ICT Spring Europe 2020

On the 5th edition of the international event ICT Spring Europe 2020, that will take place on the September 15th and 16th in Luxembourg, the Chamber will, once again, be an official partner.

The aim of ICT Spring Europe, as an influential voice in the global technology community, is to encourage networking among business decision makers, innovation managers, start-ups, researchers and venture capitalists at European level. The event will take place at the European Convention Center, will feature high level international speakers, and will highlight the latest trends and technological innovations, as well as reflect on their impact on society and the business community.

In order to adapt to international health safety measures, this year the participation in the event will be either face to face or virtual, and the fees have been adapted to support SMEs and Startups.

Thanks to the good collaboration of the Chamber of Commerce with the organisers of ICT Spring, they will  offer a free of charge participation for foreign visiting companies in the digital edition of the event, including access to conferences and networking. Companies who are interested are requested to send us an email to ictspring@cc.lu  while putting luxemburgo@e-camara.com  in copy to receive their free of charge ticket code.

In addition, a preferential rate of 300 euros is offered to those startups interested in having a digital exhibition space during the event, and a preferential rate of 1.250 euros is offered to companies.

More information on the event’s program: https://www.ictspring.com

New edition 2020 of our “Guía del Emprendedor en Luxemburgo”

Due to a significant increase in the number of downloads of our “Guía del Emprendedor en Luxemburgo” (Enterpreneur’s guide in Luxembourg) in recent months, the Chamber has decided to update its content and launch a new version in October 2020.

This Guide contains, mainly, information about the process of opening a company in the Grand Duchy, as well as the steps to follow in order to establish yourself as an independent professional in this country.

In this new version, information on the questions that future entrepreneurs usually put to us will be included, and the content of the different stages required to open a company (authorisation of establishment, administrative procedures, etc) will be expanded. We will also dedicate a section to company taxation, including a summary of the main taxes applied in Luxembourg. Finally, the Guide will include a directory of local bodies that support entrepreneurship and professionals that offer services to entrepreneurs.

It is the reference publication in Spanish for anyone interested in starting a business in the Grand Duchy, and its launch in the framework of the EmprendeBelux program, an initiative of the Chamber that aims to support Spaniards in their process of entrepreneurship in Belgium and Luxembourg. The download is free and is only distributed in digital format.

Does your company offer services to entrepreneurs in Luxembourg? The Chamber offers you the possibility to sponsor this publication, and thus increase your visibility among a target audience.

Check HERE the different promotion options.

More information: luxemburgo@e-camara.com

Webinar on “Impact of Covid-19 on the Spain’s Real Estate Industry and on the value of assets”

On July 8th, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg, organized a webinar on “Impact of Covid-19 on the Spain’s Real Estate Industry and on the value of assets”, in collaboration with Gesvalt.

The event was organized within the framework of the Spanish Financial Forum (SFF), a Committee through which the Chamber aims to create a space for opinion and debate on economic and financial issues in Luxembourg where members can share experiences, establish collaborations and exchange information on trends in the sector.

The Vice-president of the Chamber and President of the SFF, Jose Luis Rodriguez Alvarez, highlighted the professional career of the speaker and appreciated her participation in the webinar.

Sandra Daza, General Director of Gesvalt, made a presentation about the effects of Covid-19 in the real estate sector in Spain, and the trends that can be expected. In her presentation she went into detail about which values have been more or less affected, the state of the hospitality sector, how the demand will evolve within the real estate sector, what changes we can expect in the price of assets, what will happen with prices when they return to normal and, consequently, the possible business opportunities.

During the question time, the participants could present their comments and questions on many interesting issues. Thus, various topics were discussed such as the situation of vacation real estate assets located on the coast in the face of declining tourism or what consequences the increase in eCom transactions we are experiencing today will have for the retail sector.

In collaboration with:

Extension of the agreement with Belgium on the social security affiliation of cross-border workers teleworking until August 31st, 2020

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Luxembourg, many companies have implemented measures to increase the use of the telework. However, working from the home for cross-border workers may have consequences for their affiliation to social security under the provisions of European legislation for the coordination of the social security systems of Member States.

Romain Schneider, Minister of Social Security, from the beginning of the crisis contacted his Belgian, German and French counterparts to find an agreement to avoid an affiliation change if a certain threshold was exceeded (a 25% according to the EU regulation) for workers and employees affected. Following these contacts, it was decided that, in view of the current exceptional situation, the days of telework due to the COVID-19 crisis would not be taken into account for the determination of the social security legislation applicable to the workers in question, and therefore would have no influence on your affiliation to social security.

