Economy: The Grand Duchy’s government needs to stop postponing and take “difficult decisions”, the capital’s mayor has told the Indian Business Chamber of Luxembourg.
Luxembourg City’s mayor has critiqued the national government’s handling of the economy and the slow pace of reform. In a speech Wednesday evening, Xavier Bettel, an MP who was recently elected head of the largest opposition party, the DP, attacked the lack of decision within the two government coalition parties.
While CSV finance minister Luc Frieden and LSAP economy minister Étienne Schneider have pushed for reforms, CSV prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker and the chief of the LSAP’s parliamentary bloc Lucien Lux “prefer to have social peace”, Bettel said at an Indian Business Chamber of Luxembourg conference.
Evoking the Luxembourgish saying “we want to [remain] what we are”, Bettel said “I think for the moment it’s ‘we want to keep what we have’. And that’s the problem, especially with the financial crisis.”
“We to have to make huge decisions and difficult decisions. Instead of taking some less popular decisions now, we postpone, postpone, postpone the decisions.” With more than 21,000 unemployed people, “we have to sometimes change things even if we don’t accept them.”
Jobs vs. salary rises
“Will we be able to keep indexation? That’s something we will really have to think about. I know people will say, ‘you are a liberal, so you don’t care’. I’m really taking care of every single person. Every single person has his own history. But if I look, for example, at these 21,000 unemployed today, if I would have asked them before if they would agree to say ‘no’ to the index for a few years because we are in a crisis, or be unemployed today, I know the answer. I know the answer.”
Bettel also railed against rising pay for civil servants. “If I tell you, for example, that Luc Frieden in the morning had a press conference where he explained how tough it will be for the next years for the budget, and the same day [CSV civil service minister François] Biltgen and [CSV deputy civil service minister Octavie] Modert said that they found an agreement with the public services [unions] and they’re raising the salaries of the public services [employees], I’ve got a problem. I’ve got a problem because I think some decisions are not the right decisions at the right moment.”
“As a politician… I know that some decisions are not popular, but sometimes you have to take decisions even if they are not popular,” he said at the IBCL event.