About Polska” book Plewniak often gives a copy of “About Poland”, published by the Polish foreign ministry, to professional contacts.
RENATA PLEWNIAK Meet the director of the Luxembourg-Poland Chamber of Commerce. Renata Plewniak was born and spent her early years in north-central Poland, attending university in Toruń (where Copernicus was born). She was working in Warsaw when she met her husband. She then moved to Uppsala, Sweden, where her daughter was born. Later, she moved back to Poland, working in the real estate and construction sectors, then back to Sweden and finally, when her husband got a job at an EU institution, to Luxembourg in 2011. When Plewniak first arrived, she was “a bit disappointed” because she mostly stayed at home and didn’t know many people here. When she started to be more active, however, the Polish-Swedish dual national came to love the place and now considers Luxembourg to be home. Today, having divorced, she lives with her 16-year-old daughter and her golden retriever, Fido, who was adopted in Poland. ↳ www.lpcc.lu
→ Smith & Wesson revolver The gun is American, but Plewniak brought it from Poland. It belonged to her grandfather. Plewniak’s mother gave it to her after he passed away.
↑ Swedish teapot She bought this “typically Swedish” teapot at a local shop in Sweden. Plewniak stated: “There’s no romantic story, but it’s traditional and I like it.”
→ Pierniki nadziewane These are “really traditional” Polish cookies from Toruń (where she went to university). Plewniak got this box from the Brussels-based trade and investment representative for the Polish province of Kuyavia-Pomerania (where Toruń is located). ↑ Ikea lamp Plewniak has had this simple white lamp for ages. She bought it at an Ikea shop in Sweden.
WHAT I REGRET LEAVING BEHIND Wintertime “I miss lakes and crosscountry skiing,” in both Poland and Sweden, Plewniak said. “Real winter with snow is what I miss.”
Meet the people who add zest to life in Luxembourg
The Czechs and the Slovaks
A touch of the homeland APRIL/MAY 2019
o feel the connection between Luxembourg and the Czech Republic, Marta Vacca Veselá says it doesn’t take much more than walking around the grand duchy’s capital, to two points in particular. There’s the crypt of the Notre Dame cathedral, which is the resting place of John the Blind, who was king of Bohemia and count of Luxembourg in the early 14th century. There’s also the Jan Palach square, located off the place d’Armes, which honours the Czech student of the same name who, in 1969, protested against the end of the Prague Spring by self-immolation. Vacca Veselá hails from Olomouc in the Czech Republic, not far from the border with Slovakia, although she hasn’t lived there since the age of 14. She has spent most of her life abroad, in places
like the UK and Russia, and for the last roughly 20 years, she has called Luxembourg home. “Luxembourg, for me, represents it all. It is medium sized, but it has all the advantages of an international city, all the embassies and mixture of communities, without the huge stress of a metropole,” she says, adding that she could never see herself living in a monocultural environment. Vacca Veselá linked up with the Amitiés Tchèque et Slovaque Luxembourg (Czech and Slovak friendship in Luxembourg) group when she arrived in the grand duchy, and for the last three years has served as its president. ATSL was founded in 1972, following a wave of Czech and Slovak immigration in → the late 1960s after the invasion of
MARTA VACCA VESELÁ The president of Amitiés Tchèque et Slovaque Luxembourg is pictured in the courtyard of the Czech embassy in Limpertsberg ATSL - Amitiés tchéque et slovaque Luxembourg ↳ atsl.lu
Slux - Slovaks in Luxembourg firstname.lastname@example.org
Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops. The group, which has around 200 members, puts on a wide range of events each year, from concerts and theatre shows to the Czech ball, this year in its 12th edition. Vacca Veselá says it is estimated that around 2,000-2,500 Czechs are living in Luxembourg. Under her leadership, she has aimed to reunite organisers regularly for better coordination of events, as well as communicate more to the outside. “Our events are not limited to just members, they are open to everybody,” she says. “There are also some events we try to promote in the international community.” This past winter, a lime tree was planted in the park behind the Grand Théâtre to commemorate the centenary of the founding of Czechoslovakia. The Czechs and Slovaks regularly work
together on events, and it helps that the languages are quite similar, both West Slavic. Peter Balla, president of Slovaks in Luxembourg (Slux) agrees the cooperation is strong. “The connection is very clear. You cannot break it,” he says. “When there is a possibility to cooperate, we always welcome it.” Balla, originally from Nové Zámky (which translates as Newcastle) in Slovakia, near the Hungarian border, created the organisation with Viera Seligova Hughes in 2010. He had arrived in Luxembourg for work three years prior. “At the beginning, [the organisation was putting on] mainly activities for families and children so they could socialise and keep Slovak traditions,” he says, adding that although members have come and gone over the years, “the core is still intact”. Balla jokes about the nickname of the group--Slux--saying that at the
WHERE TO MEET THE CZECHS & SLOVAKS EMBASSY OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC IN LUXEMBOURG 2 rond-point R. Schuman, Limpertsberg
The president of Slovaks in Luxembourg (Slux) standing near the lime tree which was planted in Luxembourg City to commemorate the centenary of the founding of Czechoslovakia
outset, “some people didn’t like it, since it sounded like slugs, which are slow moving, but we still call it that.” Since it started, the organisation has had around 70-100 members and events range from children’s activities to some events for adults, although it focuses on cultural events. For example, Slux recently held a special event for Carnival, which he says is celebrated slightly differently in Luxembourg compared with Slovakia. During Carnival, Balla says kids walk around in a circle and a jury evaluates which child did the best job, then there is a dance with candy, games and so on. “We wanted to give our children a touch of the homeland, even if they are a thousand kilometres from it.” Hospitality is one of the key characteristics about Slovaks, according to Balla, so it makes sense that the mission of Slux is also to help serve as a guide for new Slovak arrivals as they navigate their initial settling down phase. “Once you feel disconnected, and you do feel disconnected because you are far away from home, the idea is to overcome these situations and [provide the] opportunity to come together and recharge a bit,” says Balla. “We try to integrate Slovaks into our organisation immediately, so they don’t feel detached from the community… there’s a family they can × belong to.”
Natalie A. Gerhardstein Mike Zenari
SHOWCASE DIVADLO V LUXU Theatre group email@example.com
CZECH HONORARY CONSULATE Contact Iva Mrázková firstname.lastname@example.org
ČESKÁ ŠKOLA Czech school for children email@example.com
MELIMELO Folkloric group for children firstname.lastname@example.org
SLOVAK, CZECH STANDS AT BAZAR INTERNATIONAL Contact Michaela Brunnerova (Slovak stand) email@example.com
Contact the Czech stand CZECH POINT CAFÉ Bar with a selection of Czech beer 323 rue de Rollingergrund, Luxembourg
This historic centre of Prague, built between the 11th and 18th centuries, is also a Unesco world heritage site. TripAdvisor ranked the Czech capital 7th among the top destinations worldwide in 2018. Regular flights operate from Luxembourg. ↳ www.luxair.lu
Photo → Czech Tourism
Highlights from the international community and networking events
Kiwis and Aussies open chamber
Trade ties between Luxembourg and the Antipodes could be about to strengthen after the launch of the Australia and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce
Luxembourg, 13 February. ↳ www.anzccl.lu
Jess Bauldry Lala La Photo
1 Monique Bachner and Pierre Goes 2 Richard Russell, Jon Leckie and Tony Whiteman 3 Genna Elvin and Warrick Cramer 4 Ruth Loan and Ariane Gonzales 5 Maya Joshi speaking at the inaugural reception 6 Dean Chisholm and Manon Breden
Find more events Check Delano’s digital agenda for the latest happenings: ↳ www.delano.lu/agenda
Getting ready for Brexit Executives from three fund outfits shared some of the finer details of implementing their Brexit preparations during the Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry’s European Asset Management
Conference, 5 March. ↳ www.alfi.lu
Aaron Grunwald Marion Dessard
Cross-border Brexit talk The future of Luxembourg’s financial sector after Brexit was a central theme at the Cross-Border Distribution Conference, 12 February. ↳ www.cross-border.lu
Blitz Photo Agency
1 Aurelia Pregnolato, Luba Ivanova and Caroline Colombo 2 Herman Van Rompuy, former European Council president, speaks on a panel with Luc Frieden, Luxembourg’s ex-CSV finance minister 3 Karine Hirn, Sylvie De Amorin and Aida Jerbi 4 Stephane Brunet, Jacques Elvinger, Lou Kiesch and Noel Fessey
1 Rachel Paris and Jérôme Bernodat 2 Aldrin Boraine and Mark Horan 3 Gast Juncker of Elvinger Hoss Prussen moderates a panel with Gerald Rehn of BNY Mellon, Micaela Forelli of M&G and Jean-Marc Goy of Capital Group 4 Diane Hosie and Martine Kerschenmeyer
Early stage investments
Luxembourg Business Angel Network’s annual conference addressed “Pushing the frontiers
Hedda Pahlson Moller Cécile Sevrain, Philip Grother and Anshul Gupta 3 Larissa Best, Arnold Spruit, Raymond Schadeck and Diane Tea 4 Tomi Davies of the African Business Angel Network addresses the forum 1
of angel investing”, 5 March. ↳ www.lban.lu
Blitz Photo Agency
Success stories Amcham and PwC held an International Women’s Day event entitled “Celebrating success! Key life and work lessons of highly successful women (and men!)”, 6 March. ↳ www.amcham.lu
1 John Parkhouse of PwC speaking 2 Megha Agrawal of Liroms 3 Pit Hentgen of Lalux, Aline Muller of Liser and Lisa Francis-Jennings of StratAffect 4 Roxane Haas of PwC
Arnaud de Villenfagne
Bettel beer tour
Paperjam Club hosted a tasting of new world wines at Canon’s office in Capellen, 14 March.
More than 250 guests attended
the inauguration of the new Brasserie de Luxembourg brewery in Diekirch, including the DP prime minister Xavier Bettel, 15 March. ↳ www.brasseriedeluxembourg.lu 1
Lala La Photo 1 Xavier Bettel (seen with Claude Haagen, the LSAP MP and mayor of Diekirch) tours the production site 2 Romanie Dendooven, Kristof Geutjens and Alicia Dubois 3 Carole Heintz and Alex Thira 4 Carine and Jérôme 5 Bettel takes a selfie with executives from Brasserie de Luxembourg and its parent company, AB Inbev
1 Barbara Biskupski, Thibault Blechschmidt and Anaïs Blaison 2 Carlos Antunes speaking with Estelle Charbeau of Canon 3 Christian Betzen of Amcellars
Patricia Pitsch/ Maison Moderne
Champagne Party The law firm Allen & Overy hosted a bubbly-themed networking event at the Tramsschapp cultural centre, 5
29 January. ↳ www.allenovery.com
1 Olivier Benner and Jürgen Bösken 2 Sissi Zhao, Kavitha Ramachandran and Paul Péporté
Delano Live looked at stress in the workplace, its cost to both employers and employees, and
Sinéad O’Donnell Lynsey Baxter of All About You and Marcus B. Müller of Sacred Heart University speak on the panel 3 Odette Tonnaer and Christine Impens 4 Prize winner Laurent Romo 1
what bosses and staff can do to prevent and treat burnout in the APRIL/MAY 2019
office, 5 February.
Aaron Grunwald Jan Hanrion/Maison Moderne
Mackel on talent challenge The first Delano Breakfast Talk of 2019 saw Nicolas Mackel, 1 Nicolas Mackel addresses guests 2 Guy Pütz 3 Aurélie Zambeaux and Monica Semedo 4 Mylène Ribouleau and Tatjana Schaefer
Duncan Roberts Jan Hanrion/Maison Moderne
CEO of Luxembourg for Finance, 3
speak with HR and recruitment specialists, 31 January. ↳ www.delano.lu
Luxembourg’s Irish community an early St Patrick’s Day reception at the Cercle Cité, 14 March. ↳ www.dfa.ie 3
photos 1 British ambassador John Marshall, Irish ambassador Peadar Carpenter and Irish training and skills minister John Halligan 2 Maura Begley and Jacinta Dawson 3 Gabriel Crean and Samira Crean 4 Veronica De Conti, Madeleine Schintgen and Erica Ehrhard 5 Brian Murphy and Niamh Mahon 6 Eoin Ryan, Yannick De Mesmaeker, Bernadette Byrne and Alexandre Dupont
Jess Bauldry Lala La Photo
and friends of Ireland gathered for
LAST CHANCE FOR EUROPE
As crucial European Parliament elections loom, who will save the EU project from the sceptics and populists? Delano speaks to those who would defend the European Union, to representatives from new pan-European groups in Luxembourg, and examines why there is so much confusion and dissatisfaction with the way Europe is run.
he warnings are everywhere. The elections to the European Parliament at the end of May are being billed as a make or break moment for the European Union. Judging from the most recent polls, experienced politicians and commentators are estimating that populist and eurosceptic parties across the union could win around 30% of the 705 or 751 seats up for grabs--the number of MEPs depends on whether the UK has left the EU in time to allow it to not participate in the election. “There is fear and uncertainty in Europe,” said former Danish prime minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen while in Luxembourg in February. “People are looking for answers and they are split between two fundamental attitudes. The first is apathy. ‘I can’t do anything about it, so I’ll stay at home and watch TV and hope someone, someday will fix it.’ The second is anger. ‘It’s too much. I’m finished with traditional politics, so I’ll turn to populists and nationalists’.” Yuriko Backes, head of the European Commission’s representation office here in the grand duchy, says that even in Luxembourg--one of the six founders of European Steel and Coal Community in 1952 and an original signatory five years later of the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community--there is growing scepticism. Latest Eurobarometer polls, taken in October 2018, show that just 56% of Luxembourg residents had a “generally positive” view of the EU. “Europe is more fragile than one might want to believe,” she says. “Luxembourg doesn’t live in a vacuum or a bubble,” Backes tells Delano. “Trends sometimes come a bit later to Luxembourg. The Luxembourgish people read the Luxembourg press but also zap between French and German and even Belgian TV, so they get influences from many places. I think many people here do take the EU for granted.”
With 190 MEPs voluntarily retiring, according to sources cited by Politico, even without the expected wave of smaller parties entering the parliament for the first time, there will be plenty of new faces at its inaugural plenary session on 2 July. Nine days later, MEPs will have their first opportunity to elect a candidate as the new president of the European Commission. This is expected to be the leader of the largest political grouping--currently Germany’s Manfred Weber of the centre-right EPP. But that is far from certain in what is already being seen as the most unpredictable election for many years. Ahead of official campaigning, Weber has been distracted by the dispute within the EPP about what to do with Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party, more of which later. Indeed, serious campaigning by the traditional parties across Europe has not really started, leaving the door open to the likes of French president Emmanuel Macron to launch a preemptive strike in the form of his much-publicised open letter to the people of Europe. 1 Klaus Welle, the general secretary of the European Parliament, explains that although the parliament is the most trusted of all EU institution, “Europe is importing uncertainty.” He says that the areas in which people want more action from the European Union, migration, the threat of terrorism, unemployment and climate--“all to do with security,” he points out--actually fall under the auspices of national sovereignty. On a visit to Lux-
The Macron essay
↑ Emmanuel Macron, president of France
VOTING DATES Voting, in the majority of countries, including Luxembourg, takes place on Sunday 26 May. The Netherlands kicks off voting on 23 May, with Ireland following on 24 May and Latvia, Malta and Slovakia going to the polls on 25 May.
On 4 March, French president Emmanuel Macron took “the liberty” of addressing European citizens directly via an essay published in media around the continent. “Never since the second world war has Europe been so essential. Yet never has Europe been in such danger,” he wrote in an appeal against nationalism--which he called “rejection without an alternative”--and anger and fake news. He called the European project a “historic success: the reconciliation of a devastated continent is an unprecedented project of peace, prosperity and freedom” and warned against taking the EU for granted. Macron asked: “Who can claim to be sovereign, on their own, in the face of the digital giants? How would we resist the crises of financial capitalism without the euro, which is a force for the entire EU?” In more detail, the French president, who hopes his République En Marche party can gain a significant number of seats in this May’s election, said he wanted to create a European Agency for the Protection of Democracies “to provide each EU member state with European experts to protect their election process against cyber-attacks and manipulation”. He is also in favour of the EU banning incitement to hatred and violence from the internet. Macron has also called for a stronger European border force and said he believed in “a Europe that protects both its values and its borders”. In what could be seen as an appeal to put Europe first, Macron argued for reform of EU competition policy and a rethink of trade policy. He wants to penalise or ban businesses that compromise the EU’s environmental standards, data protection and fair payment of taxes. And he wants the union to adopt “European preference in strategic industries and our public procurement, as our American and Chinese competitors do”. On the environment, he called for the EU to set its targets of zero carbon by 2050 as well as the halving of pesticide use by 2025, and the establishment of a European Climate Bank to finance the ecological transition. Macron additionally wants the EU to regulate the global tech giants “by putting in place European supervision of the major digital platforms”. And he wants to finance innovation “by giving the new European Innovation Council a budget on a par with the United States in order to spearhead new technological breakthroughs such as artificial intelligence”.
