Nathalie Oberweis (déi Lénk)

Déi Lénk MPs zero in on poor crises management

From left to right: David Wagner, Myriam Cecchetti, Nathalie Oberweis and Marc Baum presented the parliamentary balance sheet of the Déi Lénk party on Thursday 22 July. (Photo: Romain Gamba/Maison Moderne)

From left to right: David Wagner, Myriam Cecchetti, Nathalie Oberweis and Marc Baum presented the parliamentary balance sheet of the Déi Lénk party on Thursday 22 July. (Photo: Romain Gamba/Maison Moderne)

Déi Lénk presented its parliamentary report on Thursday 22 July. The party criticises the government for not doing enough on housing, climate and taxation. We spoke to MP Nathalie Oberweis.

What is your assessment of this parliamentary year? Nathalie OberweisNathalie Oberweis. - The government has not mismanaged the health crisis, but we see that there are many other crises, such as the housing crisis, social crises, environmental crises, etc., and on all these crises, there is no response, and the government is not providing the necessary means of action required to deal with these kinds of crises. The three parties in the coalition make 'rotten' compromises because they have very different values, so the compromises they find are not at all up to the task of managing our country. For example, the right to housing is not guaranteed in Luxembourg.

What do you criticise the government for on this issue of housing? The money is clearly there, so it's not a question of money. It's more a question of political will, of means of action, of having the human resources to manage this situation. We were against the Housing Pact that was voted on last week because it does not provide the necessary means of action to really combat this housing crisis.

What does this mean? The Housing Pact is still not compulsory, so a municipality may not want to apply it. And in the results of the first Housing Pact, we can see that not all municipalities have actually participated, and only 2% of expenditure has been invested in housing, which is so little. So we think that with this second Housing Pact, there won't really be a difference. The government says it wants to guarantee the right to housing and affordable housing, but we don't think it will make any difference, and this pact really doesn't address the country's housing crisis.

What does Déi Lénk propose on this issue? We have an emergency, there are about 30,000 people in immediate need of affordable housing in the country. However, we know that at the same time there are 20,000 empty dwellings in Luxembourg, so we think that we must implement all the means to mobilise these empty dwellings, because they can be mobilised quickly, whereas building new dwellings as it is written in the Housing Pact, is for five, ten or fifteen years. If we are in a crisis, then we must provide the means today, but the government is not doing this at all.

Are you pessimistic about the months to come? Yes, I think the crises will get worse, because the government doesn't have a long-term vision, a sustainable and inclusive vision, as it should be, and so they aren’t really managing the crises.

What is your first feedback two months after your debut in the Chamber? We would like to have reinforcements in the next legislative elections because there are only two of us, and that is a lot of work. As we are in a minority, we are only raising the issues related to social justice, tax justice, etc. We are being heard, and other parties are sometimes even taking up our ideas, but in the end, the government, while welcoming our ideas, is sticking to its programme. We would like our vision, which is that of an inclusive and sustainable society where all basic rights -- the right to housing, to work, to a healthy environment -- are truly guaranteed, to be supported by more citizens.

The Piratepartei is proposing a new tax bracket for those who earn more than €500,000 per year. What do you think about this? The maximum tax rate could be increased significantly, and this is also in line with our proposals. Already, capital income should be taxed much more, because at the moment, labour income is taxed five times more than capital income. Which is incredible! Because people who have income from capital are generally rather rich, since they manage to invest in capital, so they multiply their income and their investments.