René Winkin (FEDIL): Setting out an industrial policy that meets the challenges.
“Today, industry is highly exposed to unprecedented upheavals. Europe and the national governments must act to avoid missing the boat on industrial renewal.”
Can you present your association in a few words?
Founded in 1918, FEDIL is a multisectoral business federation giving a voice to industrials and entrepreneurs and fostering Luxembourg’s economy. Today, FEDIL represents about 700 members, 37 sectors of activity and 21 sectoral associations. Regarding Luxembourg’s ecosystem, the federation’s members stand for 95% of industrial manufacturing, 75% of private research activity, 25% of employment and 35% of GDP. “Work relations & Talents”, "Energy & Environment" as well as “Digital & Innovation” are the main thematic axes, on which FEDIL provides its members consultancy and support and formulates expert positions and recommendations. It goes without saying that it is precisely these issues that are of concern to our companies in these challenging times and that require a continuous constructive dialogue with all the stakeholders of our ecosystem in Luxembourg and internationally.
“Industry offers solutions. Treat it as a trusted partner!”
What are the new challenges and opportunities that you identify?
The economy in general and industry in particular are faced with the enormous challenges of the ecological transition and digital transformation, and this in a current context of “polycrisis”, marked by geo-political conflicts, the reorientation of energy supplies, critical access to raw materials, continuing inflation, ... Many of our companies are facing multiple uncertainties and even serious consequences linked to the rising cost of energy and raw materials. True to our commitment, FEDIL works continuously to ensure that political action is equal to these challenges. We are also deeply convinced that industry can deliver the solutions required to make the ineluctable technological transformation a success, provided that it is trusted and that its potential for creativity and growth is not stifled by all sorts of regulatory barriers. Urgent action is needed to create a framework and provide the means that allow to implement the ambitious goals set, notably in terms of decarbonisation.
How do you see the future of Luxembourg?
Throughout its history, industry has been an important pillar of the Luxembourg economy, guaranteeing well-being and growth. Today, the risks of de-industrialisation are very real, both at national and European level. To counter this danger, the European Union and national politicians must urgently put in place an industrial policy worthy of the name, ensuring the necessary transformation of industry in the face of the climate crisis while preserving the competitiveness of our companies. As a small open economy, Luxembourg must remain attractive for companies that invest in innovation and for a highly qualified workforce that enables this innovation. Availability and cost of energy, infrastructure, availability of industrial land, regulatory constraints and permit-granting, mobility, availability and cost of housing, flexibility of work organisation, skills training, etc. are essential levers to preserve this attractiveness and foster industrial renewal and diversification.