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Lex Delles (Minister of Economy) : assembling the building blocks for Luxembourg's growth

LEX DELLES, LUXEMBOURG’S MINISTER OF THE ECONOMY, SME, ENERGY AND TOURISM IS DEALING WITH THE ECONOMIC LEGACY OF COVID INCLUDING INFLATION AND HIGH INTEREST RATES. HOWEVER, HE BELIEVES THAT STRENGTHENING ENTREPRENEURSHIP, CUTTING RED TAPE AND FACILITATING DIGITAL AND GREEN TRANSITIONS WILL SUPPORT THE GOVERNMENT’S COMMITMENT TO GROWING THE LUXEMBOURG ECONOMY.

Who is Lex Delles?

Born in Mondorf-les-Bains, Lex Delles is the product of his motto: “Nothing is easier than criticizing, it is better to act”. At the age of 29, he became the youngest mayor and member of Parliament of the country. With his experience as a teacher, he was an appropriate choice to chair the Chamber of Deputies’ commission for Education, Children, and Youth. He is also able to draw on his other experiences to support the current government’s growth agenda: Chairing the body promoting economic activity in the canton of Remich and membership of commissions on administrative reform and agriculture provided him with good credentials to serve as Minister.

"NOTHING IS EASIER THAN CRITICIZING, IT IS BETTER TO ACT."

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What issues does he have to confront as a minister?

It is difficult to know where to start with his ministerial responsibilities covering Economy, SMEs, but also Tourism and energy. “Everything is linked” he says, and insists that companies of all sizes, across all sectors, must be sustainable. His ministry also embraces dynamic but challenging issues such as cybersecurity, data, AI and industrial policy. He must tackle his diverse portfolio against the legacy of the Covid pandemic. “High interests are like a poison for our economy” according to a Minister facing the challenges of poor economic indicators including a higher level of bankruptcies, particularly in construction and personal care. However, he says the government is addressing deterrence to investment caused by inflation and high interest rates: State subsidies will help make many companies future-proof and prevent them from falling behind. He concludes: “Companies need to digitalise today if they want to remain competitive tomorrow”.

What steps are required to put Luxembourg on the path to growth?

The Minister has 3 priorities in mind: startups, reducing red tape and facilitating digital and green transitions. Regarding startups: “We need entrepreneurs in Luxembourg”, says Delles. New support has been created for first-time founders and a “second chance” concept – a true revolution in Luxembourg – has been adopted. On the red tape front, several radical concepts are on the table: the “Once only principle”, which would require companies to submit paperwork only once; the “Silence means agreement” principle, which could turn an absence of feedback from the administration into an acceptation; and finally the automatic exchange of information at State level to speed up all processes. Lastly, on the digital and green transitions, Lex Delles confirms that Luxem- bourg’s government is committed to investing in them, as these will provide sustainable growth, social growth as well as raise the brand of Luxembourg as an environmentally friendly jurisdiction. Growth among SMEs will be promoted through three SME packages encouraging sustainability, digital, and service. Finally, he believes that Luxembourg’s indexation of salaries provides predictability and is a guarantor of social peace and purchasing power. To be continued.

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