LUXEMBOURG has been celebrating the news that the tiny country at the heart of Europe is reaping a major reward from Brexit.

As many as 60 companies in the financial sector in the UK have said they are moving to, or considering a move to, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg as a consequence of Brexit.

The Luxembourg Government has officially said that it is “very pleased” with the new arrivals and further likely arrivals.

Luxembourg is second only to Ireland as the country chosen by firms who are relocating.

Dublin is the main financial centre which is seen as an alternative and the New Financial think tank revealed that as many as 100 companies presently doing business in the UK will open, or are considering opening, new offices and even headquarters in Ireland in order to stay within the EU.

Brexit uncertainty is behind the migration of companies, and Luxembourg, with its 60 imports, is ahead of Paris (41), Frankfurt (40) and Amsterdam (32) in the list of locations for new bases in the EU being set up mainly by financial sector firms.

According to New Financial, banks have moved or are considering moving around £800 billion in assets from the UK to countries who will definitely be in the EU after March 29, while asset managers – a part of the financial industry in which Scotland has a leading role – have also transferred more than £65bn in funds.

Insurance companies have also relocated funds, moving £35bn into the rest of the EU.

With its position as home to several EU institutions and with its previously lax financial legislation now EU compliant, Luxembourg – population 600,000 – is clearly well placed to pick up fleeing British businesses.

Luxembourg’s finance minister Pierre Gramegna said yesterday in an interview with Maria Tadeo on Bloomberg Television: “We are very pleased with what has happened in terms of asset managers, insurance companies, fintech companies. Quite a few have chosen Luxembourg.”

The National:

New Nato HQ and border fence in Latvia

THE Baltic nation of Latvia has just gained a new Nato headquarters as well as a 93km of barbed wire fencing along its border with Russia.

The Nato Northern Division headquarters is a joint effort by Latvia, Estonia and Denmark. The new headquarters is located at Adazi near Riga.

A press statement from the Latvian defence ministry stated: “The main task of the Northern Division will be the management of military operations in its area of responsibility. The new headquarters will begin planning and managing military operations, as well as planning and integrating the Nato units’ activities in order to strengthen the security of the region and organize training in accordance with the alliance’s defence plans.”

Other Nato offices will be located at Karup in Denmark. The first chief of staff of the Northern Division will be the major general of the Danish Armed Forces, Flemming Mathiasen.

According to the statement, the headquarters will be ready to start operating in the first half of 2019. Full operational readiness will be achieved over several years.

At the same time as it welcomed the new Nato development, Latvia announced the completion of a 93km barbed wire fence forming the border with Russia.

Unlike President Donald Trump’s wall with Mexico, the fence was built as part of an agreement between Latvia and Russia to strengthen 282.6 km of the border. The project included the construction of patrol tracks, control lanes and the 2.7m high fence made from barbed wire. It was reported that the total construction cost would be more than € 21 million.

Both countries wish to stop illegal immigration and emigration and crack down on cross-border crime with border violations having decreased in areas where fences are already up.

The National:

The country with three national days

TYPICALLY, countries have an independence day or a national day. But in Lithuania, they have three of them.

On July 6 each year, the Lithuanians celebrate he establishment of the medieval Kingdom of Lithuania by Mindaugas in 1253. Then on February 16, the foundation of the modern Lithuanian state is commemorated, marking the declaration of independence from Russia and Germany in 1918.

The third day took place last weekend with the “restoration of independence” day, the 29th annual celebration of the return of statehood to this Baltic country. A land with half the population of Scotland, the grand duchy of Lithuania was once the largest country in Europe in terms of area, but at the start of the 20th century it was occupied first by the Russian Empire then the Germans before declaring independence from both of them in 1918.

After the Nazis occupied the country during World War II, Lithuania became part of the USSR before on March 11, 1990, it became the first Baltic state to declare independence upon the collapse of Soviet communism. The Soviets tried to mount a counter-coup but citizens rushed to the capital Vilnius to prevent it.

President Dalia Grybauskaite said: “This is a holiday where we always hear the singing revolution inspired by the hope of rebirth. It is a day when we feel proud of our nation and of Lithuania.

He added: “Won almost three decades ago, this victory reminds us every time that we can achieve the highest goals by mobilising our determination and common will.”