Photo → Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock
embourg in February to address an audience at the Maison de l’Europe, Welle explained that the EU needs to define its priorities and explain to citizens what it is capable of doing. “In those areas where the people want an elephant, we give them a mouse. Conversely, where they would have been satisfied with a mouse, we have produced an elephant,” he said.
But the Stop Corruption with EU Funds citizens’ initiative has even stronger views about the misuse of EU taxpayers’ money. “We are against those illiberal tendencies or governments in Europe that are marching against core Euro-Atlantic values,” the group’s representative Zoltán Keresztény tells Delano. “They endanger clean public life, media freedom and civil society and, last but not least, maintain their illiberal system mainly thanks to EU funds,
Photo → Mike Zenari
E-VOTING Estonia is the only country that allows e-voting for its citizens resident abroad.
The Guardian recently published a thoughtpiece by Schams El Ghoneimi, a FrenchEgyptian pro-EU activist who worked for the European Parliament and founded Syrians Got Talent, a Syrian refugee musical group. He has been travelling throughout France, targeting areas where eurosceptic parties have notable support, meeting and explaining to people the benefits of the European institutions. “The European parliament has direct, tangible effects on our lives. It can weigh on financial markets, on climate change, on the tech giants,” El Ghoneimi argues. “Discussing its role with people in local communities can shift perceptions. Shunning that effort and keeping to the ‘Brussels bubble’ is a huge mistake because it allows the far right to monopolise public discourse or set its terms.” ↳ www.schamseu.fr
↑ Yuriko Backes, director European Commission representation Luxembourg
The banning of curved bananas is one of the more absurd myths that have been brandished by eurosceptic media over the past few decades. The myths keep coming and Yuriko Backes is clearly perturbed by many of them. But she is prepared to fight back. “I am not a fan of anything that comes close to brainwashing. I cannot be credible and say and defend things that I don’t believe in. So, I base what I communicate on numbers, facts and concrete examples.” She says the press has a role to play in countering claims that are, in her words, “blatantly wrong”. Those who argue that Europe is not democratic, for example, need to be told that Europe has a democratically elected parliament, a council of ministers composed of governments that have been elected by the people, a treaty that all member states and parliaments have ratified. Another popular myth is that the main expenditure in the EU’s budget goes on administrative costs. “It’s false! The administrative cost accounts for less than 7% of the budget, and the institutions are fighting to keep it at that level.” The all-too-easy and misleading consensus, Backes says, is that everything that is good is due to national efforts and all that is bad is blamed on Brussels. “The EU has to be more vocal. Not only myth busting, but fighting disinformation in general is very important,” Backes concludes. ↳ ec.europa.eu
Take the argument to the people
ENGAGING WITH SCEPTICS
Backes concedes that the majority of citizens are probably not well enough informed about how Europe works. “It is extremely complicated, even for those of us who work with the institutions every day,” she says. Backes likens her role to that of an ambassador for the EU, with her representation reporting back to the EC president on what is happening in the grand duchy, but also explaining to Luxembourg’s government and institutions commission policy and proposals. “We are the president’s mouth and eyes in the member states,” she explains. The Maison de l’Europe also seeks to engage with the general public about the values of the EU. “We need to discuss what kind of Europe we want.” That means even talking with the sceptics. “These are the people we want to engage with. I am a profoundly convinced European, but I also see what is going on and what could be improved. We should all be constructively critical. But constant scepticism and wanting to destroy the EU has no future. These forces present no solutions to the future. We would simply return to a situation of war, and nobody wants that.” But it is not only institutions and governments that can help explain the EU to people. Private individuals, such as French campaigner Schams El Ghoneimi, can also play a role in getting the message across. 2 Backes admits to making “a huge generalisation” but says she thinks the media in Luxembourg is “very correct” in its reporting on European Union affairs. But elsewhere, media seem to have revelled in attacking the EU and especially the idea that an unelected cabal in the Belgian capital is responsible for imposing laws on member states. “Brussels in that sense doesn’t exist,” she says. “It doesn’t impose or decide. The commission proposes, and the [European] Council and the parliament decide as co-legislators.” Other institutions ensure that those decisions are properly applied.” However, she also thinks the media could help clarify a lot of the myths that exist about the EU. 3 The Maison de l’Europe launched a series of talks by leading actors at the different institutions who can present what their institution does, and what added value it delivers. One recent such event was with Olivier Salles, the interim administrative director of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, which is being headquartered in Luxembourg and should be up and running by 2020.
or, I would say, thanks to stealing EU funds.” He hopes that the subject will become a “hot topic” during the election campaign and that mainstream EP groups and also anti-fraud NGOs in Europe will join the initiative. 4 These European Parliament elections have also encouraged plenty of political novices to get actively involved. For instance, British resident of the grand duchy George Penn is now the president of the Luxembourg chapter of Volt, the pan-European initiative that will be contesting seats in all member states. Penn attended the group’s first event in Luxembourg just over a year ago and, in his words, “kind of fell in love with it.” He had been involved in organisations like Hope not Hate in the UK and considered going into politics, but had never joined a political party before. Indeed, he had concluded that politics was being used to exploit the most vulnerable, the people without hope. “They were voting because they were angry about things. That people would abuse that fundamentally went against my own morality.” Penn feels British politics in particular has become “poisonous” and cites talk show host James O’Brien who has blamed what he calls the “footballification of politics”. Following politics in Luxembourg, Penn found it refreshing at a recent event with Xavier Bettel “to see people debating the issues and not firing sound bites at each other. That encourages people to get involved.” Volt has found that women across the continent in particular are wary of getting involved in politics because they could face personal exposure. “I think it’s very important to break that down and make politics much more friendly, because it’s a shame there are not more women in politics,” says Penn. So it is significant that the Luxembourg chapter’s lead candidate is Fiona Godfrey, better known as the co-chair of British in Europe and the chair of British Immigrants Living in Luxembourg. DISILLUSIONED BY TRADITIONAL PARTIES
Penn says that Volt is more than a political party, but a group of friends. “I might not know these friends, these people. But it is a community of like-minded people.” Volt started as a young people’s initiative, says Penn. He estimates the average age of active members across Europe is the mid-30s, but that is shifting and the movement is attracting older people who have never previously been active in politics--one Dutch member is 92. But the group is also attracting some who are disillusioned with the more traditional parties. “We are addressing the populist issues as a European bloc, which the other parties can’t really say,” Penn claims. The party will also address how those pan-European issues affect local populations. “Our longer-term plan is not just to be a party focused on European Parliament elections, but to campaign in local and national elections.” Volt has already campaigned in local elections in Belgium, for example. 5 Brice Montagne and Birte Rittgerodt represent a local chapter, or DSC, of DiEM25, the movement launched in 2016 by former Greek finance minister Yánis Varoufákis and Croatian philosopher Srećko Horvat. Rittgerodt was socially active as a volunteer when she lived in her native Germany, but had not been politically active until, living in Luxembourg, she saw the rise of the far right AfD at the German federal elections in 2017. “Everything that DiEM25 stands for reflects how I feel,” she says. “The sustainable part, the democratic part, the solidarity.” Because the DSC in Luxembourg is quite young, she feels it offers her plenty of opportunities and is a fulfilling activity. Montagne, the coordinator of the local DSC, had been involved in the young Greens in France, but when he saw how the EU was treating Greece after the crisis in 2009, he was horrified. “We were creating a lost generation that could easily turn to the far right,” he explains. CONTINUES PAGE 35 →
Stop fraud and misuse of funds
Germany will elect the largest number of MEPs of any member state.
COMPULSORY VOTING As well as Luxembourg, citizens on the electoral register are obliged to vote in Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Greece.
Luxembourg, Cyprus and Malta will elect just 6 MEPs each.
Clearly the misuse of funds and suggestions of corruption are a blight that affects the reputation of EU bureaucracies more so than national civil service administrations--blaming the EU is easier and does not undermine national pride or threaten patriotic fervour. The imminent establishment of the European Public Prosecutors’ Office in Luxembourg-set to take up service in 2020--should also appease some voices who suggest that EU institutions and the recipients of EU funding waste or misuse taxpayers’ money. The EPPO will have powers to investigate, prosecute and bring to judgement crimes against the EU budget, such as fraud, corruption or serious cross-border VAT fraud. However, only 22 EU member states have signed up to participate; the absentees are the UK, Hungary, Poland, Denmark, Ireland and Sweden. But one group of concerned individuals see another threat from the misuse of EU funds. Seven of them set up the Stop Corruption with EU Funds citizens’ initiative, which is seeking the one million signatories it needs to force the European Commission to decide whether or not to take action on the matter. Within its first full month of campaigning, the group has gathered around 80,000 signatures. Led by Hungarian representative Zoltán Keresztény, the Stop Fraud initiative says it aims “to prevent anti-EU, illiberal and corrupt regimes from using EU funds from building a clientele of oligarchs and deconstruct the norms of a peaceful, democratic society”. It also wants the prevention and penalisation of fraud to be extended to those six countries who are not signatories to the EPPO. Keresztény, who proposed a referendum to introduce the euro in Hungary in 2018, argues that the strengthening of European values through cooperation and identity is essential in the face of global challenges. “Illiberal nationalists have been refusing cooperation and referring to fake national interests,” he says. At a presentation to the European Parliament in Brussels in mid-February, Keresztény and his team stressed “the importance of setting up hard ex ante controls on EU funds spending”. He told EP representatives as well as Carl Dolan, director of the Transparency International Liaison Office to the European Union, that it is crucial not only to examine the existence of “rule of law” in a given EU member state but to reveal all circumstances in which EU funds are improperly used, for example by oligarchs in the media and economy. “And we also suggested that with these serious preliminary measures, the EU could avoid penalising entire nations by taking away EU funds, because in those circumstances, illiberal politicians can turn society against the EU.” ↳ www.stopfraud.eu
Any alliance of party groupings in the new European Parliament will require 353 seats to carry a majority. According to polls in March, that is likely to require a grand coalition of the centreright European People’s Party and the centre-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, together with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats and possibly together with the République En Marche and the Greens. According to the Poll of Polls on 21 March such an alliance of pro-EU parties could have a majority of 450 seats in the European Parliament. Greens/EFA 47 EPP 178
République En Marche 24
Photos → Christophe Hansen → Giannis Papanikos/Shutterstock
Pan-European movement While eurosceptic, nationalist movements have attracted plenty of ordinary citizens who were previously not politically active, so there has also been a surge in citizens who wish to defend the values of the EU. But not all of them are satisfied with Europe’s traditional parties. So it was that a group of Italians founded Volt Europa, which is now incorporated as a non-profit association in Luxembourg. Volt aims to shake up “the cycle of fruitless politics and an old division of conservatives vs liberals, or left vs right”. It has published its manifesto for the European Parliament elections--the Amsterdam Declaration--which states that it wants a “truly progressive union… that takes care of its people, where children enjoy a cleaner environment, where migration flows are managed together, and where rights are guaranteed, and responsibilities shared.” This will be achieved by establishing a federal Europe with a European government, headed by a prime minister elected by the parliament, and with a president elected by the people. Volt also wants to have a Eurozone+ budget, see through the completion of banking union, and full economic and monetary union under a European finance minister. In addition, it wants to tax multinationals by introducing a minimum European corporate tax of 15%. ↳ www.volteuropa.org
In Luxembourg, as well as 13 other countries, candidates have to be at least 18 years old on election day. In 10 countries, they must be 21. In Romania, only those aged 23 and above can stand for election and in Italy and Greece, the minimum age for candidates is 25. Conversely, in Greece, you only have to be 17 to vote, and in Austria and Malta, 16-year-olds can vote. The age for voting in all other member states is 18.
A new deal DiEM25, like Volt, is a pan-European movement. Launched in 2016 by former Greek finance minister Yánis Varoufákis and Croatian philosopher Srećko Horvat, it is also gathering steam ahead of the EP elections by proposing a “new deal” for Europe. It argues that Europe is worth saving because “the alternative is to impoverish all Europeans, in economic, social and cultural terms”. The movement argues that “Europeans are feeling let down by EU institutions everywhere” and that the cause of what it sees as the EU’s slow trudge towards disintegration is a “highly political, topdown, opaque decision-making process that is presented as ‘apolitical’, ‘technical’, ‘procedural’ and ‘neutral’”. Its “new deal” is based on principles including the right of EU citizens to basic goods such as nutrition, shelter, transport and energy. It also wants to harness EU wealth to invest in a “real, green, sustainable, innovative economy” and the implementation of policies that enable “sharing the dividends from digitisation and automation”. It is calling for full transparency of decision making, including the live streaming of EU council, Ecofin, financial transactions tax and Eurogroup meetings, and also a compulsory register of lobbyists that would include client names, remuneration and records of meetings with officials. DiEM25 also wants to present detailed policy proposals to “Europeanise” the five areas in which it thinks the European crisis is unfolding--public debt, banking, inadequate investment, migration and rising poverty. Yet, it simultaneously wants to limit Brussels’ discretionary powers and return power to national parliaments, to regional councils, to city halls and to communities. Three years after its foundation, DiEM25 claims to have over 100,000 members worldwide and more than 170 collectives, including a newly launched DSC in Luxembourg. It has initiated what it calls “electoral wings” to take its manifesto to ballot boxes at the elections in May, with the support from left-wing and Green parties. ↳ www.diem25.org
← Yánis Varoufákis, founder DiEM25
Showcase and accessibility The best way to showcase that the European Parliament is on the side of the people is by demonstrating with concrete examples what it has achieved so far, argues CSV MEP Christophe Hansen. “The unknown is unloved.” In the lead-up to the elections, Hansen argues that parliament is making a real effort to make people aware of the tangible and real impact the EU has in their daily life, for example through the “what Europe does for me” website. “Most of all, we need to convince people to get out and vote and participate in the democratic process. Then, it’s up to MEPs, directly elected representatives of the European people, to bring Europe home, and home to Europe.” Hansen hosts open-door surgeries at his Luxembourg constituency office so that people can explain their concerns. “I want to be accessible, listen and show people that we are truly their voice in Brussels and Strasbourg.” ↳ www.what-europe-does-for-me.eu
→ Christophe Hansen, CSV member of the European Parliament
Source → www.pollofpolls.eu
Protecting the European Parliament elections US ambassador to Luxembourg Randy Evans argues that governments and voters must be more vigilant against “malign influences” before going to the polls this May. The Achilles heel of democracies around the world is the vulnerability of open and free elections to malign influence. Strict adherence to the “rule of law”, the cornerstone of all democracies, dictates that governments accept election outcomes regardless of the influences that lead to it. The result necessarily means that those intent on undermining democracies need not resort to military power or intimidation to overthrow a government. Instead, they need only undermine the integrity and reliability of elections through whatever means they deem necessary to achieve their end. The rule of law will do the rest. This vulnerability enabled overconfident leaders like Nikita Khrushchev, the first secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, to boldly assert in 1956: “We will take America without firing a shot. We do not have to invade the US.” Although the exact meaning and content of Khrushchev’s comments are still debated, the gist of Russian objectives has never been in doubt. Soviet defector Nicholas Goncharoff’s testimony in 1954 purporting to quote Vladimir Lenin explained it aptly: “First, we will take Eastern Europe, then the masses of Asia, then we will encircle the United States which will be the last bastion of capitalism. We will not have to attack. It will fall like an overripe fruit into our hands.” Of course, much has happened since the Cold War. Yet, no one seriously doubts the overwhelming evidence of Russian attempts to influence open and free elections around the world, including in the United States. Not even Russia denies it. During his recent visit to the grand duchy, when asked specifically by a Luxembourg journalist about how Russia feels regarding
European Commission suspicions of Russia’s potential interference in the European election scheduled for May, Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev said, “suspecting someone of an event that has not yet happened is a bunch of paranoid nonsense,” adding, “let them come up with some evidence after the election. Then, we will look into it.” Of course, no one is fooled by such amateurish word games. TASK FORCE Even before the 2016 United States presidential elections (which Russian undoubtedly attempted to influence), the EU established in 2015 the East StratCom Task Force dedicated specifically to countering Russian influence. In 2017, the office received a dedicated budget of €1.1m per year for 2018-2020. In December 2018, the European Commission announced plans to significantly increase the office’s budget and staff. But such efforts to combat maligned Russian influence extends beyond the EU and its member states. In January of this year, Facebook identified 364 pages and accounts that claim to be independent news pages, but are in reality part of a coordinated operation, led by Russian state actors: in this case, the state-owned Russian news agency, Sputnik. In February, Microsoft announced that it had discovered cyberattacks against several democratic institutions, think tanks, and non-profit organisations in Europe, totalling 104 breach attempts. The hacks took place between September and December 2018, affecting institutions including the German Council on Foreign Relations and European offices of The Aspen Institute and The German Marshall Fund.
