Prince Alois reminded lawmakers that the key to Liechtenstein’s future is digitalization. He reconfirmed Liechtenstein’s digital direction of the past years, instilling confidence into the country’s business community.

Prince Alois, Liechtenstein’s Head of State, gave his traditional speech to the members of parliament and pointed them towards the significant challenges of Liechtenstein’s future. One of his key points was to put “a special focus” on digitization.

“We already live in a digital world and are dependent on a secure digital infrastructure,” he said. He added that the COVID pandemic, in particular, had demonstrated how important it is for states to have a well-developed digital infrastructure and a population that is well-educated on digital tools. Concerning the Corona pandemic, Prince Alois demanded that Liechtenstein thoroughly review all that happened and learn for the future.

Liechtenstein as a digital hub

With his speech, Prince Alois once again confirmed Liechtenstein’s last years’ course of action and gave businesses confidence that Liechtenstein will keep pushing its digital agenda. In recent years, the country has made serious steps towards becoming a digital hub in the center of Europe. That included setting up governmental units to make it easier for digital businesses to establish a presence in Liechtenstein. It also included digital-friendly legislation such as the Blockchain Act, which was put into force in early 2020 and created the worldwide first comprehensive legislation for blockchain technology.

Because of this digital-friendly approach, many businesses have set up shop in Liechtenstein. They did this in good faith that the country will stay its course and keep working with the business community to solve the challenges brought about by digitalization. Hearing the Head of State approving of this policy and reconfirming its continuation into the next legislative period provides a level of reassurance.

Greater appreciation for work in old age

In his speech, Prince Alois also encouraged a “cultural change” to give higher appreciation to work in old age and age-appropriate work forms. As Liechtenstein’s population grows older, like pretty much everywhere in Europe, people will eventually be required to work longer as well. Prince Alois argued it makes no sense to leave the retirement age where it is although people get older. At some point, the ever-increasing contributions to retirement funding will make Liechtenstein unattractive to businesses, and with that, the funding base for retirement and elderly care will deteriorate.

Digitalization might provide a solution for that, too, even though Prince Alois has not specifically addressed that in his speech. Many jobs in the digital economy can be done from home, working off a computer. Such jobs don’t require much physical effort, but they require experience and a certain level of self-directed working. Older people usually bring both, making the digital economy perfectly suited for them.

That said, it will need training; people of all ages will have to get up to speed with digital tools. But it’s not that difficult after all. Most jobs and skillsets can be applied in a digital economy, with just a few added digital skills. Prince Alois nailed it when he said digitalization is the key challenge and the key opportunity for Liechtenstein’s future.

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