At the invitation of H.E. Mr Rebelo de Sousa, President of the Portuguese Republic, TT.RR.HH the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg visited Portugal from 10 to 13 May 2022. Accompanied by a delegation of over 170 representatives from Luxembourg’s public and private sector, the Grand Ducal couple led the way in boosting economic cooperation between Luxembourg and Portugal.
In the context of a State Visit to Portugal from 10 to 13 May 2022, an economic programme was put together by the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, the Ministry of the Economy, Luxinnovation, the Embassy of Luxembourg in Portugal, the Embassy of Portugal in Luxembourg and AICEP Portugal Global. The delegation was headed by TT.RR.HH the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess, Mr Franz Fayot, Minister of the Economy, Ms Yuriko Backes, Minister of Finance, Mr Jean Asselborn, Minister of European and Foreign Affairs, and Mrs Corinne Cahen, Minister of Family and Integration.
The trade delegation was composed of 51 companies with a total of over 60 representatives from the ICT, space, sustainable construction, tourism, business events, finance and audiovisual sectors. 62 representatives from public institutions and national organisations also joined the delegation.
PORTO: CITY OF INNOVATION
The first day of the economic programme put the spotlight on Porto and innovative technology for ICT, tech and automotive companies within the delegation. The sectoral delegation was welcomed by the Salvador Caetano Group, an international group in the automotive industry with 70 years of activity and 6,600 employees in 41 countries around the world. The delegation was received in the group’s headquarters in Vila Nova de Gaia and was guided through the company’s bus and aeronautic plants. The highlight of the visit was the company’s hydrogen-powered electric bus: with excellent environmental performance, this vehicle takes advantage of the best of Toyota’s technology and Caetano’s engineering capacity. A significant step forward in the development of mobility solutions for zero-emission public passenger transport.
The delegation was then received by UPTEC, the Science and Technology Park of the University of Porto. UPTEC supports the creation and development of business projects in the arts, sciences, and technologies, and serves as a link between the University and the private sector. Built on a clustering and resource sharing strategy between startups, innovation centres and anchor projects, UPTEC offers its startups the specific support they need, engaging them in a broader and transversal network of national and international partners and mentors. Since the beginning of its activity, in 2007, UPTEC has supported over 666 business ideas. The delegation was welcomed by a selection of local startups such as LOSCH Digital Lab, part of the LOSCH Group in Luxembourg, as well as HealthySystems, SaStudio, Fibersail, Smartex, AddVolt, and SolarCleano.
BILATERAL HISTORY AT A GLANCE
The Porto group then traveled to Lisbon to meet the rest of the delegation at the Citadel of Cascais for an exhibition visit coordinated by the Embassy of Luxembourg in Lisbon: ‘Portugal et Luxembourg: pays d’espoir en temps de détresse.’ This exhibition focuses on historical links between Luxembourg and Portugal during the Second World War. Although Portugal was not directly involved in the turmoil of this conflict and despite the dictatorship that reigned there, it played a major role as a place of refuge and place of transit for those who wanted to leave Europe, including Luxembourg. A few decades later (1960), Luxembourg welcomed the Portuguese who fled the dictatorship of Salazar.
This first day was concluded with a dinner for the economic delegation in Cascais, allowing for all delegates to meet and greet.
SECTORAL VISITS: SUSTAINABILITY / TECH, SPACE, TOURISM & BUSINESS EVENTS
Over recent years, Portugal has invested strong resources in the fields of tourism, tech, sustainable development, and space. These specific sectors were identified as common strengths between Luxembourg and Portugal, with a strong unexplored potential for partnerships.
As a result, the second day of the visit was dedicated to sectoral visits in those fields, in and around Lisbon. Companies from the ICT and cleantech sectors were first received by the Municipality of Cascais. Mrs Joana Balsemão, Councilor for Environment and Citizenship, gave the visitors insight about Cascais’ flagship projects in the fields of circular economy and sustainable development, before Mrs Marta Cotrim, Head of Smart Cities, presented the Cascais Control Center. This facility integrates all the data related to the management of the daily life of the municipality and helps the municipality manage its services in an automated and more efficient way, making Cascais an intelligent territory operating rational energy management.
The next stop of the sectoral visit was the Nova School of Business and Economics Innovation Ecosystem: an innovation meeting point to forge partnerships with a shared vision, blending generations, industries, cultures, and perspectives to breed new business models, products, and solutions. The school aims at offering an open ground where innovation, entrepreneurship, education and research live and grow together to promote sustainable development. Among the many areas of innovation, the ecosystem focuses on sustainable finance, smart cities, health, space, green & blue economy.
Meanwhile, led by the Luxembourg Space Agency and Portugal Space, the space delegation visited Lusospace: A high-tech engineering solutions company with a multidisciplinary team of top-level engineers that designs, develops, prototypes, integrates and tests the most advanced and innovative technological systems and components in the space industry. The delegation then went to the Institute of Plasmas and Nuclear Fusion (IPFN), which includes the European Shock-Tube for High Enthalpy Research (ESTHER).
The tourism & business events delegation, led by the General Directorate for Tourism, the Luxembourg Convention Bureau, Luxembourg for Tourism and Turismo de Portugal, organised a seminar dedicated to the leisure and MICE sectors. The Portuguese partners gave a thorough presentation of local travel agencies and provided insight into the local culture. The delegation was later transferred to the Altice Arena, one of the largest multi-purpose indoor arenas in Europe, for a guided visit of the facility.
INTERCONNECTED STARTUP ECOSYSTEMS DRIVING ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND INNOVATION
In the afternoon, an event dedicated to the startup ecosystems in Portugal and Luxembourg took place in Lisbon. The event was coordinated by Startup Luxembourg and Startup Portugal, with the support of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of the Economy in Luxembourg. The two organising – long-time – partners, both work towards the same goal: connecting startups with incubators, accelerators, innovation hubs, venture capitalists, funds and exports providing support from both the public and private sectors. This event aimed at interconnecting the two countries’ startup ecosystems and assessing their respective strategies.
The event was opened by Mr Franz Fayot, Minister of the Economy of Luxembourg, Mr Luc Frieden, President of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, and Mr Antonio Dias Martins, President of Startup Portugal.
On the third and last day, the Portugal-Luxembourg Economic Forum was held.
The Forum started off in the morning with four parallel seminars, each focusing on the delegation’s main areas of expertise: the Digital Economy of Tomorrow, Space, Sustainable Construction and Tourism & Business Events.
The second half of the Forum was highlighted by the presence of high-level officials: TT.RR.HH. the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, H.E. Mr Rebelo de Sousa, President of the Portuguese Republic, Mr Franz Fayot, Minister of the Economy and Ms Yuriko Backes, Minister of Finance. The official addresses were followed by keynote speeches by Mr Luc Frieden, President of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, and Mr Luis Castro Henriques, President of AICEP Portugal Global.
The State Visit was concluded by an Official Reception in honor of H.E. Mr Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, President of the Portuguese Republic, by order of TT.RR.HH the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg. The economic delegation was invited to attend and use this high-level event as a unique opportunity to network with their local partners and clients.