Photo → Jan Hanrion/Maison Moderne
In light of these latest attacks and persistent security concerns about the upcoming European elections, Microsoft has confirmed the rollout of a free cybersecurity service to 12 EU nations designed to help them close their security gaps. Microsoft spoke plainly about the severity of the threat: “The attacks we have seen recently suggest an ongoing effort to target democratic organisations. They validate the warnings from European leaders about the threat level we should expect to see in Europe this year.” Contrary to the Russian prime minister’s characterisation, this is not about “paranoid nonsense” as Russia attempts to lead people to believe. Instead, it is about the defence of democratic institutions from the malign influences of an increasingly aggressive Russian effort seeking to undermine and, if possible, destroy open and free democracies. Recognising reality, in December of 2018, the EU presented an action plan aimed at tackling online disinformation in EU countries and beyond in response to Russian disinformation campaigns targeting EU voters. Indeed, efforts to stop the Russian propaganda machine do not stop there. Make no mistake. Russia and its operatives, already subject to sanctions from the EU, the US and Canada for election meddling, will not stop now. As the EP elections approach, watch as Russia ramps up its efforts to undermine them for its own political purposes in an effort to use democracy against itself. It is why governments and voters must be more vigilant than ever against these malign influences or else risk suffering the fate Khrushchev referenced over a half century ago. The risks are simply too great to look the other way. text
FROM PAGE 32
Montagne recalls his grandfather asking him how he could be so sure that in the 1930s he would have acted against fascism. “When we crushed Greece a second time in 2015, I realised that either Europe would have to become socially and ecologically democratic, or it would die, probably at the hands of the far right.” When Varoufákis resigned his position rather than sign another austerity package, then created his transnational movement, Montagne realised that he had found his political home. Rittgerodt says the pan-European nature of DiEM25 is perfect for Luxembourg’s multinational community, appealing to many residents who don’t have the right to vote in the grand duchy’s national elections. Montagne says that the disenfranchised who often face exploitation at the workplace are at a disadvantage because they cannot punish unfair treatment by going to the polls. “We are not standing at the election, so we don’t care about getting votes. That means we can support everyone, whether you’re Luxembourgish or not.” Areas such as housing security are also high on the Luxembourg DSC’s agenda. The group has also had close contact with the left-wing Déi Lénk party, though without sealing any sort of formal deal. But Montagne thinks that sooner or later, the more traditional political parties will have to adapt to transnational thinking. “The best demonstration of this is the recent climate protests. It wouldn’t have that weight without being organised transnationally.” 6
↑ Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, cochair Independent Commission for Sustainable Equality
Under the authorship of former Danish prime minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen and former Greek economy minister Loúka Katséli, the Progressive Society has published a report on how to achieve “well-being for everyone in a sustainable Europe”. An initiative of the Alliance of Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament, Progressive Society is inspired by the United Nations sustainable development goals. Its independent commission for sustainable equality includes former Luxembourg employment minister Nicolas Schmit, who is hoping to be the grand duchy’s next European Commissioner, as well as Pierre Moscovici, the current commissioner for economic and financial affairs. The paper features what it calls ten “sweeping policy changes”. These include an appeal to “reshape capitalism for people and planet” by introducing measures such as a European enforcement agency against financial and tax fraud crime and public representatives on bank boards to “ensure that financial markets work for people”. It also presents what it calls a “new ambitious plan” to reduce the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion by 25 million people for 2030 and to launch a “vast European fair wages action plan”. It wants the impact of technology to include assurances that “transitions from old to new jobs will be fostered through strong social investment, and high-quality education and training, both affordable and accessible to all”. Inequality will also be tackled, the paper says, by the introduction of European net wealth tax, and through a financial transaction tax. In all, the paper features 110 concrete proposals. “It is a comprehensive plan for action based on democracy, based on progressive values,” claims Rasmussen. Trying to provide partial answers to complex challenges is no longer viable, Rasmussen says. The differences between rich and poor, between north and south no longer permit politicians to say they will first fix the economy, then climate, then society. “We need to tell people the truth, that we can only compose a way forward for Europe and for ordinary families by tackling the crises--social, climate, economic--at the same time.” ↳ www.progressivesociety.eu
Photo → Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock
Traditional parties have their own battles to fight. For Luxembourg’s CSV there looms the shadow of being in the same EPP grouping as Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party--which was suspended from the group on 20 March. One of the most vocal opponents of Orbán, especially since his party hung posters attacking Jean-Claude Juncker, has been CSV MEP Christophe Hansen. He says that Orbán has “willingly and knowingly moved away from our convictions” and has called for the permanent expulsion of Fidesz from the ranks of the EPP. “Founding members should stand up for founding values, and not allow them to be corrupted from the inside out,” Hansen told Delano. On a broader scale, Hansen appears to be quietly optimistic that pro-European parties can win the day at the elections and form a strong enough alliance in the parliament to counter the eurosceptics, even if their collected parties win a significant share of seats. “There is more that divides the populists than that unites them,” Hansen claims. “For example, on migration, where some, such as Salvini, demand more European solidarity, others, such as Orbán and Kaczynski, refuse this.” 7 The Luxembourg LSAP party also recognises that pan-European solutions are imperative. “We are living in a society when solutions, even here in Luxembourg, have to be European,” party president Franz Fayot said at a press conference in February. “As a small country, we know better than most that we have no chance if we are isolated.” Fayot was introducing the new paper on developing a sustainable Europe published by the Progressive Society initiative of the EP’s Alliance of Socialists & Democrats. It represents, says Fayot, a “new economic and social model” that tackles the current social, democratic, equality and ecological crises, which Fayot says are all connected. “Capitalism is no longer working,” he says. 8 At the other end of the political spectrum in the European Parliament, the likes of the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe (ACRE) want less Europe. They may be
sceptical, but they want to retain the fundamentals of the European Union. “The future of the EU must not be construed as a binary choice between either a fully federalised EU or no EU at all,” says the group’s lead candidate at the EP elections, Czech MEP Jan Zahradil. 9
Retune the EU
The European Commission itself is examining options for the EU’s future. In 2017, it published a white paper featuring five possible scenarios. These ranged from sticking to the current course to sharing more power, resources and decision-making across the board. But they also included scenarios that might please the likes of the ACRE. For instance, those opposed to more political union would be happy to see a scenario in which the EU focuses on deepening certain key aspects of the single market, but decides not to work more together in areas such as migration, security or defence. Of course, in typical fashion, Jean-Claude Juncker later unveiled what he called a sixth scenario based on what he said were three unshakeable principles: freedom, equality and the rule of law. Juncker has also proposed merging the presidents of the European Commission and the European Council. “Having a single president would better reflect the true nature of our European Union as both a union of states and a union of citizens,” he said at the time. “There can be no second-class citizens,” he says. He is adamant that the judgements of the European Court of Justice must be respected, saying that “the rule of law is not optional in the European Union.” But the commission president also says he is “only interested in institutional reforms if they lead to more efficiency” and argues that “we must first change the mindset that for some to win others must lose… Democracy is about compromise. And the right compromise makes winners out of everyone in the long run.” Juncker also wants to create a euro-accession instrument offering technical and even financial assistance to those countries that want to join the euro and to encourage all member states to join the banking union--a move that the EC sees as vital to strengthening the international role of the euro. Juncker has said he is in favour of moving to qualified majority voting for decisions on the common consolidated corporate tax base, on VAT, on fair taxes for the digital industry and on the financial transaction tax. And, like others, he would like to create a European minister of economy and finance. On enlargement, Juncker has ruled out EU membership for Turkey for the foreseeable future, but says he wants to maintain a credible accession perspective for the western Balkans--a move vehemently opposed by Charles Goerens, joint lead candidate at the EP elections for the DP. “Over my dead body,” Goerens said in an interview on RTL television in early March. “As long as the EU doesn’t improve its performance and can’t take decisions quicker, we should not enlarge at any cost.” What is clear is that no matter who succeeds Juncker as European Commission president will have their work cut out to keep the EU together in the face of challenges from within and from abroad.
↑ Jan Zahradil, Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe
Czech MEP Jan Zahradil is the lead candidate for the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe group that also includes Luxembourg’s ADR and the British Conservative Party. Zahradil warns that in his view “the European project will buckle underneath the weight of its own selfpropelling ambitions”. Like many other movements, the ACRE is aware that the perception of the so-called “Brussels bubble” is driving voters towards more populist and eurosceptic parties, and that the EU needs to concretely address the interests of member states, citizens and taxpayers. “The more Brussels disregards legitimate concerns of member states citizens, the more Brussels will struggle to win back their trust,” Zahradil says. Under the slogan “Retune the EU!”, he is calling for a “great review” of the way the union and its institutions operate. Like many conservatives, this is based on less government to make the EU more efficient and cost-effective. For instance, he says €160m could be saved if the European Parliament had one seat rather than spent that amount on what he calls the “Brussels-Strasbourg travelling circus”. Zahradil argues that rather than seeking common European solutions for every problem, the EU should focus on “areas where there is added value from working collectively such as: research, a single market and trade agreements”. While supporting the concept of the common market and free movement of persons, goods and capital, the new deal opposes using that as “a pretext for creating additional regulation such as attempts to harmonise taxes, as well as social and health care systems”. And finally, Zahradil’s programme calls for more power to be given to national parliaments. This would include the introduction of what he calls a “red-card procedure” that would allow them to block European Commission draft legislation if a third of national parliaments oppose it. He even goes so far as to suggest that EU legislation could be reversed if a third of parliaments propose its removal from the statutes. ↳ www.acreurope.eu
Photo → ACRE
Steen Foldberg talks about recruitment and retention following the merger of Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life Investments, in the face of Brexit, and in the increasingly competitive asset management jobs market.
The war for talent interview
teen Foldberg is probably one of the few bosses that gave one-fifth of his staff a 5%-25% raise without them asking. That’s part of what the managing director of Aberdeen Standard Investments in Luxembourg considers treating employees “fairly”. He spoke with Delano in February. The interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity. Is there a war for talent in the funds industry?
I think the starting point is always to look for the signs of a war. I think that the signs are when you see increasing salaries, when you see that you have open positions longer, when you have fewer candidates applying for jobs, then you start to realise that there is a war for talent going on. This is also something that we, as an organisation, have experienced. And just before we met, I took a steen foldberg
look [at online job boards and] right now there are 325 open positions in the compliance space, 225 senior finance positions, 150 in risk management and nearly 100 in fund accounting. So I think that when we talk about war for talent, then these numbers say it all. It’s been about a year and a half since the merger. How have things changed in the Luxembourg office?
One of the main measurements is, of course, assets under management, and that grew from €56bn before we started our project to €92bn [at the end of 2018]. Then, on top of that, due to the fact that the combined company doubled and in the Brexit context, new funds are being launched in Luxembourg. So we now have a larger distribution [network] that is requesting us to launch new funds. [We have also diversified] into alternative invest-
ment funds. So we have a big pipeline of products. As a consequence of the merger and the trend to have more alternative investment, we have recently been granted a licence to do private equity investment and also infrastructure, which is new. You’re about 50 people now. Are you planning to grow?
We’re actually here on 19 February and we have officially closed our Brexit project. It’s completed. So that’s obviously something that I’m extremely proud about. And I think that the next exercise that we have to do is that we are going to streamline our suppliers and we’re going to optimise the workflow that we have. We’re also going to have a fund rationalisation, as two companies are coming together. And then we need to rightsize the team to meet those requirements. If we look at, in particular, where we still have open gaps, where →
“When you move a complete family, it’s not easy.”
we still need to recruit people, then it’s in the finance area, it’s in the compliance area, it’s in product management, especially in the alternative investment space, where we need individuals, and then with the increased number of entities that we look after here in Luxembourg. I think it’s around 160 entities that we look after as Aberdeen Standard. We’re also looking for people in the corporate sector space.
“The industry, to a certain degree, has had to compromise on certain positions.”
Where are you going to find your people? Are you recruiting from the UK or Frankfurt, or trying to find people already in Luxembourg?
I would say that, if you like, the starting point is, of course, that we look to use our existing talent and we try to relocate people where we can. This is not always very easy because some of these positions are senior, and then it can be difficult to relocate families from different jurisdictions. In some cases we have been able to source people internally. So we’ve just recruited a new lawyer who has started two weeks ago; she came from London. We had our chief oversight officer [recently join]; he lived in Glasgow but worked in Edinburgh. So it is possible for us to also attract talent within the group. Obviously we go out on the market. Because one of the other aspects is that it’s good to get people who know the Luxembourg regime. Clearly when we get people moving in from other jurisdictions, we can relatively quickly cross-train them. But if we get people who understand Lux Gaap [account standards] or compliance people who understand the [Luxembourg regulator] CSSF circulars, it’s a little bit easier. They hit the ground running. Is it hard to convince people currently working in Edinburgh or London to move here?
When you move a complete family, it’s not easy. I’ve been in Luxembourg since 1990 and personally I have probably been directly or indirectly [responsible for relocating] as many as 250 people. I would say it was a bit easier earlier because the taxes were lower than today and, more importantly, the cost of living was a lot lower [than] today. One of the issues that we have today compared to the past is that the financial equation was easier. It worked out much better. Nowadays if you want to have a decent place to live in Luxembourg, we’re not actually talking about relocating one person, you need to relocate two people, otherwise it’s impossible to buy or rent anything. The cost of living is very expensive. If you want to bring your children into an international school, then this can also be very, very
expensive. And then, obviously, you move people away from their environment. That said, of course, Luxembourg is still a very attractive place to relocate in many, many aspects. But it’s not as easy as it used to be. Have you changed your retention programme recently?
[We conducted] a major benchmark study in terms of remuneration of individuals. We identified that 20% of our team were paid below the market. And we then made corrections to that. So you can say that proactively we went out and we absolutely want to pay our people a fair and market competitive salary because… it’s not very helpful if you… bring in talent and you’re not paying them the right amount of money, then they will leave again. There are a lot of other things that need to work, but compensation is a very important part. What sparked you to conduct the salary study?
This was a strategic move, not because we suddenly saw that 20 people walked out the door. It was a strategic move to see
what’s going on in the marketplace. And we could see when we were recruiting new people what they were asking was not in line with what the existing team were paid. If I bring someone in, and I have to pay more than for a long-standing, loyal employee, I know that I’m creating a problem for myself. Whether this information is public or not, we need to treat people fairly. Was it a challenge justifying the pay rises to your boss?
Of course, you need to justify that, but I think the business case is quite simple. Because if you look at the alternative cost, then that’s much higher. For the sake of argument, say that we have someone who’s leaving. First and foremost, I would hate that someone is leaving if the only problem is the salary… a workplace is far more than just the salary. Remuneration, of course, needs to be OK, and it needs to be fair and competitive, but there are a lot of other things. But when it comes to situations where a person leaves and that would only be down to the salary, the cost of us replacing the individual is [too high].
You’re in a situation where it maybe takes three to four months to identify and get the right candidate sourced. [By the time they start then] you’re maybe five to six months down the line where you’re missing that resource. [Then] you get someone in who doesn’t understand the company’s policies and rules, then you have the business disruption, from that you always have the risk that this individual then [doesn’t really] fit in the team at the end of the day. So, obviously, when we came up with the [pay rises coming out of] the benchmark survey, we needed to get the acceptance of the group, and yeah I wouldn’t say it was a walk in the park, but I would say that the business case was quite well made [and] the numbers were easily [understood]. What can the industry and government do to help on a sectoral level with recruitment and retention?
Where Luxembourg for Finance or the government could get involved is to help and create some certification programmes, so that we would raise the bar. [I] come from Denmark. There you have much more
tailor-made education that people have to go through. That means that you have certain qualifications and academic standards before you get a job. Here it’s a little bit more by experience. But [certificate programmes] would allow the younger generation quickly to get up to speed if they had some education that they can take. What’s the outlook for the sector?
Let me paraphrase the question, is this sustained growth or is this Brexit related? I think, if I’m looking at the horizon then the momentum that we have in Luxembourg right now is still extremely positive. [But because of the war for talent] the industry, to a certain degree, has had to compromise on certain positions… Do you mean compromises with hiring employees?
What I mean is, what you ideally like to have, if you put out an open job position, is to get 200 good CVs and ten very well qualified candidates that you pick and choose from. But when you’ve had a situation where everyone has been running around for the same talent… maybe you
get 50 CVs today and maybe you don’t get ten strong profiles, maybe you get four today. In a [normal] job market you have approximately 15% [of your workforce] that are prepared to look for another job, but with the situation that we’ve had this time around, with so many jobs around, I think as much as 35% or maybe 45% of everyone working in the fund industry have been called, not once but several times, from headhunters and this has led to... a bit more merry-go-round. On the whole, the job market has been extremely fluid. Even those people that are risk averse and don’t necessarily want to [switch jobs] have this feeling that, ‘hey I’m being called ten times a week for a new job’, then you think that ‘if it’s not working [at the new employer] then the likelihood is that I’ll get another job’. Obviously, that’s not my career advice because you don’t want to have a tainted CV where you’ve been a hundred places. × And we do see some of these.
Originally from Denmark, Steen Foldberg has been a resident of the grand duchy for nearly 29 years. He joined Aberdeen Standard Investments as managing director of its Luxembourg operations in October 2017. Previously, he was managing director of Julius Bär’s Luxembourg business and headed Merrill Lynch units in Luxembourg and Belgium. Foldberg also held management positions with Misys Banking Systems, Bikuben Bank (now Danske Bank) and Esbjerg Bank.