This agreement has just been extended with Belgium until August 31st, 2020. With regard to France and Germany, an official response should soon arrive.

Romain Schneider points out: “The extension of this agreement is a strong gesture of solidarity from our neighboring countries. Telework is an important tool in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, so companies and employees must be able to continue without suffer any undesirable consequences. I am sure that France and Germany will also support this approach by extending the agreement that we have had so far”.

 

Communicate of the Ministry of Social Security

 

Source: Gouvernement.lu

Lunch&learn: How to attract talent trough mobility schemes

On June 29, the Chamber, in collaboration with the Incubator of Luxembourg City, organized a briefing on mobility programs for SMEs and Startups.

The session was divided into individual meetings with each of the interested companies to answer their questions about the different participation requirements in each of the programs managed by the Chamber:

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs, a cross-border exchange program that gives new entrepreneurs the opportunity to work with experienced entrepreneurs who run small businesses in other EU countries.

The PICE Mobility Plan, a program created by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce and co-financed by the European Social Fund, whose main objective is to offer opportunities for personal and professional development to young people who participate in the program and, at the same time, improve the productivity of partner companies.

 

For more information about our mobility programs, contact us info@e-camara.com.

Agreement between the social partners on the conditions for granting partial unemployment within the framework of the exit from the state of crisis

Under the joint presidency of Dan Kersch, Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity Economy, and Franz Fayot, Minister of Economy, the social partners represented on the one hand by OGBL President Nora Back and LCGB President Patrick Dury, and on the other hand by the President of UEL, Nicolas Buck, agreed on June 9th the new modalities to grant partial unemployment to companies affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

With the end of the crisis state, the emergency procedures established to help companies through a special mechanism of partial unemployment by “force majeure COVID-19” will expire. The meeting agreed that companies affected by the health crisis should continue to receive support through partial unemployment, preserving as many jobs as possible.

Taking into account that a good number of companies will continue to suffer the negative effects of the health crisis beyond the end of the crisis state, it has already been decided to continue supporting them with the instrument of partial unemployment until the end of the current year.

To take into account the fact that certain sectors have been more severely affected and will delay the return to the same level of activity as before the health crisis or will not achieve it in the near future, four possible ways of benefiting from the agreement were agreed upon partial unemployment:

 

  1. Industrial companies will continue to benefit from the cyclical scheme of short-term unemployment to be able to react to shocks in international markets. By applying the system of partial unemployment from cyclical sources, industrial companies undertake not to fire workers for economic reasons.
  2. The social partners have recognized the particularly difficult situation of companies in vulnerable sectors that continue to be strongly affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Therefore, companies in the hotel, tourism and events sectors will be able to benefit from rapid access to partial unemployment from a structural source, without limiting the number of employees who will be entitled to it. If necessary, these companies may resort to economic dismissals within the maximum limit of 25% of their employees until December 31, 2020. The social partners have explicitly insisted on the fact that the provisions of general jurisdiction provided for by the Code of the Labour Law relating to collective dismissal remain fully applicable. The social partners have agreed that, in the event of a return to an improvement in activity, the companies that have carried out layoffs must, in the event of subsequent recruitment of staff, rehire their former laid-off employees as a matter of priority.
  3. Companies affected by the health crisis, in addition to industrial companies and those from vulnerable sectors, can also resort to short-term work from structural sources along the accelerated route provided, however, without dismissing workers. This measure aims to preserve the jobs in the companies involved as best as possible. In this case, however, the number of employees covered by partial unemployment cannot exceed 25% in the months of July and August, 20% in September and October, and 15% in November and December. In this context, an employee is defined as each employee who has been declared partially unemployed during the current month, regardless of the number of hours of partial unemployment.
  4. Finally, the demands of companies in vulnerable sectors that lay off more than 25% of their workers, as well as those of all the other companies that want to make layoffs, must submit a “traditional” application for partial unemployment.

 

In fact, it was agreed in these situations that admission to the partial unemployment regime could only be granted if the companies proceeded to establish restructuring plans. These plans will be established in the form of a recovery plan in the case of small companies of less than fifteen people, respectively, and in the form of a job retention plan in accordance with the provisions of Article L. 513-1 et seq. Labour Code for companies that employ more than fifteen employees.

