The ‘oil spill’ of Luxembourg’s growth economy on Belgium’s border


Ambassador of Belgium to Luxembourg, Thomas Lambert, talks about Luxembourg in 2050 - housing, transport, cross-border workers - all to be discussed in a seminar this week. Also, Belgium and Luxembourg sign a bi-national battalion. And do you know what lies under the North Sea? And the Luxembourg Tech School is open for registration!

Look-back at the week’s news with Sasha Kehoe

My show starts, as usual, with a look-back at the week’s news with Luxembourg’s Local Election results.

We move onto a populist triumvirate of Trump, Boris and Berlusconi who all made headlines this week. Donald Trump pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to mishandling sensitive documents found at his home. Trump claimed “I have a busy life” as to why he had such documents in his home (some found in a shower).

Boris Johnson resigned as an MP ahead of the findings of a parliamentary committee which concluded that he deliberately misled MPs about lockdown-breaking parties during the Covid pandemic.

Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s former Prime Minister, died on 12 June and thousands attended his state funeral at Milan’s Duomo cathedral on Wednesday. Berlusconi was a controversial figure, making headlines in Trump-like fashion frequently unrelated to politics. He is survived by his 33-year-old girlfriend, Marta Fascina, two ex-wives and five children, some of whom help run his empire, recently estimated to be worth around $7 billion.

The survival of four children in the Colombian jungle was a story of hope and courage, despite the loss of their mother after a plane crash.

This week saw yet another tragic story of Libyan migrants crossing the Mediterranean in a boat that capsized off southern Greece. Many died, many are missing and the figures are still mounting.

And finally, the legalisation of cannabis is due to be voted on this week in Luxembourg. We might be allowed to legally have four plants in our homes.

Ambassador of Belgium to Luxembourg, Thomas Lambert

Ambassador of Belgium to Luxembourg, Thomas Lambert, talks to us about his time working as Deputy Ambassador to the US in Washington DC, shaking hands with Obama whilst the latter was campaigning, and meeting Joe Biden. Ambassador Lambert has had many varied international diplomatic postings but this is his first time as an Ambassador.

The Belgian community is integral to the functioning of the Luxembourg economy. Belgian nationals represent the fourth largest foreign community after Portuguese, French and Italians living in Luxembourg. And, of course, there are thousands who commute from Belgium daily to work in Luxembourg.

The future of the Grand Duchy as we move towards 2050 may mean doubling its population and more than doubling the number of cross-border workers. This will increase the impact on neighbouring Belgium. And so how does one cope with this? The Belgian Embassy is organising a seminar on the issue at the Spuerkeess on Wednesday, bringing together experts and leaders to discuss common solutions. Naturally, housing and transport and two fundamental issues.

There is a long standing relationship between Belgium and Luxembourg. And this week saw the signing of a bi-national Belgian-Luxembourg reconnaissance battalion. The core of the future battalion will be located in Arlon, Belgium, by 2030, with a branch in Diekirch and a second branch in Marche-en-Famenne. The battalion, with more than 700 personnel, will be equipped with various specialised reconnaissance vehicles capable of interoperating with the equipment of the CaMo (motorised capability) programme currently being acquired by the Belgian Defence. Belgium already has a decade-long, successful integration between the Belgian and Dutch navies. And so this is a continuation of Benelux countries combining to become stronger.

Belgium recently organized a North Sea Summit and included Luxembourg in the discussions. Ambassador Lambert talks knowledgeably about the critical infrastructure we have lying on the seabed, along with the seabed itself. Disrupted data cables could cause a stock market to crash and inflict unimaginable damage to a financial centre such as Luxembourg.

Luxembourg Tech School - registrations are open!

Dr Anush Manukyan, a Team Leader at the Luxembourg Tech School tells us about the wonderful work done by her colleagues and the students.

Registration is now open to join next academic year if you’re aged 12 and upwards. This is a free club run by experts in their field, aiming to develop Digital Future Leaders.

Students get to work on projects, improve their English presentation skills, whilst learning valuable tech skills in a variety of settings, including many links to space.