Beyond the borders essay
Over 192,000 people commute to Luxembourg from the Greater Region for work*. Not all of them live in their native countries. Delano met some of the expats driven across the border by Luxembourg’s spiralling living costs and shortage of affordable housing.
or Irish national Dermot Crowley, the decision to move in 2005 from Luxembourg City to Audun-le-Tiche, in France, was motivated by his then partner’s pet dog. “In Luxembourg, it was difficult to find rental accommodation with dogs and kids,” he recalls. They bought a house a mere ten-minute walk from the town’s CFL train station, offering four trains per day. Not able to speak French confidently at the time, Crowley left most of the administrative tasks to his French partner. This, he said, was tough and there were times he felt isolated. “I felt I couldn’t go out and meet people because I didn’t feel confident in my language skills. Going out in Luxembourg was difficult because I would have to drive home.”
Lala La Photo
Things changed in the intervening years, particularly when they had children and Crowley had to interact more with school staff. While the school his children attend follows the French curriculum, it is as diverse as any school you’ll find in Luxembourg. His daughter recently told him of a new classmate who did not speak French very well. “My daughter tried English, another girl tried Lithuanian, another Spanish,” he said. “They are totally unselfconscious about the idea of speaking a second language at home.” Living in France forced Crowley to learn other things too, like how to drive, a move which proved critical when the trains were replaced with buses. “Everyone has a car and you get used to driving.”
After Crowley and his partner separated, he moved to Villerupt, a nearby former industrial town. By then, he was fluent enough in French to be able to handle the administrative tasks on his own. But, he admits, he finds himself spending more time in Luxembourg than France. With just 27 kilometres between home and work, the distance wouldn’t be an issue if public transport were better or if there was no traffic. This, Crowley said, is the hidden cost of having a bigger house and garden for the children. “Because if you’re spending 2-5 hours per day on the road, the kids may have a garden, but you’re too tired to talk to them when you get in.” Another important consideration, he pointed out, was the growing de- →
*Source → Statec
↑ Bianca-Marina Chirilà
“I would never move back to Arlon. For families, it could be nice, especially for people starting their career.”
← Housing savings need to be balanced against commute cost and time
The first jobber
Bianca-Marina Chirilà, a Romanian national, chose to apply for work in Luxembourg after the 22 March 2016 Brussels attacks. She was finishing her masters in the Belgian capital and had been minutes away when the attack occurred at the Maelbeek metro station. Luxembourg seemed a safer option and when she landed a job, she found accommodation in Arlon. “Since I already lived in Brussels and had the titre de séjour [resident permit], I thought it would just be a matter of changing address,” she recalled. Located 35 kilometres from Luxembourg City, Arlon is proving increasingly popular with expats. According to the local council, the number of foreign nationals living there more than doubled from 2014 to 2018, from 2,154 to 4,881. Chirilà lived in a large, shared house where she paid €450 for a private bed-
room. “Arlon is a good start until you settle, especially if you don’t have the best salary and you’re at the stage where you’re still junior,” she said. The low cost of housing meant that when things didn’t work out in her job, she had enough saved to cover rent until she landed a new one. It was not just housing that was cheaper, Chirilà said. She spent less on groceries, all savings which gave her a bit of extra margin to enjoy the “many good restaurants in Arlon”. Among the fond memories she shared of the year she lived in Arlon was the Maitrank festival, a street party when bars serve a traditional flavoured wine, usually in May. Like Crowley, however, Chirilà spent her free time hanging out with people in Luxembourg. Relying solely on trains, she found she had to turn down invitations. “I remember there was a film festival in the city, but I couldn’t go because I couldn’t get the train back. I was close to crying.” Trains turned out to be a recurring issue of a life split between Arlon and Luxembourg. Delays meant that it could take her up to an hour and a half door to door to reach
work and she was frequently late. Another downside, she recalled, was receiving a surprise bill for €248 from the local council for waste disposal and sewerage. Chirilà eventually bit the bullet and rented a flat in Luxembourg City through a contact. “I would never move back to Arlon. For families, it could be nice, especially for people starting their career,” she said. The nationality question
British national Karen Tomasi lived the cross-border life for three years when she bought a house in Perl-Besch, a hamlet on the German Moselle in 2011. At the time, she commuted to work by car, choosing her travel times carefully to avoid getting caught in tailbacks. While pros included the chance to live in a beautiful part of Germany, she admits it was hard, as most of her friends were in Luxembourg as was her daughter’s school. Tomasi said there were times she just used the house to sleep in, “which felt quite soulless at the end. You have to push yourself to integrate. At that point, you need the languages,” she said. After an interim period back in →
Photo → Anthony Dehez
mand for childcare and pressure on the local after-school system as a result of families moving to the Greater Region. “There’s been a boom because of the families moving there.”
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Pros and cons
How life in the Greater Region stacks up, according to the expats that Delano spoke with
Crowley pays €700 per month for a 3-bedroom flat, plus €700 per year in local council tax
Chirilà paid €450 per month for a room in a shared house, plus €248 per year in council tax
From 2011 to 2014, on a 380-square-metre home, Tomasi paid €34 every quarter in communal charges, €250 per year in property tax and €256 per month for utilities
Five years ago, S alem paid €100 per month for co-housing, then €380 for a one-bedroom apartment, not including charges
Low housing costs, international mix of children in local school
Low housing costs, friendly locals, nice restaurants
Low housing costs, stunningly beautiful scenery
Low housing costs, large international community for socialising, language courses at commune
Traffic congestion, need for a private car, lack of reliable public transport services, integration difficulties for non-French speakers, limited childcare options
Need for a private car, rail services are limited and frequently late
Congested roads, standard VAT is 19%, impossible to apply for Luxembourg nationality if you live abroad
Currently just one train per hour (Monday to Saturday), increasing to two by the end of 2019
Luxembourg, she looked to move abroad again. Despite being fluent in French, she dismissed Belgium and France because of the taxes and construction quality. Instead, she opted for Perl, a small town not far from where she lived previously. In late 2015, she purchased a new, two-bedroom flat with breathtaking views over the Moselle and vineyards for €250,000. She planned to live there, but after the June 2016 Brexit referendum, Tomasi reassessed her priorities. “It’s not just moving 30 kilometres away. You’re moving countries and laws. I took time to think about it and thought ‘I need another passport’.” In another two-and-a-half years, Tomasi will have notched up 20 years’ residency in Luxembourg, enabling her to apply for Luxembourg nationality under certain conditions. She now lets out the flat to tenants and is finding her way through German administration for filing taxes, not an easy task when you don’t speak German. “It’s not like you’re moving to an international German city where they speak English,” she said. Tomasi does not rule out one day living in Perl. But, for now, she is happy to remain in Luxembourg. International Trier
Had Tomasi moved to Trier, her experiences might have been different. Driven
by low rents and house prices, the number of expat cross-border workers has almost tripled over the last 15 years, from 5,600 to 15,500 (900 of which are Luxembourgers). Chemsseddine Salem, a Hungarian IT worker who coordinates the local Inter Nations meetups, told Delano: “A year ago, we were getting 10-15 people attending our events. Now, we’re reaching 60-70 people.” Salem, who previously lived in London, Hong Kong and Brussels, chose Trier because he had friends there. He first lived in a house share, paying €100 per month, before renting a 60-square-metre flat for €380 per month and then eventually buying a flat. “I wanted to move to Luxem bourg, but for an equivalent apartment in the city, it would have cost up to €2,000 per month with charges. For the same price, you can have a house in Trier with a private swimming pool,” he said. Salem says he splits his social life between Luxembourg and Trier. It helps that he has a car and is less reliant on public transport, but that is improving. By the end of 2019, the frequency of trains between Trier and Luxembourg is expected to increase from one per hour to two. Salem knows enough German to get by and, if in doubt, the expat network helps out. He added that he often encounters Germans who speak English.
With foreigners making up 14.1% of the city’s population, the commune has introduced German language courses for this new community. There’s also a council lobbying for the interests of foreign citizens and the commune sponsors and supports initiatives to make foreigners feel welcome in Trier. Of Greater Region residents, in 2017, over one in ten were foreign nationals, according to Statec figures. With public transport and infrastructure improvements planned and no sign that Luxembourg house prices will stabilise, the trend for expats moving over the border only looks × set to continue.
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Finishing a shopping centre APRIL/MAY 2019 ↑ The Cloche d’Or shopping centre under construction, 6 March. The glass roof has a total surface area of 2,900m² and is made up of 900 separate triangular pieces, said Vincent Debrin of Ceetrus
Aaron Grunwald and Céline Coubray
The Cloche d’Or shopping centre is set to open on 14 May. It will host 130 boutiques, notably a flagship Auchan supermarket occupying the entire lower level. Other amenities include a food hall, concierge service, coworking area and events space. About half of retail tenants are opening their first location in or near the grand duchy, said Anand Remtolla of Ceetrus, the property firm developing the site. Construction has been organised in several stages to both minimise impact on the surrounding neighbourhood and keep construction crews inside the centre from stepping on each other’s toes. Work on several shops had not yet begun when Delano visited in early March. Despite the state of play, Ceetrus emphatically stressed that the shopping centre will open on time.
APRIL/MAY 2019 â†‘ A service stairway leading from the main to the upper level
â†’ Construction plans hang near the future coworking space
â†‘ Many brands are opening their first location in Luxembourg and the Greater Region, including Arket, Bellota-Bellota, Finsbury, Oysho and Zara Home. H&M, Hugo Boss, Massimo Dutti, Namur, Scotch & Soda and Sephora will have flagship stores
APRIL/MAY 2019 â†‘ There are a total of 132 parallel construction projects on the site, said Debrin. The first retail tenants began work in May 2018. The last group was set to start on 1 April and has six weeks to finish
â†’ Many tenants are opening their first location inside a shopping centre or their first location in Luxembourg. These retailers are not used to mall construction and may not be familiar with local building regulations. This has added some complexity to the construction process, but also means many shops will have original designs
↑ The main entrance is located across the street from Deloitte’s new headquarters, which will open around the same time as the shopping centre
→ Construction began three and a half years ago. The building was conceived by Fabeck Architectes, in collaboration with Schemel Wirtz Architectes and Minale Design Strategy
Long term value of ICOs Fintech
Economic history is dotted with examples of excessive hype about new business trends followed by more modest but real benefits. From the railroad to the internet, boom and bust is often followed by maturity. Could the fate of initial coin offerings (ICOs) be a recent example of this process? words
more properly “tokens”. Payment tokens are in the form of a new cryptocurrency. Just like other currencies, they are intended as a store of value for making purchases, but with investors perhaps hoping their value will rise. Utility tokens provide access to an application, service or a physical product at reduced prices. Asset tokens are like traditional debt or equity, that offer the promise of future interest payments or dividends.
← Nadia Manzari of Schiltz & Schiltz says Luxembourg’s new ICO law adds some legal certainty for investors
HOW INITIAL COIN OFFERINGS WORK ICOs generally follow a similar path from white paper to distribution.
Laying groundwork Presentation of the project in a white paper highlighting the purpose, the roadmap, introduction of the team and their experience.
lthough the 2017 bitcoin speculative boom and 2018 bust is a fading memory, the technologies and ideas developed around this phenomenon continue to attract interest. Distributed ledgers are online databases run and supervised in full transparency by their users on public and private blockchains. Smart contracts are computer protocols that allow agreed transactions to take place automatically. These plus algorithms, cryptography and more have been tested in real life conditions, demonstrating their potential for a range of business uses. ICO shooting star
An offshoot of the cryptocurrency craze has been initial coin offerings. These were heralded as a new way for entrepreneurs to raise capital; like crowdfunding but using distributed ledger technology. A business idea is encapsulated in a “white paper” and this is advertised, often via social media and ICO websites. Interested supporters will then invest, either using traditional currencies or one of the more widely recognised cryptocurrencies. For their investment, backers would receive three broad types of coins, or
ICO funds raised, globally
*As of 20 March 2019
Number of ICOs
Source → ICOdata.io
Punters poured more than $7.8bn into tokens last year.
2 Pricing set Issuing price is determined.
3 Pre-sale Duration of the crowdsale with some caps (maximum and minimum of tokens to be issued), distribution rules of the tokens (date the token will be available and locking time, if any).
4 Sources → CSSF, Luxembourg House of Financial Technology, Silicon Luxembourg
Publicity burst Marketing and communication campaign of the fundraising via social media and specialised press.
5 User subscriptions Collection of funds in cryptocurrency (i.e., typically bitcoin or ether).
6 On the market End of the ICO and project launch. Tokens created and distributed. The new cryptocurrency or rights can be traded.
Not so fast
For IT specialists with a bright idea, it appeared as simple as that. However, it isn’t, as often they neglected the law. Although creating a new financial product using new technology lowers barriers to entry, this doesn’t mean that players can simply ignore financial sector regulations. There are examples of ICOs which have raised funds for innovative businesses. For example, the firm Tatatu raised a reported $575m last June for their video streaming service. They achieved this by selling TTU crypto tokens, with the grand duke’s second son Félix reported to be an investor. Dubbed the “Blockchain Netflix”, the firm pays TTU to content providers. Whether this project has legs remains to be seen, but the recent history of ICOs isn’t encouraging. For each successful ICO there are more stories of broken promises, lost money, intervention by supervisors and court cases. Many operations have been little more than unscrupulous scams, which are now exciting global regulators and courts. Press reports suggest that 80% of ICOs were fraudulent, with around half carried out by companies without a registered company address. Indeed an academic study by the University of Luxembourg in late 2017 was entitled “The ICO Gold →
*As of 20 March 2019
Completed or planned, 4Q17-3Q18*
Scheduled to run till 27 July 2019
15 March 2019
1 December 2018
15 August 2018
10 June 2018
Cryptocurrency hedge fund
30 April 2018
25 April 2018
4 March 2018
Music exchange token
20 February 2018
Art & media marketplace
19 February 2018
Bank bitcoin utility
5 January 2018
21 October 2017
Rush: It’s a Scam, It’s a Bubble, It’s a Super Challenge for Regulators”. Warnings from regulators
Regulators started catching up with this innovation about a year and a half ago. Initially they were loath to act, as it was judged that the ICO market posed little systemic risk. However, when it became clear that retail investors were getting burned, they decided to act. An American financial regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, classified tokens from ICOs as securities in December 2017. As an investment contract underpinned this, there was a security with an implication of profits to be derived from the endeavour. In Luxembourg, consumers and providers were warned by the CSSF in March 2018 that any provision of financial services must conform to the law, even if there is no specific legal framework for virtual currencies, with no backing from the central bank. There was a specific warning about the lack of legal guarantees and supervision around “highly speculative” ICOs and tokens “which feature a number of risks,
Value of tockens sold in ICO
including total loss of the investment.” Fraud, theft, hacking, hidden fees, and the potential inability to trade these currencies are some of the risks. Further, the regulator added that information on virtual currencies is “often incomplete, difficult to understand or does not reflect all the risks linked to virtual currencies.” Many other regulators have issued similar warnings, including the EU’s European Securities and Markets Authority. STOs from the ashes?
Perhaps the biggest legacy of the ICO boom and bust has been new possibilities backed with robust technology, better equipped regulators, and a more wary market. Some analysts have hopes for security token offerings (STO), which grant investors clearly legally defined rights, even though they are delivered and exchanged digitally. These structures are created and disseminated using distributed ledger or blockchain technology. Whereas many ICOs would more often offer little more than a slice of pie in the sky, STOs confer shareholding rights or might act like a bond with promises of
interest payment. Potentially they could be packaged in such a way as to resemble an investment fund. “Despite the wild west nature of this business, there is clear value here with the prospect of efficient exchanges, whether they be public or private blockchain,” said Bernard Simon, CIO of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. “These tools could revolutionise the market.” How to regulate?
Rules are not totally clear as the first STO took place about two years ago. Often the tokens they produce resemble traditional securities and products such as investment funds, bonds, equities, derivatives, payments, money transfers, and so on. But not always. So regulations need to be complied with based on analysis of their economic and investment function, and investor expectations. Rules on transferability and negotiability need to be checked and enforced. They pointed out that prospectuses are needed when securities are issued, and that anti-money laundering and terrorist financing procedures must be followed. These can be ascertained by looking at the economic rationale behind the issu-
Source → ICObench.com
Keen to comply
STOs embrace the need for regulation as a guarantee of their serious, professional intent, and that securities and products are liquid, transferable and transparent. Yet, thanks to their digital nature, this could open the way to efficiencies. This approach is unlike that used for ICOs, where many developers thought they had found a way of bypassing regulations and traditional regulated intermediaries. One of the main challenges is ensuring that promises are met, and this is where there is a role for an intermediary to curate
this process. They can ensure that promises are honoured with the legal framework enforced, particularly on know your customer rules, anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing measures. This intermediary could be a stock exchange, a clearing house, brokers, banks and more, or a combination of these. Building a new framework
A handful of European countries are seeking to smooth out some of the regulatory wrinkles in the hope of fostering development. Luxembourg was the first country in Europe to licence virtual currency exchange platforms as payment institutions, so has a track record. Then, on 14 February 2019, the Chamber of Deputies approved a law permitting the use of distributed ledger technology for the circulation of securities. “These are still the early stages and people are piloting ideas. The new law in Luxembourg is adding an additional layer of legal certainty. This is good for the industry but also for con× sumers,” said Manzari.
ance of the token, the rights of the owner, and the buyer’s and seller’s objective. This is a judgement call, and is pointed to by European regulations but these aren’t hard and fast definitions. “The basic legal and regulatory framework for tokens is in place. So even though the technology is new, where the token qualifies as a security, it must be regulated like a security,” agreed Nadia Manzari, partner at the law firm of Schiltz & Schiltz.
