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The European Investment Fund (EIF) and BGL BNP Paribas together with BNP Paribas Lease Group Luxembourg have signed an InnovFin SMEG agreement to enhance access to finance for innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Luxembourg. This transaction benefits from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe. The agreement will allow BGL BNP Paribas to provide loans on advantageous terms to innovative SMEs in Luxembourg over the next two years. EIF’s guarantee is provided under the “EU InnovFin finance for Innovators” initiative with the financial backing under Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The agreement would not have been possible without the backing of the Investment Plan. Commenting on the signature, European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “Today marks yet another important date for innovative companies in Luxembourg, as EIF and BGL BNP Paribas sign the third InnovFin agreement in the country. The Investment Plan for Europe is delivering on its commitment to ensure better access to finance for SMEs across Europe. Given its success so far, we have proposed to extend the European Fund for Strategic Investments and place even more emphasis on giving a helping hand to small companies.” EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “I am pleased to see that EIF is signing another EFSI InnovFin agreement in Luxembourg. As one of the biggest banking groups in the country, I am convinced that BGL BNP Paribas is very well placed to support innovative Luxembourgish SMEs and small mid-caps. Thanks to this EUR 40 million agreement, BGL BNP Paribas will continue to expand its offer in SME financing by proposing financing solutions with more favourable terms.” Carlo Thill, Chairman of the Management Board of BGL BNP Paribas, said: “We are delighted to take part in this EIF programme. As a long-standing partner for small and medium-sized businesses in Luxembourg, is it important to BGL BNP Paribas to offer its entrepreneur clients the best possible solutions and to support them in financing their projects. InnovFin allows us to further broaden our product range and to offer more flexible and favourable financing conditions to innovative SMEs. This operation is perfectly in line with other partnership agreements BGL BNP Paribas signed in the past with the aim of actively contributing to the development of Luxembourg businesses.” This transaction with BGL BNP Paribas reflects the EU's commitment to rapidly launch concrete initiatives under EFSI, significantly accelerating lending and guarantee transactions capable of boosting jobs and growth in the EU.
On 23 November 2016, Prime Minister and Minister of State Xavier Bettel participated in the Luxembourg Internet Days 2016 organised by the Luxembourg Commercial Internet Exchange (LU-CIX). The key topics for the 2016 edition of the Luxembourg Internet Days, which brought together more than 1000 participants from the Grand Duchy and further afield, were the Internet of Things, the ecosystem of start-ups, and blockchain technology. In his address, Xavier Bettel praised the growth of the organisation, which has 62 members already. “Since its creation seven years ago, LU-CIX has developed into an essential feature of the Grand Duchy’s telecom and Internet landscape. LU-CIX has not only survived; it has even managed to expand.” To ensure in the long term the quality of the service provided by LU-CIX, Xavier Bettel signed a six-year financial cooperation agreement with the organisation. “This will enable LU-CIX to offer a reliable service to the Grand Duchy’s digital economy. It is just one of the many elements constituting the Digital Lëtzebuerg initiative, through which we intend not only to provide the country with excellent connectivity, but also to make every effort to excel in every other area in which digitisation offers us new opportunities.” Infrachain – launch of a blockchain initiative In his address, Xavier Bettel emphasised the ability of the Grand Duchy’s ecosystem to adapt rapidly to circumstances that were in constant flux: “We want to remain stakeholders in our own future, not merely distant observers of technological change.” To prepare the Grand Duchy’s ecosystem for the large-scale technological opportunity blockchain technology represents, Xavier Bettel announced - as part of the Digital Lëtzebuerg initiative - the launch of the Infrachain initiative. The purpose of the recent signature of a memorandum of understanding between five private- and public-sector stakeholders is to build up a common blockchain infrastructure. Work will begin immediately, with the constitution of working groups whose aims are to establish a system of governance, to set up a common technical base, and to make sure the infrastructure complies with the legal framework in force. In addition to the five signatories of the MoU (Digital Lëtzebuerg, CTIE, LuxTrust, Telindus, InTech), participation in the working groups is open to any stakeholder wishing to make a contribution to the initiative. The purpose of creating a trusted blockchain infrastructure, set up jointly by the public and private sectors, is to make it easier to deploy solutions based on blockchain technology, both for start-ups and for established stakeholders, in a regulated framework that promotes trust on the part of final users and investors. The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to meet business representatives from the emerging sector of blockchain technology to discuss the technology and its economic opportunities for the Grand Duchy.
Luxembourg’s new space law guarantees private companies the right to resources harvested in outer space in accordance with international law. The Luxembourg Government has just adopted a draft law ensuring that private operators working in space can be confident about their rights to the resources they extract in outer space. The legal and regulatory framework is a key action of an overall strategy to be implemented progressively within the SpaceResources.lu initiative for the exploration and commercial use of resources from Near Earth Objects (NEOs), such as asteroids. Article 1 of the draft law provides that space resources are capable of being appropriated in accordance with international law. Luxembourg is thus the first European country to provide legal certainty as to the ownership of minerals, water and other space resources identified in particular on asteroids. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Etienne Schneider commented: “The legal framework we put in place is perfectly in line with the Outer Space Treaty. Our law does not suggest to either establish or imply in any way sovereignty over a territory or over a celestial body. Only the appropriation of space resources is addressed in the legal framework. Luxembourg’s new space legislation confirms the strong commitment to become a European hub for the exploration and use of space resources.” Minister Schneider announced furthermore that negotiations are underway to formalize relationships with around twenty companies and entrepreneurs originating both from Europe and from outside of Europe: “Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources, two renowned U.S. companies with visionary ambitions for exploration and use of space resources, have already both established their European subsidiary in the Grand Duchy, with Luxembourg to become one of the main shareholders of Planetary Resources, Inc. Both companies started hiring highly qualified workers to build up economic and technological substance to firmly anchor their presence in Luxembourg.” Please visit here for more information about the latest initiatives of Luxembourg and space-mining: http://money.cnn.com/video/technology/2016/11/14/luxembourg-asteroids.cnnmoney/index.html  