The social partners expressed their willingness to negotiate as far as possible the sectoral plans for job retention to use the temporary labour loan instrument.

All these proposals for partial unemployment were approved by the Government in the Council.

The Economic Committee also reserves the right to give negative notice to requests from companies that are clearly not affected at all or only slightly by the health crisis.

The secretariat of the Economic Committee is in the process of implementing, in collaboration with the services of the State Center for Information Technology (CTIE) and ADEM, computer applications to send applications as described above electronically through the myGuichet.lu platform.

Accurate information for business, staff and employee delegations will be quickly prepared and made available on the Guichet.lu website.

 

Communicated by the Ministry of Economy / Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social and Solidarity Economy

 

Source: Gouvernement.lu

More than 4 million to help cultural sector in Luxembourg

To deal with the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Culture has drawn up a recovery plan for the cultural sector. More than four million will be allocated to revive the different cultural sectors affected by the crisis.

The Covid-19 crisis did not spare the cultural community. Although the sector has played an important role in many homes during confinement and has helped many people overcome this difficult milestone by reading, watching movies or participating in digital initiatives, cultural and artistic institutions. Today the sector is in a precarious, even difficult situation.

That is why the Ministry of Culture proposes a new recovery plan for the sector that complements the exceptional aid already allocated so far. Details were released Wednesday.

 

An inventory without glory

In total, more than a hundred closed exhibitions, more than a thousand concerts, festivals and other events canceled or postponed, and more than a million spectators who had to give up their ticket.

We are going through a difficult period, with long-term consequences“, said Sam Tanson (Déi Gréng), Minister of Culture. “The financial impact is also very significant and the cultural infrastructures show a loss of 15 to 30% of their income, which is related to the sale of tickets or restoration. This loss may jeopardize the incomes of independent and intermittent artists of the show. In addition, the Ministry of Culture intervened from the beginning to support the sector, first by granting subsidies to projects that could be carried out in times of crisis, then by amending the law on social measures for intermittent entertainment workers and professional artists to support creatives better in times of crisis”.

Because we must not forget that culture is a real economic sector that employs more than 12,000 people, which represents 5.3% of jobs in Luxembourg. A sector that counts in the general economic balance, but which is also precarious, because a fifth of these jobs are self-employed and, therefore, are in a situation of great economic fragility. On May 20th, it was decided that these grants would last until June 30th, thus increasing the allocation reserved for artists and intermittent workers to 1.2 million in 2020.

From May 11th, libraries and museums can reopen, and from May 29th, rooms such as theaters, cinemas, cultural centers and concert halls can be opened.

However, these places must respect the general sanitary conditions, which does not stop raising many concerns: the use of compulsory masks in the places of circulation, sitting respecting the physical distance, distance also imposed for the speakers on stage, etc.

Every three weeks, the situation will be re-evaluated, but at this time we still do not know when we can resume activities as we know them“, said the Minister of Culture. That is why the Ministry of Culture is providing a new set of funds to mitigate the effects of the crisis, prevent excessive precariousness of cultural workers, absorb collateral damage in neighboring sectors and allow structures to adapt to new measures to attract your audience again.

 

New help for better support

It is in this context that the agreed structures and associations may submit a claim for compensation to compensate for a financial loss related to the cancellation or postponement of an event, or the closure of the cultural institution. 1.5 million is reserved for these allocations.

The annexes of Bourglinster Castle already housed an artist residency program. This will be reinforced with a three-year mission for a group of artists financed up to € 100,000 for two years and who will be in charge of the management and animation of the place. The principle of residency will also be valued in cultural institutions that can host an artist for at least 6 months. To do this, they will benefit from aid ranging from € 15,000 to € 30,000, for a total of € 150,000 reserved for this action.

The ministry is also increasing its endowment for the acquisition of works of art by € 150,000 that can be used to buy works from galleries.

Regarding music, € 50,000 is reserved for eight new musicals. The theater will benefit from € 100,000 that will be used to write dramatic works that must later be produced on stage. The same amount is allocated to the search for new forms of entertainment that better satisfy the limitations of the sanitary conditions imposed by the Covid-19.