ICO, THAT SOUNDS FAMILIAR By their name, digital ICOs (initial coin offerings) sound like they may be a sort of virtual IPO (initial public offering). IPOs are a well-known, well-tested way to raise funds in exchange for company shares. ICOs, on the other hand, issue new virtual tokens to raise funds, but most often there is no guarantee that these “currencies” will have any future value as the project matures. Often there are not even promises that these digital ventures will yield dividends or interest, just the prospect of the new token’s intrinsic value, plus a vague hope that they may appreciate in value. Sometimes there is not even a mechanism of how to exit the investments, with no token exchange planned. That said, the phenomenon remains a small niche, and generally attracted investors speculating that they were getting onto the new big thing early. The hype around cryptocurrencies a couple of years back was potentially intoxicating, and some people allowed themselves to be swept along, sometimes blindly. That said, the technology underpinning these developments remains interesting and could yield interesting business and social benefits. And bitcoin is still trading at ten times its dollar value of three years ago.
← Bernard Simon of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange says “there is clear value” in blockchain technologies
get the picture
With a population of just under 600,000 residents and almost 200,000 cross-border workers, Luxembourg has a buzzing media landscape.
Keeping the press afloat
APRIL/MAY 2019 Journalists There are 556 accredited journalists working in Luxembourg. 
Tune-in RTL in Luxembourgish is the mostlistened to radio station (34%), ahead of Eldoradio (19.2%) and RTL in German (7.8%). 
Most read The Luxemburger Wort is the most read print title, reaching 31.7% of the population, followed by L’essentiel (23.5%), Télécran (15.2%), Revue (10.6%), Paperjam (10.5%), Tageblatt (8.5%) and Le Quotidien (4.7%). 
Media overview There are 5 paid daily newspapers in Luxembourg, 1 free daily and 23 magazines, 2 nationwide TV stations, 7 private radio stations and 1 public service broadcaster (100,7). 
Jess Bauldry Jan Hanrion/Maison Moderne
Subsidies In 2018, the government gave €7.08m in media subsidies to print publications, including €1,445,781 to Tageblatt, €1,403,640 to Luxemburger Wort, €1,233,086 to Le Quotidien, €973,398 to Lëtzebuerger Journal, €416,052 to Zeitung vum Lëtzebuerger Vollek, €371,543 to Télécran, €335,310 to Le Jeudi, €336,889 to Revue, €305,549 to D’Lëtzebuerger Land and €267,647 to Woxx. 
Online €1.08m in subsidies of up to a maximum €100,000 per publication went to 13 news websites in 2018. 
Old & young Luxembourg’s oldest media is the Luxemburger Wort, founded in 1848. Its youngest is Reporter.lu, founded in 2017. 
Sources →  Luxembourg Press Council →  Delano research →  Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom 2017 monitor →  TNS Ilres Plurimedia Luxembourg 2018 →  Luxembourg government media services →  Recipients were contacto.lu, delano.lu, lequotidien.lu, lessentiel.lu/de, lessentiel.lu/fr, moien.lu, paperjam.lu, reporter.lu, tageblatt.lu, wort.lu/de, wort.lu/en, wort.lu/fr and woxx.lu
EXHIBITION natur mus é e 14 M a r c h – 4 Au g u s t 2 0 1 9 25, rue Münster L -2160 Luxemb ourg Op ening hours: Tuesday 10 h 00 – 20 h 00 Wednesday – Sunday 10 h 00 – 18 h 00 Closed on Mondays The complete exhibition is also in English. An exhibition conceived and realised by the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle – France
Technology & innovation
What’s a tech company? David Yanofsky at Quartz said (back in 2013) that there was no such thing as a technology company anymore. All firms are tech firms. That certainly appears to be true for manufacturers, which are increasingly using “artificial intelligence” and innovative “Industry 4.0” techniques to make their processes smarter. But we start with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, which is forcing all sorts of outfits to become tech pros.
National Commission for Data Protection (CNPD) commissioner, Christophe Buschmann, also advises companies to keep pace. “Either you move with everyone on a continuous basis, or you just don’t get it and you stop acting and the whole world moves forward… Then it will be very hard to catch up again.”
Mélanie Gagnon moved to Luxembourg from Quebec, Canada, in 2015 to start MGSI, a consulting firm which specialises in data protection. She had been keeping an eye on what was happening in Europe regarding data protection and said the timing was right for her to move abroad to start her company.
The somewhat positive news is that of the 220 data breaches reported to CNPD from 25 May to 31 December 2018, most were internal accidents. “That’s a very important point because sometimes you get the impression when you talk about data breaches or IT security that you focus on this malicious attack that might come one day, but actually most of the breaches are just accidents without bad intentions.” Buschmann acknowledged that, while this overall figure is “probably far from being complete,” he estimates Luxembourg is doing better than “half the countries” when it comes to notifications.
MGSI has worked with local organisations on everything from gap analysis and privacy-by-design to training new data protection officers (DPOs) or former DPOs who want upskilling. Before GDPR came into force, Gagnon said, “there was panic, a lot of requests, people [had] inquiries on how to comply”. Now, however, it’s more of a “waiting mode”, with a distinction between larger companies versus SMEs.
Buschmann believes the biggest challenge this year and moving forward, however, is the “transition from project mode,” during which time many companies reserved financial and human resources specifically for GDPR, to now having to “deploy this somehow into business as usual… you will not read about GDPR every day in the news, but you still need to keep it in mind and keep working on it.”
“For a lot of SMEs, they saw there were no big fines from data protection authorities, so they stopped worrying a bit,” she said. “Small companies… see it like a big mountain that they don’t know how to deal with, what to do, so we are more trying to let them know that the first thing is, at least, to have a look at what they are doing in terms of data processing activities, to prioritise the main actions.”
While company size does matter to an extent, the question on whether companies are complying doesn’t exclusively pertain to that. “There’s this risk-based approach in GDPR, so if you’re smaller… in general, you are processing less data, you engage in less risk, which should make being compliant less burdensome as well,” he said, adding that he realises some SMEs may be lacking a certain level of legal expertise.
Facing “a big mountain”
Gagnon promotes a risk-based approach, but she has noted that websites are still a priority issue, as many are still not compliant. Despite published guidelines, “there are a lot of questions at the European level, even for external DPOs”. While her company keeps abreast of what’s developing in terms of GDPR, there’s also another element at play. “I know in the telecom business they speak to each other about GDPR compliance because if one telecom company in Luxembourg is asking questions, and three others are asking the
At the time of the interview, Buschmann confirmed an audit was underway with 25 firms on the DPO function and its implementation, but results could not yet be disclosed. However, Buschmann confirmed the intent to share the results following the audit’s conclusion. “The idea is always that we want to share good practice and also point towards common bad practice.” There’s also a larger picture: “There’s a clear idea to position Luxembourg as a data hub or IT nation, and I think there
Up to speed
So where does that leave us? Gary Cywie, counsel at the law firm Elvinger Hoss Prussen, specialises in data protection and privacy. Cywie confirmed that few financial companies took advantage of the two-year transitional period when it came to GDPR: “Many businesses in Luxembourg were busy implementing other regulations such as Mifid II, Basel III, new CSSF circulars, and spending time to reflect on the consequences of Brexit.” But he urged companies to implement the “less visible, but nevertheless necessary measures” which include the implementation of technical and organisational measures → for ensuring data protection, conducing
Mélanie Gagnon Founder & CEO MGSI
“There are a lot of questions at the European level, even for external DPOs."
Technology & innovation
The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation entered into full force on 25 May 2018. Although it may have sent some companies into panic mode, it had already been adopted in 2016, replacing the EU Directive 95/46 adopted in 1995. So where do businesses stand today? Delano spoke with three experts working in the area of data protection to get a consensus on the regulation, nearly one year on.
is a collective responsibility not to be the weakest link in all this,” Buschmann said. “Because the day there is an accident, and it’s a Luxembourg firm, nobody will ask if the others were more compliant than the one that suffered a serious accident, they will just conclude that all the others are on the same level.”
Photo → Marie De Decker
1. GDPR, one year on
same question, they are talking to each other to… have some kind of consensus.”
impact assessments as necessary, adopting safeguards with regards to personal data transferred outside of the European Economic Area, to name a few.
“Supervisory authorities did also need to get up to speed with the new regulation and reorganise themselves to familiarise with their new investigation and sanction powers,” he said. “This means that we will also see more investigations and sanctions as we go, with their bunch of potential × judiciary matters.” words
Natalie A. Gerhardstein
2. AI for industry The Economist’s “World in 2019” predicted that tech, including artificial intelligence, will be everywhere this year. And the grand duchy is no exception. One Luxembourg startup, Wizata, has made rapid developments in AI. Founded in 2014 by then 26-year-old Jean-Philippe Hugo, the company’s current CEO, Wizata uses AI technology to empower industry and metal manufacturers to optimise their capabilities.
process industry… in its renewal through digital transformation,” Hugo says. In fact, both Hugo and Maes see Luxembourg as “fertile ground” when it comes to new technologies and AI, whether it’s because of talent or the startup ecosystem. “In Luxembourg, the Digital Tech Fund, Luxinnovation, the Chamber of Commerce and the ministry of economy are fostering a fertile environment for cutting-edge tech in a global market,” says Hugo. Maes adds: “There’s a big trend now to work with very niche, specialised companies [that] are… agile and don’t have the massive overhead and legacy that larger companies have.” Based in Luxembourg, Wizata has also attracted talent from locations as wideranging as Russia and Ukraine to Spain and Morocco. “Luxembourg is a very attractive place for talent, that’s a big asset,” says Maes. AI creating opportunities
The Wizata platform is Microsoft-based, → but one area in which Maes sees
DATA BREACHES Of the 220 data breaches notified to the CNPD between 25 May and 31 December 2018, the cause of violations varied. Of the total, the main cause cited was nonmalicious internal acts (57%), followed by external malicious acts (27%), malicious internal acts (7%) and non-malicious external acts (3%). Six percent were cited as “other”, e.g., technical bugs resulting in personal data ending up in the hands of unauthorised parties. According to a CNPD report, malicious acts tend to have a greater impact, as the act can range from everything from phishing, identity theft or interception of payment data. The agency added that situations involving business mergers or buyouts are “risky periods for unauthorised exfiltrations of data”. Over half of all the security incidents notified to the CNPD were detected within a 48-hour period following their occurrence, but about 18% weren’t detected until a month after they occurred. However, those cases were mainly due to issues linked to “ongoing violations of the security policy of the organisation”. ↳ www.cnpd.public.lu
The technology “goes from predictive to prescriptive analytics: from the multitude of possible outcomes that are simulated, the best course of action is identified to achieve the objectives, generating recommendations to improve production processes,” says Hugo. These optimisations can range from environmental and energy challenges, to improving quality and cost reduction through predictive maintenance. Since its founding in 2014, Wizata has made quick strides, winning the Startup of the Year prize at the Luxembourg ICT Awards in 2016 and being named 2017 Microsoft Country Partner of the Year for Luxembourg. After its initial launch, Wizata benefitted from a fundraising of €1.5m from the Digital Tech Fund, Luxinnovation and Bil in 2018, enabling the company in the same year to double its number of full-time employees, from 10 to 20. The company is now in the phase of scaling up to more international customers. According to Philippe Maes, chief strategy officer and partner, there has been a current focus on steel, but the platform could also be used in derivatives, like copper, or materials such as glass, cement or lime. Fertile ground
“Luxembourg was once at the forefront of the industrial revolution, and it is particularly important for us to help the
LUXEMBOURG DATA PROTECTION DAYS Photo → Vincent Duterne
Jean-Philippe Hugo Founder & CEO Wizata
“It is particularly important for us to help the process industry.”
Now in its third edition, LDPD brings together some 500 players in the field of data protection, with a wide range of speakers, workshops, plus a networking evening. This year’s focus is “GDPR, one year on”, and participants can hear from other businesses about the challenges they are facing, as well as which methodologies and implementation solutions have been adopted. LDPD is an initiative started by MGSI, now coorganised with the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce. 6-7 May Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, Luxembourg-Kirchberg ↳ www.ldpd.lu
Where data feels at home!
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Big data drives quality control Algorithms based on historical data will identify quality issues and reduce product failures
Predictive maintenance Remote monitoring of equipment permits repairs before breakdowns
Robot-assisted production Flexible, humanoid robots carry out assembly, packaging and other manufacturing tasks
Machines as a service Manufacturers will sell services, including maintenance, rather than merely machines
Self-driving logistics vehicles Fully automated transportation systems will intelligently find their own way around factories
Self-organising production Machines will automatically coordinate with each other to maximize utilisation and output
Production line simulation Software will enable production line simulation and process optimisation
Additive manufacturing of complex parts 3D printers will craft complex pieces in a single step, making assembly redundant
Smart supply networks Complete supply chains will be monitored for better decision making
Augmented work, maintenance and service Fourth dimension will facilitate operating guidance, remote assistance and documentation
some barriers is in the view of the cloud. He hopes more firms will get comfortable accessing the cloud, given that it is “secure, powerful… and cheaper” than other options. “There’s a lot of paranoia around [AI],” including the fear of jobs being replaced or functions automated. “But then, you have a huge demand for other types of profiles. The people we’re hiring are 100 percent Stem [science, technology, engineering and maths], so I think it will create great opportunities also.” Maes says: “I see AI as an additional tool, an additional way of getting information, not very different from suddenly having the internet or cell phones or apps… it’s just an extra tool that humans have to × improve their quality of life.” words
Natalie A. Gerhardstein
3. Industry 4.0 in action The move to make manufacturing processes smarter and digitally interconnected, under the “Industry 4.0” banner, is moving from buzzword to real world experimentation. In an open, export-driven economy like Luxembourg’s, this is vital to keep a competitive edge, say industry players. So, what exactly is being transformed? The current “state of the art industry
model is a high degree of automation in your enterprise. Industry 4.0 goes one step beyond. It is not just automatised production, now it’s also the end customer being implicated in the whole” production process, said Laurent Federspiel, assistant manager in charge of Industry 4.0 and quality at Ceratizit. The company, based in Mamer, provides materials for machine tools used in the automotive, aerospace, energy and several other industries. “We are working in a global world, and like every industry, you have to be the best, fastest and cheapest to keep your customers happy.” For Ceratizit, Industry 4.0 means creating direct digital connections with clients, stated Federspiel. In the future, “if the customer has a certain idea, the customer themselves will basically have access to our machines, virtually speaking. He’s able to define, at his desk, how the product will look like… the information system gives him an immediate response if it’s feasible and at what price.” If the customer decides to proceed with the order, they hit the “yes” button and then “the production line produces it”, he said. That’s the future vision. But it’s not a straight line to get there. “You can imagine, a production process has many, many parameters that you have to control. Now that’s done by engineers and operators, but in the future we’ll try to reflect this knowledge in a digital system” in order to
give customers that virtual access, he said. Ceratizit has started several Industry 4.0 projects, including one with the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology that focuses on premium hot rolls made of cemented carbide, which are used in steel manufacturing. “It’s not a complicated product, but digitalisation is very complicated” because of the precision required and the large number of customer variables. “Once we are successful in this one, we could then attack other” product lines. The move to Industry 4.0 requires a substantial investment. Ceratizit is spending a total of €3.6m on its various projects “over a couple years”, stated Federspiel. One notable capital outlay was for a high precision 3D scanner imported from Sweden that captures a raft of detailed data on each step of the production process, along with related software and training for employees on how to use all the new kit. Altogether, “roughly one-third of the overall budget is allocated to hardware” like the scanner, with another third going to training and a third for consulting services, according to Parwez Farsan, the firm’s PR manager. Customers and employees
Cebi, a Steinsel-based supplier of automotive and household appliance components, also selected a flagship
Source → “Man and Machine in Industry 4.0”, published on bcg.com
Ten ways Industry 4.0 will reshape the manufacturing landscape Here’s how technology will transform industrial workflows and the industrial workforce by 2025, according to the Boston Consulting Group.
product to trial its transition to Industry 4.0 and aims to expand from there. Last year the firm embarked on a research partnership with the University of Luxembourg’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) and DataThings, a Luxembourg artificial intelligence startup.
“Firstly, this project aims at significantly optimising our production and supply chain processes in order to reach the satisfaction of clients who are more demanding, in terms of technical specs, quality and lead time,” according to Paul Elvinger, a member of Cebi’s executive board. “Secondly, we need to better serve our own employees, making their work more efficient, less laborious, while enabling them to increase their digital competences [in order] to keep → the Luxembourg site competitive.”