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Luxembourg, your European E-Business Platform
Focus 10 - Future manufacturing technologies
FOCUS magazine 1 - Automotive components made in Luxembourg
FOCUS magazine 2 - A thriving space industry
FOCUS magazine 3 - Environmental innovators hit the spotlight
FOCUS magazine 4 - High hopes for health
FOCUS magazine 5 - Leading the way in ICT security
FOCUS magazine 6 - Making materials smarter
FOCUS magazine 7 – A home for growth
FOCUS magazine 8 - A green Heart for Logistics
FOCUS magazine 9 - Space: Expanding the frontiers of innovation
Foreign Researcher’s Guide to Luxembourg
Just arrived
Logistics Hub Luxembourg, Putting Europe at your fingertips
Luxembourg in Figures
Luxembourg Space Capabilities
Luxembourg – an attractive location for Treasury and Corporate Finance operations
Luxembourg, a pioneer in space
Luxembourg, an attractive place for your IP assets
Luxembourg, sights and attractions
Luxembourg, your automotive business partner
Luxembourg, your prime business location
Luxembourg: a Gateway to Space
SurprisingLux
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Publications

SurprisingLux

Luxembourg, your prime business location

Logistics Hub Luxembourg, Putting Europe at your fingertips

Luxembourg, your European E-Business Platform

Luxembourg, an attractive place for your IP assets

Luxembourg, your automotive business partner

Luxembourg, a pioneer in space

Luxembourg in Figures

Focus 10 - Future manufacturing technologies

FOCUS magazine 9 - Space: Expanding the frontiers of innovation

FOCUS magazine 8 - A green Heart for Logistics

FOCUS magazine 7 – A home for growth

FOCUS magazine 6 - Making materials smarter

FOCUS magazine 5 - Leading the way in ICT security

FOCUS magazine 4 - High hopes for health

FOCUS magazine 3 - Environmental innovators hit the spotlight

FOCUS magazine 2 - A thriving space industry

FOCUS magazine 1 - Automotive components made in Luxembourg