Delano Live: Best of times, worst of times--review of 2019

Brexit, “substance”, Greta and Trump.

Those were the four themes discussed at the last Delano Live event of the year.

The aim of the evening was “to look back at 2019 and look ahead to 2020” at the topics that stood out for the panellists, said Delano’s Aaron Grunwald.

Speaking on the panel:


Brexit was very much a focal point for British chamber members. Speaking two days before the British national election, Eischen said much remains uncertain, particularly the next phase of EU-UK negotiations during the transition period. Eischen stated:

“It’s going to be a long, long, long way till the moment [when] we all know what’s going to happen. OK, there’s going to be an election. At least we will probably know what the direction’s going to be. Very probably we will know what’s going to happen in January and February. Then we have until the 31st of December next year to finalise everything that we’re supposed to have been done in two years. If there is Brexit, there will be 10 months left to do all of that. And I think it’s going to create an amazing stress for all the businesses, for all the people. It’s going to be a very complicated year, I would say, for many people.”


Brexit has been one factor in how “substance” rules have impacted Luxembourg. These are EU regulations that require financial companies to have a certain level of staffing here. Mansfeldt explained:

“Substance, not to bore everyone to death about aspects of the financial administration here, but it does mean, basically, more bodies on the ground for most people who are active in the business. And that has ramifications.”

In Mansfeldt’s view, substance:

“has led in general terms to an influx of people. Not in sort of enormous quantities, but still sufficient at the margin to move the needle, I think, here in Luxembourg. It just has caused all kinds of issues. We see it in our commuting to work every day; the traffic jams are getting a bit longer.”

“And there’s pressure on housing” costs, Mansfeldt added. “Brexit or not”, this is likely to continue for the next few years.

Greta Thunberg

Eischen was asked if he was hopeful about Greta Thunberg and the young people campaigning for environmental change. Eischen said:

“I’m positive about it. I think it’s a positive sign. It’s a positive sign that we’re talking about it again. Hopeful? I don’t know how long, how sustainable the effort is going to be. I hope it’s going to be sustainable, because I think there’s something that needs to be done, absolutely.”

Eischen later stated:

“I just really hope that it’s going to be more sustainable. That it’s going to be more than the communication hype. What’s going to happen when Greta goes back to school and she’s not going to be sailing around the world? I hope that there will still be energy, still be passion about changing something and pushing the agenda forward. So that’s why I’m positive and somehow hopeful, but I think it’s not enough with the Gretas of the world; we should all do something about it.”

Mansfeldt then commented:

“From the finance industry, it’s undeniable that sustainable finance has become an absolute ‘must have’ topic. And all board rooms have been kind of jolted into some sort of consciousness about this by Greta’s very vociferous messaging. I think it has woken the world up.”

Donald Trump

Mansfeldt was asked what he meant by a phrase he has previously used, “government by tweet”. Mansfeldt answered:

“I guess I mean Trump, the phenomenon of Trump. It’s been around for a few years, but at least in my life, I just can’t get away from the phenomenon of Trump.”

Mansfeldt further said:

“It is the way he symbolises the more aggressive approach to communication. And he’s found the ideal tool via Twitter. He sent 17,000 tweets since he took office.”

He was asked if there was an upside to Trump’s communications style. Mansfeldt replied:

“By doing so, he’s actually engaged a huge new constituency of voters who were tired of the polished language of politics.”

Later, Mansfeldt observed:

“It certainly seems to engage more people. I’ve noticed a lot more people reading about politics, learning about the machinations of it, take an interest in what does ‘impeachment’ actually mean. That is due to these tweets and Trump sort of ruffling feathers.”

Listen to the full panel discussion:

Watch video highlights:

Each edition of Delano Live features live on-stage interviews with people and on topics covered by Delano magazine, but with a fresh perspective. That’s followed by an open-bar and a bit of networking.

Delano Live is organised by the Paperjam Club and sponsored by ING.