Finally, two very large budgets, each one million euros, are aimed, on the one hand, at supporting regional museums for the development and improvement of their offer, and on the other hand at cultural sites with a tourist vocation. Behind these last two grants, there is a sincere desire to develop these structures that are still underexploited and to enrich not only the cultural offer, but also to strengthen tourist attraction throughout the country. Enough to contribute to the long-term “Vakanz Doheem”.

 

Source: Paperjam.lu

A recovery plan and a “new beginning” for the country

Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna (DP), accompanied by Deputy Prime Ministers François Bausch (Déi Gréng) and Dan Kersch (LSAP), detailed the new aid measures decided by the government on Wednesday May 20th. Again a very ambitious program.

A new stage has been passed and that requires a change of scenery. The one in the press conference room of the European Convention Center in Luxembourg, featuring a map of Luxembourg and, above all, a slogan: “Neistart Lëtzebuerg” (a new beginning for Luxembourg). With three even more marked priorities: quality of life, solidarity and stability.

 

Lack of growth requires action

Thanks to the good figures of the health authorities, a new beginning starts after a hard phase of confinement, which severely put the homes and businesses of the country to the test. On Wednesday May 20th the Government Council decided new subsidy, which Prime Minister Xavier Bettel had already announced to a large extent. And that complements the other measures taken in recent weeks. Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna (DP), accompanied by Deputy Prime Ministers Dan Kersch (LSAP) and François Bausch (Déi Gréng), gave the details.

Firstly, he recalled through a macroeconomic analysis that, in the context of the recovery, “Luxembourg is better placed than the others. Especially since their public finances are healthy. We have more room for maneuver.”. The financial center, which “represents 30% of the country’s wealth”, remained active.

This also offers a significant attack force: this new subsidy, estimated at between 700 and 800 million euros, combined with the previous ones, represents 5.5% of the national GDP, or 3,000 million euros. Belgium and France only made an effort at 2% and Germany at 4.6%. “We will not have growth for two years, so we must act“, insists Pierre Gramegna. This is strengthening the liquidity of households and the economy.

A call was also made for everyone to play the game: individuals  to pay their bills, business, VAT or other taxes, for example, “to create a virtuous circle“.

 

Recovery fund and flat-rate aid

While the Minister of Tourism Lex Delles (DP) will detail the subsidy dedicated to this sector on Friday, the Minister of Finance returned for the first time to the recovery and solidarity fund for companies. It will be aimed at the most affected companies (in the restaurant, tourism, fitness, events, etc. sector) that have not yet been authorized to reopen on May 20th. They will have to demonstrate a loss of turnover of at least 25% in June 2020 compared to June 2019. The aid will be 1,250 euros per employed employee, 250 euros per temporarily unemployed employee, with maximum limits: Maximum 10,000 euros per month for companies with less than 10 employees, € 50,000 per month for companies with less than 50 employees and € 100,000 per month for companies with more than 50 employees. This assistance will be available from July 1st for a period of six months.

Other lump-sum aid will be awarded to retail and personal care companies: € 1,000 per employee in June, € 750 in July and € 500 in August, up to a limit of € 50,000 per month. This measure is limited to SMEs.

As previously announced, a tax exemption of double the reduction granted to a tenant in commercial leases, up to a maximum of 15,000 euros, will be possible. Rent increases on private leases will be frozen until the end of the year.

On Friday, the Minister of Economy Franz Fayot (LSAP) will give details “on other measures“, said Pierre Gramegna: special help to increase the energy efficiency of companies, expansion of the reimbursable advances provided for in the stabilization pact of May 15th to September 15th and aid for investments in the field of digitization. Certain grants can go up to 800,000 euros. Also supporting lawyers and apprentices with a 10% revaluation of legal aid fees, doubling the cost of living subsidy, the sustainability of the family support license, etc.

The good use of partial unemployment has helped maintain social cohesion“. said Dan Kersch, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labor.

For the Minister of Labor, Dan Kersch, the correct use of partial unemployment has avoided a disaster. “In the United States, like us, they had 5% unemployment. Now we believe they will reach 25%”, he said.

The measure has cost 725 million, 32,000 requests have been made, and 325,000 wages have been paid through it. “Partial or temporary unemployment has been the instrument to maintain social cohesion“, says Dan Kersch. 

 

Partial unemployment maintained until the end of 2020

The partial unemployment measures will continue until the end of the year and the advance system will continue. Short-term conjunctural unemployment due to Covid-19 will evolve towards structural partial unemployment, which will be simplified, because “nobody can pretend that companies do not face changes“.