Photo → Ceratizit
Laurent Federspiel Assistant manager in charge of Industry 4.0 Ceratizit
“The jobs you know today will probably not be the jobs we will have in the future.”
“For implementing the Industry 4.0 project, we decided to work on our flagship product, i.e., temperature sensors, as it is a widely used and customisable product in terms of shape, weight, specifications, etc.,” he explained. “The project will cost several million euros in the upcoming years. By starting a research project with our partners, Cebi obtained a financial aid from the Luxembourg state, which highly encourages initiatives related to digitalisation, especially in the industrial sector.” While it is trialling new technologies at its other sites, “the main focus of the Industry 4.0 project is at Cebi Luxembourg as we are expecting to develop the global architecture from there.” Training, data challenges
Automatisation does not automatically mean shedding staff, stressed Federspiel. He cited the example of banks, which have collectively added headcount since the introduction of ATMs. But tomorrow’s workforce needs to be “much smarter and efficient”. “The jobs you know today will probably not be the jobs we will have in the future. People need to be [trained] to adapt to the new work environment. It’s a long-term process.” Ceratizit is “constantly scouting” for training courses. “What is new for us and other companies is that Industry 4.0 is becoming a challenge in the treatment of the amount of data,” reckoned Federspiel. Currently, quality is judged on the finished product, he said. But the software is collecting reams of data about individual machines, such as a temperature, energy consumption and process time. There’s value in that data, but it’s not always easy to find it. For example, “if a machine consumes too much energy, there might be a problem. If a machine needs more energy to produce [a piece], it might be that a tool is worn out” and needs replacing. “Machines provide more data” but the numbers need to be distilled down to “a layer where we, as humans, × can interpret this data”. words
ECONOMIC WEIGHT “With more than 32,000 employees, the manufacturing sector in Luxembourg represents 8.3% of total national employment and 4.6% of the national added value,” Luxinnovation, the statebacked economic promotion body, said in a January 2019 report.
DIGITAL CHAMPIONS A survey of 1,155 manufacturing executives in 26 countries, including Luxembourg, found there are four types of firms when it comes to the Industry 4.0 evolution. Outfits were classified as “digital novices”, “digital followers”, “digital innovators” or “digital champions”. “Just 10% of global manufacturing companies are digital champions, while almost two-thirds have barely or not yet begun on the digital journey,” according to the “Global Digital Operations Study 2018”, published by the consulting firm PwC’s Strategy& unit. “The automotive and electronics industries have the most digital champions, with 20% of automotive and 14% of electronics companies implementing innovative solutions across their marketplace and facilities.” Geographically speaking, the Asia-Pacific region led the way, with 19% of manufacturers classified as digital champions, stated Strategy&. That compared to 11% in the Americas and just 5% in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.
PUBLIC SUPPORT European funds The EU’s Horizon 2020 scheme provides €80bn in research and prototyping funds, including Industry 4.0 projects. ↳ www.ec.europa.eu/research/
Luxembourg funds The economy ministry provides several different types of support grants to SMEs and larger enterprises. ↳ www.guichet.public.lu
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Photographs Â© the artists
P H OT O G R A P H Y
What is the most important technology & innovation development to watch in Luxembourg this year?
More emphasis on user’s experience
Innovating through AI
Márton Fülöp Chief Innovation Officer Docler Holding
Brice Lecoustey Partner, Advisory services and Digital EY Luxembourg Aylin Mutter Assistant Director, Digital EY Luxembourg
Globally, we are starting to see more emphasis on user experience. We’ve seen a shift in popular opinion across sectors towards the importance of the “human” element in customer solutions. There’s a great movie about this called “Design Disruptors”, where companies like Lyft talk about how design is the fusion of art and ease of use. In some cases, the approach has even turned scientific--an experimental, impartial approach to solving customers’ problems. This stretches from products themselves in the case of startups to user interfaces in the case of larger corporations. I hope to see Luxembourg make a substantial contribution to this end. That said, the innovation I hope to see most shows its colours less by way of business and more by way of culture. Our Luxembourgish ecosystem won’t blossom through marketable solutions as much as through a community of tech lovers--that rare breed of human fascinated by technology, passionate even. In short, look out for a focus on user experience and growth of the tech-lover community as event organisers, sponsors and tech companies continue to water Luxembourg’s growing technology hub.” ×
We currently are at a stage where businesses have understood the urgency of embracing and embedding digital technologies in their operations and strategies. Innovations are created on a regular basis through new service and product offerings, business processes, and operating models. As businesses continuously leverage advanced technologies to solve business problems and enhance their solutions, we see an explosion in the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), in particular. This is due to the evolution of the availability of data, its enhanced computing, and packaged algorithms. While private and public organisations have been initially using AI to optimise back-office functions, the shift towards a realisation of the added value for their entire organisation, across the entire value chain, including their clients, employees, and business operations, is noted. Increasingly, AI is supporting and improving decision-making across various sectors and industries. For example, cognitive knowledge management systems ensure timely insights on markets and clients to provide recommendations to financial advisors. Furthermore, leveraging AI supported analytics help to enhance due diligence processes by identifying issues more quickly to help buyers and sellers to close a deal better and faster. It strengthens the ability of private equity firms to better anticipate evolutions of markets and companies as well as to consider new strategies, and thus to improve the entire decision processes. Hence, better outcomes for clients and the business itself are achieved.
Commercial companies leverage AI to control loss of revenue by classifying customers who are likely to pay late. After gathering historic data on their customers along with external data such as macroeconomic indicators, AI clusters them into customer groups. The AI algorithm then makes recommendations based on these clusters such as whether the customer is likely to pay, and eventually can lead to an action to review or even block a certain customer. A high level of customisation is achieved at a large scale by automatically analysing client’s behaviour, which can be beneficial for engaging with the client in a humanlike way by offering tailored information at the right time. Practical examples range from chatbots to digital assistants that significantly support sales and service interactions to predict client needs. Whether it is resulting in direct and more effective interactions with the client, or filling in forms, or even navigating through interfaces, a greater customer experience can be achieved in a more costeffective way. To gain maximum advantage, it is key to combine a business with a technological approach by knowing exactly the areas of improvement and the potential of AI while having clearly defined goals. Ultimately, AI is an enabler to solve business issues of today to enhance competitive advantage for tomorrow. ×
YOUNG WOMEN CHALLENGE
Students from ICHEC Brussels, Bocconi University, Tilburg University and HEC Paris were honoured at the 6th edition in December 2018. The three members of the winning team from ICHEC each received €750 in prize money and an internship at the consulting firm. Runner-up team members received the same amount of money and interviews with Deloitte to be considered for internships. ↳ www.deloitte.lu
Appealing to female students Deloitte wants to improve the gender balance in the professional services sector. Christian van Dartel explained how the firm’s Young Women Challenge is helping.
Esther Bechtold Mike Zenari
ozens of university students faced off in front of a jury at Deloitte in Luxembourg last December. They were competing in the consultancy’s Young Women Challenge. Out of 200 submissions, 36 teams had been selected to present on “how to make audit, tax and consulting careers more appealing to young female students” and “how to improve the retention of female professionals and ensure gender balance at all grades”. Christian van Dartel, Deloitte’s diversity and inclusion leader in Luxembourg, told Delano after the event: “Diversity is part of our DNA as a company and we try to implement it on a daily basis. The Young Women Challenge is a way to take direct action towards this goal and the increas-
ingly large number of participants reveals the topic’s current relevance.” In terms of male to female employees ratio, Deloitte strikes a good balance, van Dartel stated, “but gender imbalance is an issue on the level of senior leadership positions”. The initiative has had a direct effect on company policies in the past. It contributed to the improvement of parenthood programmes and gave rise to so-called “speed meetings” between female professionals and senior leaders, according to van Dartel. The challenge also “offers Deloitte firsthand information on young women’s aspirations, provides us with valuable academic research on the topic and helps attract future employees”. Cassandra Papadopoulos, Naomy Luypaert and a third student from the ICHEC Brussels Management School won first prize this time for their presentation on connecting with students. They had suggested that Deloitte and its competitors be increasingly present in the early stages of women’s education to make it more apparent that audit, tax and consulting are career options for them. Interactive workshops, talks about the company’s missions and targeted social media accounts would help female students make informed decisions at key stages in their education, they told Delano in February. The two women were inspired by their own hesitancy to work at Deloitte. “I know the audit domain is still a men’s world, so I wanted to find out if there was a place for women in this profession,” Luypaert said. Papadopoulos explained: “We realised that if we were unsure ourselves whether or not we were cut out for a career at Deloitte, many other women might lack this certainty, too.” That’s why they advise companies to hold events in secondary schools to inspire confidence in girls from adolescence on. Papadopoulos reckoned: “Girls should feel equal to boys, and the focus should be on the cooperation of boys and girls, because × that’s what we need later on.”
ACTIONS POSITIVES EN FAVEUR DE L’ÉGALITÉ DES FEMMES ET DES HOMMES DANS LES ENTREPRISES DU SECTEUR PRIVÉ
ENCOURAGEZ L’ÉGALITÉ FEMMES-HOMMES DANS VOTRE ENTREPRISE Promouvoir l’égalité entre femmes et hommes constitue aujourd’hui un atout majeur pour l’entreprise en quête d’une meilleure qualité du travail, d’une motivation accrue du personnel, ainsi que d’une meilleure performance et compétitivité. Dans cette optique le ministère de l’Égalité entre les femmes et les hommes propose aux entreprises un programme de financement et de soutien qui leur permet d’améliorer l’environnement de travail au niveau de l’égalité entre femmes et hommes.
LE PROGRAMME DES ACTIONS POSITIVES : • Une enquête de satisfaction en interne qui porte sur l’égalité de traitement des femmes et des hommes sous différents aspects dont notamment l’organisation de travail
• l’évolution de carrière • la prise de décision • la conciliation de la vie professionnelle et privée
L’entreprise ayant participé avec succès au programme peut obtenir un agrément ministériel et l’Award Actions Positives.
L’ENTREPRISE PARTICIPANTE DOIT METTRE EN PLACE UN PLAN EN TROIS POINTS :
L’ÉGALITÉ DE TRAITEMENT DES FEMMES ET DES HOMMES
L’ÉGALITÉ DES FEMMES ET DES HOMMES
DANS LA PRISE DE DÉCISION
L’ÉGALITÉ DES FEMMES ET DES HOMMES DANS
LA CONCILIATION ENTRE VIE PROFESSIONNELLE ET VIE PRIVÉE
Ministère de l’Égalité entre les femmes et les hommes • firstname.lastname@example.org Tél.: +352 247-85814 • Fax: +352 24 18 86
Découvrez plusieurs projets de bonnes pratiques d’entreprises participantes sous :
Photo → Aberdeen Standard Investments
Checking for quality The Matrix is only part of the process for the European Smaller Companies strategy, however. Once likely stocks have been identified, Aberdeen’s team of expert portfolio managers carry out detailed fundamental analysis, interview the companies’ management team and discuss the investment thesis within teams, to ensure only the very best names make it into the portfolio. Wide horizons In order to satisfy its investors’ needs, Aberdeen Standard Investments offers a range small cap funds based on different markets. These include Asian, European, North American and Japanese funds along with those selected
Sometimes it pays to think small Investing in smaller companies can lead to big returns. Investment Specialist Graham McCraw explains why it makes sense to include small cap stocks in your portfolio and how to ensure you choose the right ones.
What are the key benefits of investing in small cap funds?
Historically, investing longterm in small caps – smaller companies valued at less than €5 billion or thereabouts – has produced better returns than putting money into large cap companies. That’s as an average across all markets, but if a small cap fund is actively managed by a team of specialists, returns can be boosted even further. It’s also worth considering that the large cap leaders of tomorrow are among today’s small cap market, which means that long-term investors are in a position to reap the benefit as these companies grow. Diversification is always a wise policy, and holding both small and large cap stocks is a sound strategy, especially because small caps tend to be domestic in scope and therefore less vulnerable to global trends and currency fluctuations.
Your small cap funds consistently offer above-market returns – why is that?
sponsored content by
Aberdeen Standard Investments
All of our key small cap strategies have significantly outperformed their respective benchmark, which we believe is testament to our well-resourced teams, robust investment process and experience managing assets in
this space. Rigorous due diligence is crucial to our success: our teams attend hundreds of meetings every year with the management teams at smaller companies where we evaluate corporate strategies and environmental, social and governance risks. We search for emerging winners: those under-researched innovators who are set to become leading companies in the future.Another important aspect is that we manage concentrated portfolios – ranging from 40 to 90 stocks, depending on strategy – where every stock has a meaningful impact on performance. How do you ensure that you invest only in high-quality small cap companies?
Our portfolio managers place a premium on transparency, stable finances and sustainable earnings. Our teams target firms that have a strong market share and can raise prices to counter increasing costs without hurting sales. Firms that generate high returns on capital are also attractive because they are able to reinvest in their own growth. We also look for businesses that have defendable competitive advantages that can’t easily be reproduced by others. Quality of management is also vital. Before any stock makes it into a portfolio, it has to go through a rigorous peer-review process. In these meetings, team members challenge and refine the case for investment. The quality of the company is a fundamental aspect of this discussion. We won’t invest in × stocks that aren’t of high quality.
← Graham McCraw, Investment Specialist at Aberdeen Standard Investments
Picking stock Aberdeen Standard Investments actively manages its funds. For the European Small Cap strategy, part of this approach involves using a proprietary screening tool called the Matrix. This process has been in place for over 20 years and has a track record of delivering robust returns. For instance, its European Smaller Companies Ffund outperformed the FTSE Developed Europe Small Cap Index by 87% since inception of the strategy in October 2007.
The Indian Business Chamber of Luxembourg holds a conference on “Banking and wealth management in Luxembourg”.
“This is a place where people interested in computers, science and technologies can hang out together, tinker with technology, hack on projects, socialise and collaborate.”
Wed 24 April To be announced IBCL – Indian Business Chamber of Luxembourg ASBL
Tue 30 April, 20:00 Syn2cat, Bonnevoie Syn2cat asbl
A selection of upcoming business, information and networking events for Luxembourg’s international community.
British Chamber of Commerce
Taxpayer rights Serge Schroeder, an administrative judge, and Georges Simon, a tax lawyer, will address the rights and obligations of taxpayers when dealing with the Luxembourg tax service. Wed 15 May, 12:00 DoubleTree by Hilton ↳ www.bcc.lu
Luxembourg Sustainability Forum Carole Dieschbourg, the environment minister, gives the keynote at this conference focusing on “Zero single-use plastic”. Event in French and English. Thu 25 April, 13:30-19:00 Cercle Cité
MGSI & Chamber of Commerce
Data privacy Speakers at the “Luxembourg Data Protection Days 2019: GDPR, one year on” event include François Thill, director of cybersecurity at Luxembourg’s economy ministry. Mon 6-Tue 7 May Chamber of Commerce ↳ www.ldpd.lu
Luxembourg Arbitration Association
Fri 26 April Chamber of Commerce Luxembourg Arbitration Association
Pitch Your Startup 2019
60 startups each have 3 minutes and 33 seconds to make their pitch for the chance to win €100,000 or other prizes. Held during the ICT Spring Europe confab. European Convention Center ↳ www.pitchyourstartup.eu
Personal branding Sarah Battey of All About Talent discusses “5 steps to building your personal brand” during the “Own your ‘why’” workshop.
Find more events Check Delano’s digital agenda for the latest happenings:
Tue 21 May
Arbitration Day The first Arbitration Day event includes an arbitration training in the morning and afternoon sessions on arbitration in the banking, finance and investment sectors.
Luxinnovation & Docler Holding
Tue 14 May, 14:00 Alvisse Parc Hotel ↳ www.club.paperjam.lu
Speakers at the European Risk Management Conference include Marco Zwick of the Luxembourg regulator CSSF. Thu 23 May Chamber of Commerce ↳ www.alfi.lu
Luxembourg-Poland Chamber of Commerce
Monthly meetup Network with members of the LPCC, who are active in a number of sectors, including finance and technology. The chamber’s official language is English. Thu 23 May, 18:30 To be announced Luxembourg-Poland Chamber of Commerce
Photos → Ishant Mishra on Unsplash → Matic Zorman → Arget on Unsplash → Olivier Minaire → Lala La Photo → Olivier Minaire → Anthony Dehez → Marion Dessard
Mike Leigh is pictured talking to fans at the Cinémathèque on 16 March. He was in the grand duchy as a guest of the Luxembourg City Film Festival and delivered a masterclass with French cinema critic Michel Ciment. The British film director returned to the cinema library’s screening room on place du Théâtre the following day to present his latest film, the historical drama “Peterloo”. He had previously held a talk at the Cinémathèque in October 2015 while he was in town to direct his production of “The Pirates Of Penzance” at the Grand Théâtre. This time Leigh was also the recipient of the festival’s lifetime achievement award, honouring his body of work from the iconic “Abigail’s Party” to the award-winning biopic “Mr. Turner” via seminal films such as “High Hopes”, “Secrets and Lies” and “Naked”.
