On May 15th, Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, took the stage at ICT Spring in front of a crowd of digital, ICT and business professionals. He shared his views on the digital ambitions of the government and on its openness, aiming at attracting more companies, startups and entrepreneurs in Luxembourg, at the very heart of Europe.

"I always look forward to this event and to seeing the country's buzzing ICT scene come together in one single place. And the 2018 edition won't disappoint," started Xavier Bettel. He then explained that ICT was deeply encrypted in the DNA of Luxembourg, and that it brings people together, from different background, culture and countries. "Our small country knows how to open to others and make successful stories happen," he added. As a matter of fact, the country of Luxembourg is a former fortress, which tore walls down and developed itself to first become a leader in the industry of steel, before finance, media and then ICT. Lately the country has also been active in the space industry, drafting the first legal framework on asteroid mining and exploitation, and welcoming several companies in Luxembourg. "When we look back, we know that we took the right decision. And we are ready for the next big thing and will continue to make the country successful," added the Prime Minister. He then highlighted the fact that more than 50% of the inhabitants of Luxembourg City are foreigners, showing that people that live together can work and succeed, while also learning from each other.


Going beyond technology

"ICT Spring is not just an ICT or tech conference, as it recognizes that digitalization is about people. The summit also focused on e-skills and on the transformation of public administrations, aiming at making digital the new standard," said Xavier Bettel.  He continued: "Technology exists to support society, and not the other way around. Digitalization must not happen to us, but rather FOR us". The Prime Minister then insisted on education and on the need to prepare the next generations for the new jobs we will create in the years to come. In this respect, a common strategy in the UE and the creation of a digital single market will help take off the current barriers.


A special focus on FinTech and Artificial Intelligence

The government recently signed a MoU with CISCO to work in cybersecurity, Internet of Things and FinTech issues and challenges. "FinTech is one of our country's strong points and we will bring it to the next level, through partnerships, discussions and exchanges, as explained earlier," added Mr. Bettel. Artificial Intelligence will undoubtedly be a key component in the future transformation of financial services and several other industries. And if citizen might fear for their job, Xavier Bettel reassured them, highlighting that AI will never replace a person: "Technology must be at the service of people".  Luxembourg positions itself as a frontrunner in both FinTech and AI, hence the creation a couple years ago of the Digital Luxembourg initiative. Fully committed to these challenges, Xavier Bettel described himself as the Digital Minister. He added: "We need to break down the silos and we need a horizontal strategy". The Prime Minister also tackled the regulation challenge. According to him, "trust is key and is the backbone of digital. Regulation is here to protect and, notably through GDPR, will impact companies, citizens and therefore the entire economy". In this respect, he insisted on the fact that everyone needs to be aware of their rights and responsibilities.


"People need to come together and bring their best effort. It's a tough challenge, but it will benefit everyone," explained the Prime Minister, who's fighting on eliminating inequalities, notably through education. "It is also a question of sovereignty: you either watch or are taking an active part in it. Luxembourg is ready to be part of the new digital environment. Luxembourg is a country where we clearly know how to listen, exchange, share and respect. These are the key words of our society," concluded Xavier Bettel.


Alexandre Keilmann

Photo : Dominique Gaul

Publié le 15 mai 2018