An Interview with Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Xavier Bettel

Following the legislative elections of 8 October 2023, Xavier Bettel was appointed Vice Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs on 17 November 2023 in the coalition government formed by the Christian Social People's Party (CSV) and the Democratic Party (DP). Xavier has graciously agreed to answer our interview questions. Read more about Xavier here, and don't miss his closing words on June 27th at 16:45 PM on the main stage.

What inspired your organization to join Nexus2050 for its first edition?

When you look at Luxembourg’s economic success since the end of the 19th century, the main two pointsthat stand out are our openness to the outside world, and our embrace of new ideas and technologies.

In this day and age it is more vital than ever before that we give a platform to new ideas.

Whether these showcased innovations are homegrown by some of our domestic champions (and there are quite a few!), or whether the technologies will be brought in by international participants, I firmly believe that the exchange of new ideas at conferences like Nexus2050 are not only beneficial to Luxembourg’s tech ecosystem but can offer advancements across all industries as well as progress for society as a whole.

The birth of Luxembourg’s steel industry, for instance, had much to do with the technological innovationof the late 1800s, namely the Thomas-Gilchrist process, a perfect example of a foreign disruptive technology being implemented domestically at the time. A more recent example of technology contributing to economic growth and homegrown success has been the forward-thinking leap of faith taken by the pioneering Luxembourg space and satellite-based communication services.

Luxembourg has always punched well above its weight in terms of innovation. I therefore firmly believe that we should continue fostering the openness of its mindset and providing platforms to our innovation champions.

That is what inspired me to join Nexus2050 for its first edition, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing it succeed. 


Which topics at Nexus2050 are of particular interest to you? And why?

I like that the topics of Nexus2050 have been willingly kept transversal to open the participation to a large spectrum of sectors. 

Artificial intelligence, sustainability, cybersecurity, financial technology but also talent attraction and development are topics that directly or indirectly affect all Luxembourg-based companies. They so happen to also be sectors in which Luxembourg has a proven track-record of expertise. 

Take financial technology for instance: over 250 fintech call Luxembourg their home. Why? Because it is one of the Eurozone’s leading financial centres and the second largest investment fund centre in the world. 

At the same time, the Luxembourg government firmly intends to be at the forefront of AI by collaborating across borders, boosting investments, enabling skills training, and optimizing its data market. Industry insiders and analysts firmly believe that artificial intelligence is poised to revolutionize all sectors, ushering in unprecedented efficiency gains, and spawning innovative and personalized offerings. 

Luxembourg is dedicated to fostering an environment conducive to the growth and success of companies leveraging digital technologies, data utilization and secure data storage. Cybersecurity is therefore very high on the agenda and companies become increasingly aware that in today's day and age, data has become an incredibly valuable resource, and that it should remain safe and sound.

Another Nexus 20250 topic is the scarcity of professionals and the high competition in the abovementioned fields which make the recruitment and conservation of talents extremely challenging. This has become an international issue that touches all companies alike. 

I’m excited to see what solutions and opportunities in all of those fields will be addressed during the conference. 


What criteria will you use to gauge the success of Nexus2050?

Nexus2050 is a very ambitious project, and I believe that organizing the very first edition of a new tech conference cannot be an easy task. I don’t think that one can nor should compare Nexus2050 to other large tech conferences in Europe, and for good reason: much like Luxembourg, Nexus2050 will not impress by its size, but rather by the quality of its offering. 

The topics of the conference seem very relevant for our Luxembourgish companies, so I would certainly hope that the exhibitors, panellists, and speakers will inspire and offer solutions that could benefit our economy across the board.

As Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, I pride myself that our network of embassies and Trade and Investment Offices abroad, which are of invaluable help for Luxembourg’s companies and our country’s promotion efforts, have worked diligently on bringing foreign delegations to the conference. 

In view of my previous statement on our openness to the outside world and our embrace of new ideas, and due to the human-scale proportion of the conference, I am confident that Nexus 2050 will offer our international visitors plenty of opportunities to make genuine connections with relevant local players. 

When it comes to the promotion of our economy, it is not one person nor one network which will be the game changer: successful promotion never takes place in isolation, but all relevant actors need to come together, this includes partners from the public and private sector. Nexus2050 can be an important tool for our international network to promote Luxembourg and its ecosystem in their respective regions.

I therefore see the fruitful collaboration between our government and Nexus2050 as a first element of success for the conference!