Duncan Roberts Mike Zenari
MUSIC & CULTURE FESTIVAL
CAT POWER • BAND OF HORSES IDLES • FLAVIEN BERGER
GRANDBROTHERS • CLAIRE LAFFUT • THE HOLY
RAFTSIDE • CLAIRE PARSONS & URIEL BARTHÉLÉMI • C’EST KARMA -R E A DI NGS -
CATHERINE ELSEN (ILL) • SOPHIE REYER - CULTUR E -
ART & DANCE PERFORMANCES, INSTALLATIONS, DESIGN EXPO, CREATORS & INITIATIVES MARKET, WORKSHOPS, KIDS PROGRAM -FOOD & WI NE -
LOCAL & INTERNATIONAL FOOD ORGANIC WINE BAR
LUXEMBOURG CITY SAT, ��th JUNE ���� SIRENSCALL.LU
The Source A guide to culture and lifestyle
Space for artists De Gudde Wëllen’s Luka Heindrichs on the venue’s philosophy and the last edition of Food For Your Senses
86 Special feature
92 Kids page
Training and Fun and education inclusive An interview with Athénée international classes coordinator Joanne Goebbels
How Little Lions offers kids an energetic introduction to sports
Creating a space for artists
On 25-26 May the last edition of the Food For Your Senses festival will take place, with plenty of surprises in store for those attending the nearly-sold-out event. Luka Heindrichs recalls its evolution and explains how he tries to maintain a similar philosophy at De Gudde Wëllen. words
Natalie A. Gerhardstein Mike Zenari
t started out as a small festival in 2005, organised by friends with a desire to get Luxembourg bands together. “It was the peak of the indie dynamic,” Luka Heindrichs recalls. “We didn’t know where it would go, we just wanted to start something.” In part because Luxembourg artists were bringing their friends, Food For Your Senses quickly gained momentum from a cultural evening to a three-day event, complete with open-air camping. Around 2010-11, FFYS added international artists to the bill and opened the event up to three stages, and the organisation team began thinking about ways the festival could live up to its name. “We brainstormed how to create a multi dimensional event, with input for [the other senses]. In a very naïve way, we wanted to do something that was more than a musical festival,” Heindrichs says. This led to an art exhibition and a sensory garden, where festival-goers could wander through a variety of plants. There were even osteopaths on site, “so your neck could get some release after a night of headbanging”. But the music still took centre stage. The team grew, offering a wider range of competencies. “We had a few lucky bookings, where we would have an artist at FFYS which would literally explode just after we’d booked them,” Heindrichs says. This was the case for German rapper Cro (2012), and folk group Milky Chance (2014). At its peak, the festival drew crowds of around 5,000. Despite the growth, Heindrichs says they wanted to maintain some “philosophical integrity”, for example, when it came to sponsors. They didn’t want ads bombarding concert-goers and refused to name stages after sponsors, preferring to “give the public the view of the sponsor as a useful part of the festival,” for which they were grateful, and to which the sponsors agreed. But with growth came additional challenges. The festival had taken place in Tuntange until it moved to Bissen, before the data centre works began. Once FFYS had to move away from Bissen, it was difficult to find space for such a crowd, or at least one which didn’t have issues with construction, contamination, landowners or local farmers. FFYS moved to Kirchberg, but the team knew construction would eventually take place there as well. The work, on a volunteer basis, was taking up a lot of time too. “We got older, some started families or got busy with jobs,” Heindrichs says. “We missed the chance to really structure the festival in a way that would have been more sustainable.” The team was faced with a dilemma, but they decided “to look it in the →
“Our ambition is to create a space where good things can happen. It’s our leitmotif.” ↑ Luka Heindrichs Founding partner, De Gudde Wëllen
DE GUDDE WËLLEN
The venue opened in December 2014. Originally hosting occasional concerts and a weekend party atmosphere, the venue now programmes around 100 shows per year, everything from local and international bands and DJs to improv and other cultural acts. Our photo shows Say Yes Dog on stage. ↳ www.deguddewellen.lu
eye, be open about it and finish the story with a bang.” A funeral feast for the senses
Heindrichs says the last edition of FFYS will be not just about “gravity and nostalgia”, but also a “moment for flashbacks” over the last nearly 15 years. But the team is keeping it realistic: half the tickets, half the crowd. That also means half the production, half the bands. “We want to focus on being happy on what had been, while reducing the stress.” The team is intentionally not releasing the programme until just before the festival so that people attend for the experience itself. “We were never a headliner festival… It was always about giving the public the certainty that they would have a high-quality, discovery moment,” says Heindrichs. At the time of writing, the open-air camping had already sold out, as had most of the two-day passes. One month before the festival, one-day tickets should be made available, but attendees this year are capped at 2,500. Heindrichs promises a mix of international and local acts in the line-up, plus artists returning to the festival. There will be a space for an exhibition with photos from FFYS, plus the evolution of graphic design of the posters over the years. No new mer-
chandise will be created--“we have so much left from the last ten years,” Heindrichs says: “But there will be loads of surprises.” Creating a culture café
Despite the nostalgic ending for FFYS, the festival led to new beginnings for Heindrichs in 2014. During the festival set-up that summer, Heindrichs and Jaakes Hoffmann were approached about taking over the bar that was in the location where De Gudde Wëllen is now. They accepted, opening in December 2014. “It went really fast,” Heindrichs recalls. “We did a lot of renovation, had some really intense moments with little budget… From the moment we got the keys in September to the moment we opened, we were surrounded by friends, painting, building, construction, taking stuff to the recycling centre.” And, just like FFYS, the space grew from a circle of friends. The core staff of eight hasn’t changed much since DGW opened, with Heindrichs, Hoffmann and Ben Thommes, who’s in charge of the bar, as co-owners. It was never Heindrich’s ambition to run a nightclub, even if he came from a family with entrepreneurial backgrounds. But the “culture café” now boasts some 100 acts per year, or about two shows per week.
DGW’s range of events has grown over the years and now includes improv groups, “choiraoke” (choir karaoke), DJs from abroad and comedy--what Heindrichs wants is a “broad cultural spectrum”. Heindrichs hopes DGW can serve as a counterpart to other clubs in the city, providing that underground edginess he feels is sometimes lacking in Luxembourg City. “Our ambition is to create a space where good things can happen. It’s our leitmotif,” he says. “It can be creating a space where there’s an amazing instant of art, like a concert, but also a space to meet people and be × shaken a bit in your habits.” Food For Your Senses 25 & 26 May Boulevard Pierre Frieden, Luxembourg-Kirchberg ↳ www.ffys.eu
ROCKHAL PRESENTS: 24 JUN 07 JUN
AMELIE LENS MILO SPYKERS
I EMINA HELENA (lux)
17 JUN 21 JUN
THREE DAYS GRACE
Crooners, swooners and a fabulous underground festival Indie darling
Benjamin Clementine The award-winning singer performs an intimate acoustic show with his Parisian String Quintet. The programme will feature reinterpretations of songs from his two acclaimed albums, the classically soulful “At Least for Now” and the more experimental “I Tell a Fly”. His voice has been compared in richness to that of Nina Simone, and on stage Clementine has what David Byrne called “a unique theatrical flair that is entirely his own”. 5 May Garage rock
den Atelier, Luxembourg-Gare ↳ www.atelier.lu
Even the inclusion of the fabulous “Bellbottoms” in the iconic opening scene of “Baby Driver” has failed to catapult Jon Spencer to stardom. All the better for those who want to catch the prince of garage rock in a small venue. He brings his Hitmakers band to the Rotondes courtesy of den Atelier to play tunes from his album “Spencer Sings the Hits!”, which Pitchfork says sees him “scientifically reanimating” rock’n’roll. 3 May Rotondes, Luxembourg-Bonnevoie ↳ www.atelier.lu
Like a Jazz Machine The festival line-up had not been completed as Delano went to print, but some names worth watching for at this year’s edition of Dudelange’s premier celebration of all things jazz include bassist Kyle Eastwood (photo), drummer and songwriter Manu Katché and French pianist Laurent de Wilde as well as a host of local artists like David Laborier and Claire Parsons. 16-19 May opderschmelz, Dudelange ↳ www.jazzmachine.lu
28 May den Atelier, Luxembourg-Gare ↳ www.atelier.lu
Wooden Shjips During the cusp of the last decade, a slew of bands and artists were playing spaced out contemporary psychedelic music that often incorporated Krautrock influences. Undisputed leaders of the movement were San Francisco’s Wooden Shjips, who last year released their fifth album, “V”, following a five-year gap in new recordings. The new material has been called “an album of hazy intensity” that “captures moments of fleeting happiness in dark days”. 31 May Rotondes, Luxembourg-Bonnevoie ↳ www.rotondes.lu
Photos → Michael Lavine → Jason Powers
APRIL/MAY 2019 Soulful art
Lauded by the cool indie kids, Kurt Vile is one of those artists who is hard to pin down. He keeps bringing out new material and releases a new album every two years or so, often collaborating with all manner of hip names such as former Sonic Youth bass player Kim Gordon and singer-songwriter Cass McCombs for last year’s “Bottle It In”. That album was hailed as “funny, moody, mordant and beautiful” by Rolling Stone magazine, which called some of the songs “epic stoner dramas”.
Out Of The Crowd
American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato sings the title role in a concert version of Händel’s opera based on the life of the mother of Roman emperor Nero. Other star performers include Marie-Nicole Lemieux and Franco Fagioli. They are joined by the renowned Il Pomo d’Oro ensemble, which specialises in authentic performances of Baroque compositions. The libretto by Vincenzo Grimani is described as an “anti-heroic satirical comedy”. 14 May Philharmonie, Luxembourg-Kirchberg ↳ www.philharmonie.lu
The festival season always kicks off with a bang in the grand duchy in the shape of OOTC, which has been consistently putting together great line-ups since 2004. This year’s headliners are Boise, Idaho indie rockers Built To Spill, who will perform their classic album “Keep It Like a Secret” in its entirety. Emerging Swiss darlings Peter Kernel will play their brand of intricate yet danceable post-punk, Ireland’s furious punk upstarts The Murder Capital (photo) will bring their unique energy to the festival, dark post-rock outfit Jaye Jayle deliver melancholy and lush arrangements, and French band Lysistrata play what has been called post-hardcore math rock. Also on the bill are Copenhagen’s Town Portal, Korean surfgaze band Say Sue Me, Sweden’s Dammit I’m Mad and local artists Klein and The Choppy Bumpy Peaches.
Jamiroquai Since the release of debut album “Emergency on Planet Earth” in 1993, Jay Kay and his band have consistently turned out intelligent dance music with an environmental conscience. Global superstars by the mid-1990s, the band released its latest album, “Automaton”, back in 2017. It received favourable reviews, with All Music calling it “classic disco-funk” played with “much genuine love”. 2 June Rockhal, Esch-Belval
Photos → Pari Dukovic → Cameron Wittig & Crystal Quinn → Giorgia Bertazz
Indie folk experiment
Bon Iver Justin Vernon and cohorts return to the grand duchy following an acclaimed show at neïmenster in 2012 and the cancellation of a scheduled performance at Rockhal in 2017. Hardly known for his fast work pace, Vernon has made just three Bon Iver albums in 12 years, and it has been well over two years since the highly acclaimed experiment that was “22, A Million” was released. 4 June Rockhal, Esch-Belval ↳ www.atelier.lu
27 April Kulturfabrik, Esch-Alzette ↳ www.ootcfestival.com Classical
Martin Helmchen German pianist Martin Helmchen has been described as having an “absolutely determined approach” to his art and of “shaping lines as elegant and clean as a Greek temple’s” with his music. Here, with the OPL conducted by Philippe Herreweghe, Helmchen performs Johannes Brahms’s “1st Piano Concerto”, completed when the composer was just 25 years old. The OPL will also perform Brahms’s “4th Symphony”. 17 May Philharmonie, Luxembourg-Kirchberg ↳ www.philharmonie.lu
Yuja Wang APRIL/MAY 2019 Grammy winners
Kidjo-Waltzing Local composer, musician and conductor Gast Waltzing teams up once again with singer Angélique Kidjo for an evening of songs from her rich repertoire. Together with the OPL, the pair won a Grammy in 2016 for an album recorded at the Philharmonie, and this concert will recapture that magic.
One of the Philharmonie’s artists in residence for the 2019-20 season, acclaimed pianist Yuja Wang performs in Luxembourg before setting off on tour with the OPL. Wang will play Maurice Ravel’s “Concerto for the left hand” and Dmitri Shostakovich’s “2nd Piano Concerto”. The programme also features Tchaikovsky’s “The Storm” and the second scene of Ravel’s ballet “Daphnis et Chloé”. 2 June Philharmonie, Luxembourg-Kirchberg ↳ www.philharmonie.lu
22 May Philharmonie, Luxembourg-Kirchberg Dance
De Gudde Wëllen has a fine programme over the next two months, including gigs by English wits The Wave Pictures on 13 April, the return of Swiss pop duo Klaus Johann Grobe on 20 April, and a show by indie rock band Weakened Friends on 22 May. Down in the Grund, neimënster plays host to blues vocalist and songwriter Sugar Queen on 9 April and to acclaimed smoky voiced British blues singer Elles Bailey on 25 April. ↳ www.deguddewellen.lu ↳ www.neimenster.lu
M. Linh and His Child Luxembourg actor Jules Werner (photo) stars in this Englishlanguage adaptation of Philippe Claudel’s novel directed by Guy Cassiers. The one-man play sees Werner play the title role--a refugee who fled a war-ravaged country in search of a better future for his granddaughter--as well as the narrator and Mister Bark, who befriends Mister Linh during their daily meetings on a park bench. It is a performance about the power of imagination and portrayal.
Gauthier Dance from Stuttgart returns to the Grand Théâtre with a special evening of three pieces by choreographers who are all natives of Israel. They include Hofesh Shechter with “Uprising 7”, which explores the masculine side of dance. Gai Behar and Sharon Eyal have created a special condensed female-only version of their acclaimed “Killer Pig” piece (photo). And Ohad Naharin showcases his iconic work “Minus 16”. 21 May Grand Théâtre, Luxembourg-Limpertsberg ↳ www.theatres.lu
3, 4, 5 & 7 May Grand Théâtre, LuxembourgLimpertsberg ↳ www.theatres.lu
Find more events Check Delano’s digital agenda for the latest happenings: ↳ www.delano.lu/agenda
Photos → Sofia Sanchez & Mauro Mongiello → Norbert Kniat → Regina Brocke
Let’s talk “bread” Discover our bread the month and another ofbrunch with way a surprise bread !
Surrounded by all these delicious treats, your table
centrepiece is a lovely surprise bread, “homeﬁlled” and generously so with vegetable spreads or soft cheese with herbs or asparagus, chopped eggs, sun-dried tomatoes… everyone can choose their own favourite spread.
A multi-purpose deposit system designed in Luxembourg to transport meals. Whether at the restaurant, canteen or takeaway, the ECOBOX can be used almost everywhere. The multiple use of the ECOBOX will eliminate many disposable packagings. This initiative reduces the volume of waste because it does not only scale down the number of packages, but also the amount of food waste.
An action of:
MÉI LAANG GENÉISSEN www.ecobox.lu email@example.com
APRIL/MAY 2019 special feature
Fitter for university The International Baccalaureate programme prepares students for what is expected of them by higher education institutions, says Joanne Goebbels, vice principal at the renowned Athénée de Luxembourg.