The plan proposes guaranteeing access to simplified structural partial unemployment to companies affected by the pandemic crisis and that have benefited from partial unemployment due to “force majeure due to Covid-19“, starting in July. Therefore, it follows that companies must present a recovery plan, or even a job retention plan, authorizing layoffs in the structural system of partial unemployment, but that should be avoided as much as possible. Keep in mind that companies will benefit from a simplified, even ultra simplified, digital procedure. This will allow them to reorganize to gradually adapt to the post-Covid-19 situation.

Finally, the economic recovery will also require an ambitious state. “We are not going to reduce public spending, it would be a very bad idea. On the contrary, they will increase 6.3% in 2021. No other country is doing this in Europe”, says François Bausch.

 

Measures aimed at sustainability

Convinced that, more than ever, it is necessary to go in the direction of sustainability, Minister Déi Gréng detailed a list of ecological measures:

  • The Prime House for energy modernization of buildings increased by 50% for contracts signed from March 20th to March 21st, 2021, work can be done until the end of 2022.
  • An “25% increase in the subsidy” if you replace your heating with a renewable energy based system.
  • A 25% bonus for replacing the boiler.
  • Aid for photovoltaic installations above 30kW will now be accessible to everyone.
  • A subsidy program for private electric charging stations is being developed, complementary to the Chargy Network, aimed at users who want to charge their vehicle at home.
  • A network of fast charging stations will be developed.

These are measures that will be beneficial for the construction sector” at the same time as for the planet.

These ambitious measures are “essential” for the government. Of course, it can be reviewed in the event of a resumption of the epidemic. A working group is studying this situation that nobody wants. Because, as François Bausch pointed out when looking at Pierre Gramegna, “we cannot allow a confinement every three months“.

 

Source: Paperjam.lu

Luxembourg rolls out another €800m as part of virus recovery plan

New measures include aid for businesses and hotel vouchers to boost tourism industry.

Luxembourg will roll out between €700 and €800 million in fresh aid to help companies as part of the country’s economic recovery plan after businesses have suffered from a nation-wide lockdown put in place two months ago to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The newly announced package includes aid to make up for financial losses, vouchers to spend at hotels to boost the tourism industry, and a stop on rent increases.

Today, we can’t say we have won the fight against the virus“, prime minister Xavier Bettel said during a press conference on Wednesday. “But we have reduced the effects of the virus. We have opted for the right strategy, I’m certain we took the right decision“.

Bettel put the country into lockdown on 16 March, closing shops apart from those selling food, and all restaurants and hotels. While most shops have now opened their doors again, restaurants, bars and hotels are mstill waiting for a further easing of the lockdown.

A new multi-million-euro plan – which comes on top of a rescue package that had already expected to reach a budget of €10.5 billion – aims to maintain jobs and keep companies in business despite the lack of revenue and a reduced need for staff over the past months.

Companies which have been heavily hit will receive €1,250 per month. People receiving cost-of-living allowance will get twice the amount for the rest of the year, while residents and cross-border workers will receive a voucher to spend a night at a hotel in Luxembourg to boost tourism. Landlords will not be able to increase rents until the end of this year.

The health crisis has meant fewer people already unemployed were able to find jobs last month. Unemployment agency ADEM said the high number of unemployed people in April was mainly due to fewer people finding jobs rather than more people signing up for unemployment benefits.

A total of 1,796 new people registered – 18% fewer than in April last year. But only 884 people ended their benefits after finding a new job last month, compared with 2,512 in April 2019. There were 1,895 vacancies last month, 43% less than in the same month of last year.

More measures to lift the lockdown could come out next week, Bettel said. He had previously said restaurants could reopen on 1 June if the spread of the disease remained in check, but he repeated the date is still uncertain.

Foreign affairs minister Jean Asselborn has been in talks with France and Belgium to see when the borders will fully reopen“, Bettel said. No date has been agreed but Luxembourg had hopes Belgium would open before France, which will remain fully closed until 15 June.

Looking back, this crisis has shown us to what point it’s difficult to take measures without knowing if they are right or not. We had to act quickly. Figures show us we have avoided a big catastrophe“, Health Minister Paulette Lenert, who was with Bettel, said at the press conference.

We had one aim: pull the hand break. Now our aim is to reintroduce normalcy by gradually reducing these measures“.

 

Source: Luxtimes.lu