(L-R): Steven Koener, Luxembourg Chamber; Cindy Tereba, Luxembourg Chamber; Stephen O’Leary, President Dublin Chamber ; Mary Rose Burke, Dublin Chamber; Credit: Chronicle.lu

Luxembourg's Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel, and the Minister of Finance, Yuriko Backes, are on an official visit to Dublin, Ireland, accompanied by an Official Delegation and a Trade Delegation.

On the second day of the visit, Tuesday 13 June 2023, the Herbert Park Hotel on the southside of the city was the venue for the Ireland-Luxembourg Business Forum.

Earlier in the morning, the Trade Delegation has two parallel site visits, the Digital Economy sector visiting the Dogpatch Lab, with Prime Minister Bettel, and the Maritime and Logistics sector visiting Dublin Port. Both then met up for a lunch on board the floating restaurant MV Cill Airne on Quay 16 on North Wall Quay of Dublin Port.

At the afternoon business forum, the 45-strong Luxembourg trade delegation was joined by around 50 representatives of Irish companies: the forum aimed to identify opportunities for cooperation and to deepen relations between Luxembourg and Irish companies.

Before she left for other meeting, Yuriko Backes, Minister of Finance, addressed the business forum and stated that it was great to be back in Ireland and have just opened an embassy here. She said we are living in difficult economic times; with small open economies such as both and Luxembourg and Ireland, we cannot fight protectionism with protectionism and have to stick together, making sure that trade within the EU and the the rest of the world, can prosper. She said that we need to regulate smartly and to our advantage. She concluded by stating "There is so much that brings us together".

Prime Minister Bettel delivered an opening speech to the plenary session, said that he was very happy to "be here today" for the first Luxembourg economic delegation coming to Ireland. The two governments are here to make things happen and hopes for lot of exchanges later in the day (during the business forum). Ireland is #27 of exports to Luxembourg and #15 in imports: "we can work on these" he stated. He referenced direct flight connections between Luxembourg and Dublin by both Luxair and Ryanair.

He mentioned Luxembourg's previous economy based on agriculture, which evolved to steel, satellites (SES) and the financial sector with fund management. He said that the two countries have shared values and both value the Single Market. On the Digital Economy and Logistics, he hopes to drive innovation between the two countries, and to learn from each other and discover together. He mentioned AI and talked about one's phones being connected devices. He referenced Ireland's health system being the victim of Russian cyber attacks. He mentioned that we are still dependent on gas and fossil fuels and stated that Luxembourg "is not a fan" of nuclear power: he stated that "renewables" are the future.

He talked about trusted partners and referenced Russia and Ukraine. He also mentioned that there are 3,400 Irish nationals living in Luxembourg and around 150 Luxembourgish students are currently in Ireland. "Together we can do great things together" he concluded, referencing future success stories.

Ireland's Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Dara Calleary, said that he was delighted to be there on behalf of the Irish government. He mentioned the Dogpatch Lab tour earlier, mentioning that it was originally a core building of the maritime industry and is now a leader in the digital economy. He mentioned shared values between the two countries with share the benefits of the EU and the Single Market which have opened so many doors. He mentioned Brexit and the EU's support of small Member States in that context. He stated that digitalisation is core to Ireland's future and referenced Ireland's digital strategy on how it can assist in the journey of sustainability and of people. He warned against over regulation and encouraged ease of access to cross-border markets. He called to remove the inefficiencies of the Single Market, often simple approaches being best.

Mary Rose Burke, CEO at Dublin Chamber of Commerce, said that the Dublin Chamber of Commerce has over one thousand members and is one of the oldest chambers in the world. She mentioned the Enterprise Europe network as well as Luxembourg Trade and Invest, and all those who helped organise the business forum. She presented an overview of the current business landscape, with Ireland enjoying sustained growth over the past number of years, helped by business-friendly government policies as well as access to the Single Market. Ireland was the 3rd most competitive country in the EU last year, with Dublin attracting 505 of FDI into Ireland. Ireland also scored highly in the Future List. She mentioned over one quarter of financial firms moving out of London following Brexit, choosing Ireland. She also mentioned transport link, to both the UK and the continent, with 72% of exports generated by multinationals based in Ireland.

After the plenary session, the Business Forum split into two parallel / break-out sessions addressing both maritime & logistics and the digital economy.

The Business Forum closed with a networking drink.