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The Luxembourg Sustainability Forum 2015, organised in the context of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU, was held in the Grand Duchy on 24 September 2015. A number of experts discussed the concept of responsible finance, as well as the means to revamp territories and digital technology for sustainable development. The highlight of the conference was the presentation by American economist and futurist, Jeremy Rifkin, who spoke on his theory of a Third Industrial Revolution.
Entitled "New energy technologies as business and investment opportunities for Europe", the Informal meeting of Ministers for Energy to be held on Wednesday 23 September 2015 at the European Convention Centre Luxembourg will be devoted, in particular, to new energy technologies as a driving force for economic growth and job creation.
European energy transition and the potential of new energy technologies were the main items on the agenda at the informal meeting of Energy ministers held in Luxembourg on 23 September 2015. The discussions at the informal meeting focused on three issues: economic growth offered by European energy transition, possible synergies between energy and development aid and investment in the energy sector. At a press conference held at the end of this informal Meeting, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy, Étienne Schneider, who chaired the meeting, confirmed that there is "a lot to gain" from growth and job creation" in the energy field.
On 22 September 2015, the second day of the 8th SET Plan conference held in Luxembourg, which sought to strengthen work on the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan), concluded with two speeches: one by the Luxembourg Minister of the Economy, Etienne Schneider, and one by the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete. Etienne Schneider stressed that the EU has "a lot to gain" from research and innovation in the energy field, before insisting on "the urgency to progress faster" in this field. Miguel Arias Cañete highlighted the importance of strengthening cross-border and cross-sector integration in research and innovation in the energy field.
At the opening of the SET-Plan conference on the transformation of the energy system, held on 21 September 2015 in Luxembourg, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel stressed the importance of accelerating the energy transition, noting that the EU imports half of the energy it consumes. The European Commissioner Carlos Moedas for his part, called for increased investment and innovation.
On 17 and 18 September 2015, the 14th European Tourism Forum was held in Luxembourg, an event organised by the European Commission in the context of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union. For the 2015 edition of the European Tourism Forum, the speakers chose to focus on the important issues the tourism sector is facing today: digitalisation, promoting Europe through transnational and pan-European thematic products, skills and training and also streamlining the regulatory and administrative framework. Francine Closener, Secretary of State for Economy, delivered the welcoming remarks of the forum "intended to shape the future of European tourism".
On 17 September 2015, Camille Gira, the Secretary of State for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, spoke to the European Parliament's Committee on Regional Development (REGI) in Brussels to present the priorities of the Luxembourg Presidency in the areas of territorial cohesion, urban policy and cohesion policy.
On 16 September 2015, the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council and the European Parliament finalised an informal deal on a programme to help member states' public administrations provide interoperable digital services for citizens and businesses (ISA²). The new ISA² programme is set to run from 2016 to 2020, with a budget of about €131 million. The quick agreement should ensure that ISA² will be ready to kick in by the time the current ISA programme expires at the end of 2015.
The Luxembourg Presidency organised a conference dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Interreg programme held on 15 and 16 September 2015 in Esch-Belval. The event allowed thirty speakers to review the history of Interreg and to present several examples of cross-border cooperation. Several of them stressed the importance of exchanging statistical data and reducing the administrative burden in order to improve the attractiveness of the programme.
Nicolas Schmit, the Minister in charge of relations with the European Parliament during the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU, has welcomed the "important" contributions and initiatives put forward by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, during his speech on the state of the Union before the European Parliament which met in plenary session on 9 September 2015. "It is time for courageous, innovative and exceptional action to be taken", declared Nicolas Schmit, speaking at the end of the debate which followed Jean-Claude Juncker's speech. In his address, Jean-Claude Juncker called, in particular, on the 28 EU Member States to reach an agreement on the Commission's proposal on the urgent relocation of 160,000 refugees during the extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council (JHA) convened by the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU for 14 September 2015.
Members of the Executive Bureau of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) met in Luxembourg on 2 September 2015 at the 162nd meeting of the Bureau committed mainly to cross-border cooperation. On this occasion, the Secretary of State for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, Camille Gira, was invited to present the proposals of the Luxembourg Presidency of the EU Council, which has submitted an opinion request to the CoR on the need for a better regulatory framework for cross-border cooperation. The subject was then discussed at two round tables, the first committed to cross-border issues relating to EU policy and regulations, the second to investment and financing of cross-border projects.