René Winkin, director of Fedil, is ranked 8th in the 2022 edition of the Paperjam Top 100, the ranking of the country’s most influential economic decision-makers. (Photo: Guy Wolff/Maison Moderne)

René Winkin, director of Fedil, is ranked 8th in the 2022 edition of the Paperjam Top 100, the ranking of the country’s most influential economic decision-makers. (Photo: Guy Wolff/Maison Moderne)

René Winkin, the director of Fedil and as such the leading advocate of Luxembourg’s industrial sector, is ranked 8th in the Paperjam Top 100 2022 edition. Always very well informed thanks to a very dense network, he is one of the best connoisseurs of the country’s economic ecosystem. Entrepreneur Georges Bock paints his portrait.

“Yes, I am a lobbyist.” These few words uttered last July by at the round table organised by Letzpact, an association representing public affairs professionals in Luxembourg, reveal at least two aspects of the Fedil director’s personality. First of all, he is indeed a network man, influential at various levels. Secondly, he is also a man who likes to tell it like it is.

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The title of “chief industry lobbyist” unofficially awarded by certain media is certainly not to his displeasure. Because industry and the defence of its interests is René Winkin’s entire professional life.

It is indeed this that led him to begin his professional career at Fedil, alongside at the time, after obtaining a Master’s degree in economics, business management and international relations in Strasbourg.

Member of the executive committee of BusinessEurope

During his 30-year career, he has held various positions, including economic attaché, then advisor, before being appointed secretary general in 2006 and finally director general. He is therefore familiar with every corner of Fedil and all those who work there. Head of the industrial affairs department, he was also the secretary general of the Groupement pétrolier luxembourgeois for 23 years. Representing the interests of the Luxembourg industry in several national and European advisory and decision-making bodies, he is a member of the executive committee of the Luxembourg Employers’ Association (UEL), he sits on the Economic and Social Council (ESC), as well as on the board of directors of the Office du Ducroire Luxembourg.

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A member of the BusinessEurope executive committee, he has actively contributed to the work of the industrial affairs committee. Recently, he was appointed to the board of the Compensation Fund, which manages the compensation reserve of the general pension scheme. René Winkin is also known for his expertise in energy policy, a subject that has been particularly topical in recent months.

An extraordinary understanding of the Luxembourg ecosystem

Thanks to his years of experience and his exceptional network of professional friends from all walks of life--entrepreneurs, business leaders, trade unionists, politicians, ministers, civil servants, experts, employees--he has an extraordinary understanding of the functioning of the Luxembourg ecosystem. He is therefore regularly consulted by a number of people who appreciate his knowledge, and more particularly his personal qualities. He is described by those who know him as genuine, calm, thoughtful and intellectually honest.

His opinions and positions are based on analysis and reflection: they are measured, balanced and reflect his knowledge of Luxembourg’s issues and the complexity of certain socio-economic subjects. His mastery of the issues and his good understanding of the stakes allow him to take courageous and firm positions, without making him appear arrogant or vexatious.

His ambition, which goes far beyond his person, is to enable the progress of Luxembourg society in the long term. To achieve this, he tirelessly tries to unite companies and residents, without ever, however, accepting false compromises. A man of the shadows, he is not afraid of the light and knows how to inform, explain and plead his cause if he is given a microphone.

Liverpool Reds supporter

René Winkin is also an attentive husband and the father of three children, with whom--just like with his friends and family--he likes to savour the simple pleasures of life: a discussion over a good drink, an exchange of opinions to broaden his horizon, listening to music, enjoying a concert. He likes to go and discover distant horizons and is not content, like many, to stay in the south of France, in Portugal or in Spain.

His second ‘home’ is Anfield Road, as he is an ardent supporter and regular visitor of the Liverpool Reds. He is a lover of the city and its atmosphere. A city that was once one of the flagships of British industrial development, before becoming the recent emblem of the success of the national economic reconversion policy. And that, of course, was something he could not resist.

This article was written for published on 14 December 2022. The content of the magazine is produced exclusively for the magazine. It is published on the website as a contribution to the complete Paperjam archive. 

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This story was first published in French on . It has been translated and edited for Delano.