Photo: The Council of the European Union (archives)
Exclusive: Étienne Schneider looks back at his first year as economy and trade minister. Part one in a series.
For its February cover story Delanosits down with Étienne Schneider, who has just marked his first year as economy and trade minister. In comments exclusively for Delano’s online edition, Schneider said that during foreign economic missions, he often encounters people with a very narrow vision of the Grand Duchy, which makes it difficult for employers to recruit internationally.
“Most of them just see in Luxembourg a huge financial centre, maybe with a more negative touch because they think of fiscal evasion. So people know more or less [that there are] financial headquarters in Luxembourg.”
“But what I see when I’m discussing with companies that need to hire highly qualified personnel they don’t find in Luxembourg or the Greater Region, they will have to go far away to Paris, to Lyon, to other countries, in order to convince young people to come to Luxembourg. Then these young guys say, ‘what the fuck am I going to do in Luxembourg?’ Because they just see Luxembourg as a street with a few banks, and that’s it.”
“If you talk to people, and I had this experience many times, who were asked by their company [to move to Luxembourg] they were horrified by the idea. And then once they are here, once they see life is very interesting, it’s safe, social security is great, culture is great, geographic situation is great… most of these people want to stay in Luxembourg.”
Schneider (photo, left) is convinced that many international residents stay in the Grand Duchy for the quality of life and not only for their jobs because he has encountered many people working for “EU institutions and international banks [who] when they retire, they decide to just stay here.”