L-R: Giulio Ranzo, CEO of AVIO; Franz Fayot, Luxembourg's Economy Minister; Jaroslaw Jaworski, Business Manager of MadeInSpace; Credit: MECO

Space and fintech dominated the first day of the working visit to Italy of Luxembourg's Minister of Finance, Pierre Gramegna, and Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot; the ministers' working visit is taking place from 2 to 5 March 2020.

Yesterday, during the first day of this working visit, Pierre Gramegna met his counterpart Roberto Gualtieri, Italy's Minister of Economy and Finance, in Rome The two ministers exchanged views on the potential economic consequences of the spread of coronavirus in Europe. In this context, Ministers Gramegna and Gualtieri called for a common approach by European Union (EU) member countries in order to approach the current situation in a coherent and constructive way and encouraged the European Commission to consider proportional measures to counteract the inevitable economic slowdown caused by the virus.

The ministers also discussed in more detail the avenues for moving forward with a view to deepening the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and continuing to develop the Capital Markets Union, in particular to respond to the challenges of digitalisation and sustainable finance. They also explored possible ways of further strengthening financial relations between Italy and Luxembourg, particularly in the area of ​​fintech and sustainable finance, including within the framework of the financing platform that Luxembourg has implemented with the European Investment Bank (EIB).

For his part, Luxembourg's Economy Minister Franz Fayot met with Italian Secretary of State Riccardo Fraccaro in Rome. The latter is in charge of the coordination and political orientation of Italy in the field of space. It was the first bilateral meeting between the two countries to focus exclusively on space activities. During the meeting, the two parties agreed to further strengthen collaboration between Luxembourg and Italy in the space sector and to formalise this at the government level by the subsequent signing of a cooperation agreement.

Franz Fayot and Riccardo Fraccaro also discussed the next deadlines within the EU relating in particular to new Community legislation in the space sector, stressing the strategic value of the Galileo and Copernicus constellations and the need to continue to guarantee (or even strengthen) Europe's independent access to space. Consequently, the ministers raised coordination between the two countries in the various international space forums, in particular within the European Space Agency (ESA) and the EU with regard to access to space and production and satellite management. As ESA members, Italy and Luxembourg share a rich history in space technology and the use of space. The two countries consider space to be a sector with high development potential which also represents, thanks to technological progress, opportunities in terms of quality of life and environmental protection.

In addition, Franz Fayot visited the site of the AVIO space company. Specialising in the manufacture of thrusters, AVIO participated in the construction of the VEGA rocket which will launch on 23 March 2020 from Kourou, in Guyana, as well as the microsatellite (E-SAIL) developed by LuxSpace, a space company established in Betzdorf. During the visit, AVIO signed a letter of intent with MadeInSpace, a start-up specialising in 3D printing for the space sector.

Finally, Pierre Gramegna, in his capacity as President of the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT), met Stefano Pighini, President of LVenture, and visited the group's "start-up factory" in Rome. LVenture, which manages LUISS EnLabs in partnership with LUISS University, is today one of the main accelerators in Italy and invests in high-potential start-ups, active in the digital field. In a joint declaration, the LHoFT and LVenture announced their intention to explore avenues of collaboration with the aim of supporting fintech start-ups in the two countries.