Duncan Roberts Mike Zenari
Joanne Goebbels speaks with Athénée de Luxembourg students
he Athénée has been running international classes since 2007 and now has a complete secondary programme that leads up to the International Baccalaureate diploma. The years 7 to 11 programme was put together by Joanne Goebbels and her team of teachers, based on books that are used in different countries. “Since we are a public school, there are also some requirements from the ministry of education,” explains Goebbels, who is now vice principal and coordinator of international classes at the school. For instance, every student has to take French as a first foreign language. “We start from scratch in years 7 and 8, but after that, you have to have some basics.” Students also have three years of Luxembourgish, learning the basics of speaking and reading and some writing. “It is also a good chance to get a basic knowledge of Luxembourg culture, for integration purposes.” They can also learn German from year 10 onwards. The international section is home to 200 of the 1,500 students at the Athénée. Students from both streams do get to interact in sports and projects like conversation tables allowing them to help each other in language learning. Extra-curricular activities, such as music or debate clubs, are also open to students from the international and national systems. What’s more, some international section students have come from the national school system. Many students from the national system applied originally because they thought dealing with lessons in English would be easier than taking them in French, as required in Luxembourg public schools. But that number has dropped
the Lycée Michel Lucius and the public European schools have hired teachers who qualified abroad, and Goebbels says she has not heard of any difficulties. Goebbels, who has taught in both systems, explains that unlike the Luxembourg school system, IB exams are evaluated externally. The examiners are monitored, and must meet certain standards, otherwise the entire batch of papers they are marking is sent to another examiner. “This gives quite an objective result in the end.” ×
SECONDARY EDUCATION IN ENGLISH IB programmes in English Athénée de Luxembourg Luxembourg-Merl ↳ www.al.lu
International School of Luxembourg Luxembourg-Merl ↳ www.islux.lu
A-levels in English St. George’s International School Luxembourg-Hamm ↳ www.st-georges.lu
International School Michel Lucius Luxembourg-Limpertsberg ↳ www.lml.lu
European Baccalaureate in English International School Junglinster Junglinster ↳ www.lensterlycee.lu
International School in Differdange and Esch-sur-Alzette Differdange and Esch-sur-Alzette ↳ www.eide.lu
International School in Mondorf-les-Bains Mondorf-les-Bains ↳ www.eimlb.lu
European Schools of Luxembourg Luxembourg-Kirchberg and Mamer ↳ www.euroschool.lu
off slightly over the last few years, says Goebbels. But the Athénée still attracts students from some of the private international schools, chiefly because it does not charge fees but also, Goebbels has heard, because some parents are concerned about what will happen after Brexit to their children at the European School or they prefer the IB to the British A-level--though Goebbels doesn’t believe there will be any issue really. “But then again we are also the Athénée, and it has a reputation.” Indeed, the school is regarded as one of the best in the country and has regularly turned out students who go on to a career in government. “The big difference with an IB diploma is that students learn to work autonomously,” says Goebbels. They need to be able to adapt the knowledge they acquire to different situations and must show critical skills. They also have to write an extended 4,000-word essay in their final year and have to hand in internal assessments at specific dates. “Universities see the quality of that work and know that IB students are prepared for what is expected of them at university level. They know how to do research, how to structure an essay, how to do quotations, how to deal with deadlines…” In addition, IB students take 6 subjects--3 at a high level and 3 at standard level--which means students are not closing as many doors as choosing very specific subjects. Those who focus on sciences in the IB programme, for example, also have to take two languages and one humanities course. “You can still change orientation because you have a broader education,” says Goebbels. Students often get conditional and even unconditional offers from some very good universities. There is a growing trend for students to choose universities in the Netherlands, because of the uncertainty of Brexit and also because fees there are still significantly lower than in the UK. But many Athénée graduates are still choosing to carry on their education in Britain, says Goebbels. Some also head to the United States and Canada. As a public school, the Athénée currently only employs teachers who have qualified in Luxembourg, which means there are no native English speakers as such. “Some of them have family who are English speaking, or they studied in an English-speaking country.” The Athénée would have to make a specific request to recruit from outside the Luxembourg system, a move that, for now, Goebbels is reluctant to take as long as they have different contracts from those who have qualified in the grand duchy. On the other hand,
Free-dom to learn special feature
Delano checks out free low-cost courses to advance your career.
s the world of work continues to evolve and the importance of digital technologies grows, upskilling has never been more important. Luxembourg offers a comprehensive range of professional and vocational courses, training and conferences, some of them free of charge. The University of Luxembourg is perhaps the first port of call for anyone looking to go back to the books. In addition to a range of free conferences listed on their website, the university offers bachelor and master courses for guest students. Interested learners can take up to three “open courses”. The programme serves as an introduction to university life and therefore does not confer qualifications. In 2018, the university introduced a free refugee higher education programme, organised with Kiron and Association Narin, leading to the bachelor in economics and finance or the bachelor in computer science. And the university offers ongoing support for refugees studying these or other programmes. Luxembourgers studying in higher education full-time may also be eligible for student finance via the Cedies agency. Training alongside a job
The University of Luxembourg’s Belval campus
If you cannot afford to take a break from work to study, there is a wide variety of part-time professional and person- →
Photo → LaLa La Photo
Executive MBA MBA with Internship Executive Education & Business Certificates Leadership | Digital Innovation | Private Equity Core Business Skills | Corporate Finance
+352 22 76 13 - 1 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.shu.lu
al training courses. The Lifelong Learning platform boasts a comprehensive directory with some 9,300 courses, of which a quarter are online. Prices vary, but applicants may be eligible for support in the form of study leave, which they must apply for through the national education ministry. The Luxembourg House of Training specialises in courses related to Luxembourg’s key sectors, such as banking, accounting, insurance, construction, law and personal development. It has some 750 training modules, a quarter of which are offered in English. Some courses are offered free of charge, for instance the multidisciplinary course for artists and creatives, which is funded by Œuvre Nationale de Secours Grande-Duchesse Charlotte, an NGO. Jobseekers benefiting from Adem (employment bureau) training subsidies may also be granted free or low-cost access to some of the listed training. Those looking for one-off events should take a look at the events section of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, which has a packed agenda of events. Worth looking out for are the free “Go Digital” courses, which were developed by the House of Entrepreneurship. Offered in both English and French, they introduce the digital skills needed in areas such as HR, website construction and search engine optimisation. Other themes covered in conferences include arbitration, cybersecurity and entrepreneurship. In the same building, the Sacred Heart University’s Jack Welch College of Business in Luxembourg hosts free conferences and introductory seminars related to its courses. Not-for-profit Women in Digital Empowerment also offers free one-off workshops introducing women and girls to coding, through Ruby on Rails, as well as a host of free events related to digital skills. Level2 also hosts a number of coding-related workshops and meetings in its hackerspace. Participation is free for a one-off, after which it is based on a membership fee. If you can convince your employer that the training is necessary for your role, your employer may wish to apply for financial subsidies from the state, depending on whether the course is accredited and fits its criteria.
charge in Mersch and Luxembourg-Eich. It also sets up group conversation sessions for people to practice French and Luxembourgish, which are free of charge. Participants in the “contrat d’accueil et d’intégration” (welcome and integration contract) are also eligible for three discount vouchers for accredited language courses in one of the country’s three administrative languages over a two-year period. Returning to the market
People who have been out of the labour market for one reason or another can find a number of free training courses offered by not-for-profits in Luxembourg. Zarabina offers lifelong education and vocational courses and guidance for men and women. Courses include training for people to become an office assistant, computing skills, orientation seminars for over 45s, retraining coaching and training to prepare refugees for the labour market. Dress for Success, meanwhile, is tarHELPFUL LINKS geted at women returning to work. In addition to offering free CV and inter- Adem courses and training view coaching, the not-for-profit can ↳ adem.public.lu provide women with appropriate attire Asti intensive French language courses for a job interview through its cloth- ↳ www.asti.lu ing bank. Asti’s Connections programme aims to help people with or applying Asti Connections programme for international protection find work in ↳ www.asti.lu/connections Luxembourg. Comprised of information sessions, workshops and internships, the Higher education finance programme considers each individual’s ↳ cedies.public.lu skills and qualifications to find a fit in the Contrat d’accueil et d’intégration Luxembourg labour market. ↳ www.forum-cai.lu Losing one’s job can mean the opportunity for a fresh start thanks to the op- Dress for Success tions offered by job centre Adem. It offers ↳ luxembourg.dressforsuccess.org free tailor-made courses for jobseekers, House of Training including in English the Start&Code ↳ www.houseoftraining.lu course and air cargo professional training. It also offers free or reduced price Level2 coding workshops access to external training. Other French- ↳ www.level2.lu language courses include accounting, construction, lorry driving and delivery Lifelong Learning course directory courier. Adem’s training measures also ↳ www.lifelong-learning.lu include language courses and coaching QuattroPole online Luxembourgish classes workshops. Adults can also benefit from ↳ www.elearning.lu apprenticeship training in specific areas, with programmes lasting three years. × Sacred Heart University’s Jack Welch College of Business conference ↳ www.shu.lu
Some communes will offer free language classes. But you don’t necessarily have to be a resident to benefit. Cross-border city network QuattroPole has developed a free, online Luxembourgish language course accessible to anyone with an internet connection. The Association de Soutien aux Travailleurs Immigrés, meanwhile, organises intensive French-language courses free of
Study at the University of Luxembourg as guest student or refugee/asylum seeker ↳ www.uni.lu
Women in Digital Empowerment ↳ www.wide.lu
Zarabina lifelong education and vocational courses ↳ www.zarabina.lu
Photo → Element5 Digital on Unsplash
MY TRAINING: ALL THE INFORMATION IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE! LIFELONG-LEARNING.LU Use training to achieve your personal and professional ambitions. With 9,500 training courses and lots of useful information, lifelong-learning.lu helps you turn your projects into a success story.
Fun and inclusive training
Little Lions coaches offer youngsters an energetic introduction to sports. APRIL/MAY 2019
Esther Bechtold Mike Zenari
If your child is looking for a gateway into sports, then
Little Lions might be just the ticket. The club for boys and girls aged 3-10 gets kids to practice team spirit and motor skills. Coach Scott Browne explains that “staying involved in physical activity and sports comes from positive experiences early on in our lives.” The club’s main goal is to kindle and sustain a love of sports in children from which they will later reap the benefit of a healthy lifestyle. Kids are trained by a team of 10 coaches, all from a rugby background, who are passionate about imparting several core values: integrity, solidarity, discipline and respect. This sense of sportsmanship is central to the club. Every training session ends on a positive note when teammates and coaches form what is called a tunnel in rugby to applaud each other.
ALSO COMING UP
Give a little whistle
There is only one thing to do on Easter Monday in Luxembourg-visit one of the two “Emaischen” markets. They take place in the old town in the capital, behind the palace, and in the village of Nospelt. The star of the show is the “Péckvillercher”, the iconic clay bird whistles that have become collector’s items. This year Easter Monday falls on 22 April.
Rockhal’s Rocklab hosts its “24h Electro for Kids” event which transforms the space into a playground and sonic laboratory. A huge interactive sound installation, as well as a small studio area, will be set up at the venue. This is an invitation for kids to play, experiment and discover electronic and digitally enhanced music in a playful environment.
“Stomp” is described as an infectious mix of percussion, dance, theatre and comedy with an exhilarating soundtrack inspired by the commotion of everyday life. The performers use everything from Zippo lighters, bin lids, and even the kitchen sink to hammer out an explosively feel-good rhythm. There is a matinée show on Sunday 12 May and tickets are at reduced prices for under 12s.
29 April to 17 May
The club is thoroughly international with many expat and Luxembourg children coming together in an energetic and inclusive environment. Fun is not inhibited by linguistic barriers as coaches speak an array of languages, including English, French, Luxembourg ish, Spanish and German. Sessions are typically between 60 and 90 minutes and training takes place every Sunday during the school term at Lycée Michel Lucius in Limpertsberg, but the club also hosts holiday camps. And just to make sure the club is suitable for your child, it welcomes anyone to try a free × taster session.
11-12 May Rockhal, Esch-Belval ↳ www.atelier.lu
Little Lions Luxembourg ↳ www.littlelionsluxembourg.com
We believe learning happens in and out of the classroom. There are no limits to what we can learn in life and at school.
Saturday 11 May 2-4 pm ISL Lower School Parents with children aged 3 to 10 are welcome!
Register at: www.islux.lu
OPEN HOUSE @ISL Come and get to know what learning looks like at the International School of Luxembourgâ€™s Lower School!
During the Open House, our School Principals will give you a guided tour of our Lower School while explaining our unique approach to learning. There will be plenty of time to ask questions too!
WHAT’S NEW? Wäistuff A Possen APRIL/MAY 2019
The small restaurant attached to the wine museum in BechKleinmacher is under new management with siblings Guy and Yolande Theis, who used to run the iconic Tramways bar in Limpertsberg. The cuisine is typical of the Moselle. ↳ www.waistuffapossen.lu
La Gaichel Côté Jardin Erwan and Céline Guillou have totally revamped their gastronomic restaurant after deciding to surrender its Michelin star. The menu by chef Philippe Dugast too has been overhauled and is now defined by what one might call simple sophistication. ↳ www.lagaichel.lu
La Cusqueñita Natural high words
Duncan Roberts Maison Moderne
Tucked away under the footbridge that connects Bonne voie with the railway station, a small and unassuming Peruvian restaurant is attracting healthy lunchtime crowds. Stepping into La Cusqueñita is like entering a cosy cantina in the city of Cusco, from where the owners originate. The dining spaces--we recommend the smaller room at the back, with its kitsch but fun
parrot-themed diorama-are simple but comfortable. A spicy ají amarillo dip and basket of bread await diners and Anton, the owner, is quick to arrive and explain what is on offer. The restaurant has a menu du jour that changes every day, featuring soup, usually vegetarian, as a starter and choice of two main courses. On our visit, these are roast chicken with almonds and pine nuts or fish cooked in the “Amazonian fashion”. At just €12.30, the menu du jour is a steal. The à la carte menu is limited to just three dishes of the week--one meat, one vegetarian and one fish--which are
also all priced under €20. A traditional ceviche comes cut in nice chunks that enhance the texture of the fish--much more satisfying than the small dice or thin slice favoured by some chefs. The flavour of the fish is wonderfully balanced with the fruity sharpness of the lime in which it has been marinated. It is served with thin strips of red pepper, thick slices of soft green sweet potatoes and delightfully pleasing pops of grilled corn that add another dimension to the dish. The other main we try is a generous plate of sautéed chicken with quinoa and vegetables including spring onions and peppers, that is packed with earthy flavours. Anton enjoys chatting with diners, but not at the cost of neglecting the rest of the room. Service at lunchtime is efficient and friendly, and we find time to share a dessert--a guava
cake that oozes with the juices of the cooked and ripened fruit. The cake itself is a little dry, but that is the only fault in what is otherwise a superb and unpretentious meal. We shall return one evening to enjoy more than the single bottle of the Cusqueña beer we permitted ourselves at lunchtime--and to try the selection of cocktails and wallow in the cantina atmosphere. Meanwhile, if you are in the Bonnevoie area and want to try something different, we cannot recommend × La Cusqueñita enough.
Delano gives it:
65 rue de Bonnevoie Luxembourg-Bonnevoie 2619 6330 ↳ www.lacusquenita.lu
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KEEP CALM AND
GO TO THE NEW
This month, Delano’s advice columnist answers reader questions on the ING marathon, public holidays and freedom of the press.
Dear Auntie Eleanor, I’ll be running the ING Night Marathon this year. What about ye? Aye, ye look like a lithe lassie! Lachlan in Lehrhauschen
Gentle reader, ‘yer bum’s oot the windae’ if you think I’ll be running the race this year. Not with these knobby knees, in any case. Not to mention having to answer (and often translate) all these letters you dear readers send in… At any rate, I do hope you’ve already registered, because places will probably have been sold out by the time this gets published. It’s quite an achievement to run over 42km in one stint, or even to take part in the half, team run, minimarathon, mini minimarathon or the 5k run for success (phew, already that left me windless). Although I’m not running, I’ll be sure to head to the centre of town on 1 June to cheer on the runners sometime after the marathon kicks off at 7pm. Be sure to look for me: I’ll be the one seated, sipping a glass of Glenfiddich with a single ice cube. To toast to you, of course, dear laddie. Dear Auntie Eleanor, why do we call white grapes “white” considering the fact that they are green? Samuel in Limpertsberg
Gentle reader, naturally I enjoy a glass of a good
vin blanc (not after my Glenfiddich, of course). Oh, wait, that wasn’t the question. You have a good point there. Scientists* note that red grapes contain red or purple pigments. So grapes without such pigments are considered “white”. Also, “green” makes them sound unripened, which any half decent vintner (even those new world types) would never use. Personally, I’d say white wine is more yellowish, which sounds much less appealing than anything aside from blue wine.
constitutes reliable news, since an official company line is always going to be biased. It is rare for journalists to be taken to court in Luxembourg over a story, but that doesn’t stop people threatening legal action to control what is published. Press freedom is a combination of legal rights, journalistic integrity to uphold those rights and public awareness on what constitutes reliable news. All three are needed for a free press. Sadly, there are times in Luxembourg where the latter two don’t exist. Now I need a drink. Dear Auntie Eleanor, 9 May is going to be a new public holiday. Why has the government chosen that date in what is already an overcrowded month for holidays? George in Gonderange
Gentle reader, 9 May is Europe → Day, commemorating the
Dear Auntie Eleanor, Luxembourg was ranked by Reporters Without Borders as 17th out of 180 for press freedom in 2018. In your view, how free is the media in Luxembourg? Wanda in Wiltz
Gentle reader, press freedom is always tricky in a small country like Luxembourg where the market is so small, media need state subsidies to survive (see page 58). Independence is enshrined in the Press Council’s code of ethics but my colleagues at Delano tell me it is frequently tested by pushy PR teams who pressure journalists to be allowed to “review” articles before publication (which Delano doesn’t do, so don’t ask). Anyone who thinks this is the right approach should have a good think about what
Schuman Declaration. And, of course, Robert Schuman is still considered a famous son of the grand duchy even if he represented France as a politician. In the face of growing euroscepticism, the government probably thought this would be a nice little sweetener for voters and a reminder of all the good stuff that the EU does for you ordinary folk. You’re quite right though, in May there will now be anything between 3 and 4 public holidays--plan now to make optimum use of those × “bridge” days.
Illustration → Jan Hanrion/Maison Moderne
SEND IN YOUR QUESTION Want to know something about Luxembourg? Contact Auntie Eleanor via AuntieEleanor@delano.lu. Please indicate if Delano can publish your name or if you wish to remain anonymous.
*Some Australian chap named Ralph Brew posting on Quora.com
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