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Small, Open Economies and Preparing for Brexit

111 Avenue du Dix Septembre, 2551 Luxembourg

What lessons can we take from Ireland’s and Luxembourg’s track records in dealing with adversity?

Ireland has progressed enormously in the less than 10 years since the crash of 2008 when it had both the IMF and the European Commission setting the rules for how it should operate. Much has been achieved in terms driving growth in the economy and jobs and in restoring financial stability which has come, amongst others, from driving down the cost of labour and achieving public sector reform by bring costs under control. This was all done without the ability to use the traditional tool of currency devaluation. Just at a point when Ireland should be building on and celebrating these achievements, along comes a new shock in the form of Brexit. Without a doubt, this represents huge threat to Irish prosperity. Arguably, the experience of the past ten years has prepared Ireland, as a small open economy, to address the challenges presented by this discontinuity and its threat to our most important market, the UK.

In a similar manner to Ireland, Luxembourg has managed change and evolved its economy to meet the challenges of the loss of steel-making by being flexible, open and fleet of foot. Luxembourg is also threatened by the UK’s departure, both in other and similar ways to Ireland. Brexit represents a huge challenge for all of Europe both in terms of the financial impact of the loss of a major contributor and also, politically, to those countries such as Ireland and Luxembourg who see open economies as the future.

This event will discuss what has been achieved by Ireland on the past 10 years and what lessons have been learned and how these will apply to small open economies such as Luxembourg and Ireland as they seek to deal with Brexit.

The keynote speaker will George Lee, economist, journalist, editor, radio and TV presenter and politician who is famous for uncovering major banking scandals, going against the tide in predicting the crash of the Irish banking system at the height of the Celtic Tiger and resigning while a sitting member of the Irish Parliament.

He will address the above and argue that change is the norm and that small economies like Luxembourg and Ireland are best placed to deal with it and that rather than being defensive about the attributes that allow them to be flexible, Ireland and Luxembourg should proactively develop them. He will be joined in a panel discussion by:

- Patrizia Luchetta, formerly Director/Advisor to the Minister in the Luxembourg Ministry of Economy, founding board member of the Integrated Biobank of Luxembourg and currently board member of Eurofins scientific, who was charged with diving investments targeted at economic diversification in the field of biotechnologies.

- Tom Murphy, President Kerry Luxembourg for whom the UK’s trade relationship with the EU is of critical importance to its food business.

The discussion will be chaired by Joseph Huggard, Chairman, The Ireland Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce.

The event will take place on Tuesday November 21st at 18.30 at Parc Belair and will be followed by a networking cocktail.

​Registration fee:
Members: free of charge, non-members: EUR 20

event report

The Ireland Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce event ‘‘Small, Open Economies and Preparing for Brexit” was held on Tuesday night at the Park Belair Hotel Luxembourg.

George Lee, Irish journalist, economist and radio and TV presenter delivered an electrifying keynote speech outlining the impact of Brexit on Ireland. He emphasised that it was likely to have a negative impact on the economy in general and in particular on the agriculture and food industry.

His views were echoed by fellow speakers Patrizia Luchetta, formerly Director/Advisor to the Luxembourg Minister of Economy who provided a Luxembourg perspective, and Tom Murphy, President of Kerry Luxembourg, who expanded on the Agribusiness impact.

This was a particularly thought-provoking and relevant Chamber event and generated considerable questioning and debate which continued into the follow-on networking drinks. The Chamber would like to thank its members and guests for supporting this event.

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