At a press conference on Wednesday morning, Luxembourg's Chamber of Commerce outlined its ideas to promote a sustainable business recovery in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
Firstly, Luc Frieden, President of the Chamber of Commerce, shared his analysis of the crisis and its impact on the world, Europe and Luxembourg. He then specified the priorities that have arisen due to the unprecedented situation: the need to strengthen the attractiveness of the country to accelerate its diversification and to support the competitiveness of existing businesses and sectors to achieve an even more robust and resilient economy.
Carlo Thelen, Director General, then gave examples of concrete actions that could be implemented to ensure a favourable business environment. These recommendations are broken down into five pillars.
Finally, Laurent Schonckert, elected member and President of the Economic Commission of the Chamber of Commerce, emphasised the need to restore confidence in economic stakeholders, particularly consumers.
The socio-economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has been profound, sudden and is characterised by a simultaneous global dimension and great uncertainty as to its duration and depth in the different world economic zones. Luxembourg has not been spared but, according to the Chamber, has managed the first phases of the crisis with pragmatism and efficiency, both from a health and socio-economic point of view, thanks to immediate collaboration between the government, professional chambers and federations, businesses and civil society.
Strong and swift measures were put in place to avoid the worst, i.e. a massive destruction of the economic fabric of the country, including jobs. The Chamber of Commerce maintained that these measures must be extended and made more flexible as long as sectors remain exposed to significant loss of activity and the real risk of successive bankruptcies over the next six to nine months. Vigilance, responsiveness and flexibility must remain the order of the day at a time when the risk of having to face a new outbreak is high and when it appears that the crisis and its negative impacts on the economy and businesses will continue well beyond 2020.
In order to conceive the conditions for a sustainable and profitable recovery for the greatest number of people, the Chamber considers it necessary to tackle the country's structural problems and to build a stimulating, business-friendly framework that anticipates tomorrow's socio-economic changes. It is therefore necessary to resolutely focus on the long term and the sustainability of actions while being flexible in responding to opportunities, in a truly entrepreneurial approach.
As a professional chamber, the Chamber of Commerce expressed its commitment to supporting the government and public stakeholders to help businesses get through this period and prepare for the recovery phase. The proposals it presented were the result of consultations with its various stakeholders, including business representatives who make up its plenary assembly, which is representative of Luxembourg’s entire economy.