In the aftermath of the Second World War, Luxembourg’s participation in the European integration process was crucial in taking into consideration the importance of its steel industry. In 1952, the capital became the temporarily seat of the ‘European Coal and Steel Community’, later to become today’s European Union. Luxembourg remains one of the three European capitals hosting many European institutions from the European Investment Bank to the European Court of Justice, the Court of Auditors to EUROSTAT, the statistical office of the EU. A strong believer in multilateralism and the importance of a peaceful nation, region and continent build through unity, Luxembourg became a founding member of all the major international organisations, the BeNeLux Union, the UN and UNESCO, OECD, the Council of Europe, NATO and the OECD. It is not without surprise that the Schengen Agreement, creating a Europe without borders, was signed in the small wine-producing town of Schengen bordering France and Germany in 1985.
From a small banking centre in the early 20th century, the oldest banking institution was created in 1856, Luxembourg gradually grew into an international Financial centre. It developed and specialised over the decades and Luxembourg is today among the top 3 financial centres in the EU with a AAA credit rating and the 2nd Investment Fund Centre in the world, to name but these figures. The Luxembourg Stock Exchange listed the first ever Eurobond in 1963, the world’s first green bond in 2007 and the first listing of a dim sum bond in Europe in 2011. In 2016, the world’s first Green Exchange, a dedicated platform for green, social and sustainable securities, was created. Luxembourg is among others the most important hub for cross-border RMB business in Europe and the EU hub for the 7 major Chinese Banks. Since two decades, the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, the worldwide leader in the listing of international securities, works with the Bombay Stock Exchange. The first Masala Bond was listed in Luxembourg in 2008.
Since the steel crisis in the 1970s, Luxembourg’s economy diversified from Space, with the creation of the “Société Européenne de Satellites (SES)”, the world leader in operational satellites, or the recent launch of the “Space Resources”, to Logistics with the establishment of Cargolux Airlines, Europe’s biggest all-cargo airline or the impressive development of Amazon’s European Headquarters. In the Automotive sector, Luxembourg developed to a leading business hub for innovation and smart mobility with global component suppliers such as Delphi, Goodyear, IEE and CEBI having European Sales and R&D headquarters in the Grand Duchy. In the ITC sector, the country developed into a globally recognised hub and further positions itself as a centre of excellence in cybersecurity and data protection: “Digital Luxembourg” is leading the way to a digital nation, as the country became one of Europe’s top locations for ICT infrastructures (Data-Centres, connectivity and Internet traffic).
I shared this short description of the many facets of Luxembourg in its evolution over the last decades and wished to highlight a range of examples to show that the secret of Luxembourg has always been its multilinguistic diversity and clear visions for the development of the country by its governments in a stable context and the strength of the monarchy and its sovereign His Royal Highness the Grand Duke as a guarantor of the national independence.
Will there be any changes to the visa process when travel resumes?
As soon as our consulate in Delhi is going to be operational again following the reopening of the 17 VFS Global centres throughout India, the traveller can deposit a Schengen visa application at any of these centers. We had quite a large number of remaining passports in the consulate before the start of the national lockdown and the closure of the consulate and these will be delivered to VFS Global as soon as the operations restart.
For the pending short-term visa requests, we will grant a longer period of validity to each of the applicants allowing them to reorganise their travels taking into consideration these special circumstances. A longer validity period will offer a greater flexibility to make new flight reservations, fix new appointments with their business partners or reschedule the visits with their friends or relatives in Luxembourg. For any new visa application submitted after the end of the nationwide lockdown, the rules of the common Schengen Visa Code will apply.
According to the Grand Ducal regulation of 18 March 2020 introducing a series of measures in the fight against the virus, third country nationals staying currently in Luxembourg with a short-term visa, which would expire during the lockdown are regularised for the duration of the state of emergency in Luxembourg until 31 july 2020.