The same day he returned from a trip to China, Bettel gave a speech entitled “Rebooting the European Union” to a gathering of around 200 dignitaries, alumni and family members at the Philharmonie.
He reflected on major events in Europe during the past twenty-five years and on the current global political situation:
“If the EU and the US do not necessarily speak in unison on all foreign policy issues, we are and we will remain one another’s most important and reliable allies.”
He also spoke about his expectations for the future:
“We need to find common solutions on a European level. This is most importantly the case for the migration crisis, which has become one of the biggest challenges of the European Union. It is utterly necessary to find a common European approach and to keep high one of our crucial values: solidarity”.
Photo: Anthony Dehez
His comments on Brexit earned him hearty applause, as he said: “They [the UK] thought they would pack their bags and just leave Brussels. They didn’t realise a lot of people in London would also pack their bags.”
And he stressed the importance of moving on from Brexit:
"Continuing the EU's core business and finding consensus on how the Union should move ahead is much more important in the long-term."
Bettel was awarded a doctor honoris causa, doctor of laws, for his professional accomplishments. “It’s my first title and what is amazing is tomorrow, in Bucharest, I get my second one,” he said, accepting the honour on what was also his mother’s birthday.
Sacred Heart University was established in Luxembourg in 1991 after the Jack Welch College of Business responded to a call from Luxembourg for a higher education centre.
Today it offers part-time and full-time MBA programmes to around 120 students. Its alumni, which span some 40 different nationalities and a range of backgrounds, include the current director of Luxembourg’s Grand Théâtre Tom Leick-Burns, who spoke at Thursday’s ceremony.
The event closed with an impromptu speech by one of the institution's first alumni, who thanked the institution for the advantages it had given him in life.