POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Digitalisation among key priorities for Bettel at Davos



Apple CEO Tim Cook with Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel in Davos ME

Apple CEO Tim Cook with Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel in Davos ME

Luxembourg’s prime minister Xavier Bettel (DP) has been exchanging ideas with top tech execs at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. 

It’s the sixth time Bettel has attended the forum as prime minister. The theme of this year's summit is“Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World”. Bettel’s schedule included a meeting with Apple CEO, Tim Cook, in which the premier talked with the tech leader about the “push for a real European digital single market,” citing the grand duchy’s 5G roadmap, excellent ICT infrastructure and the “aim to be among the pioneers of mobile connectivity” among its commitments.

Data privacy also took priority, as Bettel met with Facebook vice president Nick Clegg to delve into issues related to personal data collection and transparency. According to a government press statement, the social media platform is “omnipresent in the daily life” of around 75% of Luxembourgers. Bettel told Clegg the “digital transformation must be at the service of citizens--which cannot be guaranteed without transparent and clear digital governance”. A timely topic, given that next week will see the Data Privacy Day taking place in Esch-sur-Alzette where, among other speakers, Luxembourg’s National Commission for Data Protection (CNPD) commissioner Christophe Buschmann will give feedback about its governance investigation. This May also marks the 2-year anniversary of the application of the EU General Data Protection Regulation. 

The prime minister discussed fintech with PayPal president and CEO Dan Schulman, at the same time reviewing the research partnership established between the company, the FNR and the University of Luxembourg, which Bettel called “Paypal’s vote of confidence in the Luxembourg research system”. 

Bettel also met with Karan Bhatia, vice president of Google, the internet giant which has been exploring the construction of a data centre in the grand duchy since July 2017. Highlights of the talk focused on secure data storage, with the prime minister also emphasising the impressive density of tier-IV data centres in the country. 

Also on Bettel’s agenda were meetings with ArcelorMittal CEO Lakshmi Mittal on climate change in the steel industry; PWC CEO Bob Moritz; Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins on the public-private partnership with the University of Luxembourg. 

Social issues

Bettel also discussed Luxembourg’s social model with Luca Visentini, the secretary general of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). 

Among the panels Bettel participated in included one on inclusion for the LGBTI+ community.