L-R: Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister; Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Internal Market; Clément Beaune, France’s Secretary of State for European Affairs; Credit: SIP / Jean-Christophe Verhaegen

On Monday 3 May 2021, Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel received the European Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, and the French Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, for working meetings at Senningen Castle.

The way out of the health crisis linked to COVID-19 was at the centre of discussions with the French Secretary of State. Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Clément Beaune first took stock of the respective health situations in Luxembourg and France, before discussing the progress of the vaccination campaigns in both countries. The gradual reopening of the economy was also on the agenda, with Clément Beaune expressing optimism that this would happen in the coming weeks, in parallel with the acceleration of vaccine deliveries. Prime Minister Xavier Bettel also highlighted that Luxembourg aims to offer a first vaccine dose to a large part of the population before the summer.

The Prime Minister's meeting with the European Commissioner for Internal Market focused on a series of current European topics. Commissioner Thierry Breton gave the latest vaccine delivery forecasts in the various Member States, adding that the European Commission is optimistic about the short-term acceleration of vaccine supply. Thus, the delivery of doses in sufficient quantity to vaccinate a majority of the European population in the second quarter of this year remains the objective. The European Commissioner also confirmed that the European Union (EU) will be able to produce three billion vaccine doses annually by the end of the year.

In addition, Luxembourg's Prime Minister and the European Commissioner made a new update on the implementation of the Digital Green Certificate, which will help to support the end of the crisis in Europe by facilitating freedom of movement in the coming months. Prime Minister Xavier Bettel stressed that “the green certificate will take into account a series of factors and should not discriminate against those who are not vaccinated. The certificate will thus make it possible to demonstrate that a person has recently recovered from COVID-19 or that they have taken a valid PCR test. We will ensure that this tool is interoperable across the EU”.

The meeting with Commissioner Thierry Breton also provided an opportunity to discuss the digitalisation of the European economy. Already exemplary in research, allowing for example the development of several highly effective vaccines against COVID-19, the European industry of the future will be more digital, greener, more diversified and more autonomous. Luxembourg's Prime Minister noted: “Digitalisation is a common goal that I share with Commissioner Breton and many Member States. Together, we will advance our industries. The Commission can count on my country's unwavering support in this area. Whether it is big data, artificial intelligence or very high power computing, my country is ready to advance digitalisation in the European Union. I am particularly proud of the inauguration on this day of the headquarters of EuroHPC in Luxembourg".

In the context of Europe Day, on 9 May, a visit to the birth house of Robert Schuman in Luxembourg-Clausen was on the agenda. The European Commissioner and the Prime Minister also visited the Hall Victor-Hugo vaccination centre in Luxembourg-Limpertsberg in the presence of Luxembourg's Minister of Health, Paulette Lenert.

For his part, Luxembourg's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, received the French Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, for a working meeting at the Mansfeld building, which made it possible to address several European topics, particularly the health situation, free movement and the situation of cross-border communities. Minister Jean Asselborn welcomed "the exemplary collaboration in the management of the common border", as well as the measures put in place to facilitate the life of cross-border workers, while stressing the need to continue to work at the European level in favour of "maintaining the spirit of Schengen and free movement".

Minister Jean Asselborn and Secretary of State Clément Beaune subsequently exchanged views on issues related to the Conference on the Future of Europe and the priorities of the French Presidency of the Council of the EU.

On Monday morning, European Commissioner Thierry Breton was also received by His Royal Highness the Grand Duke for an audience at the Grand Ducal Palace.