POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Government could be in place by Wednesday



Xavier Bettel with Étienne Schneider, Félix Braz and Corinne Cahen on their way to a press conference to unveil the outline of the new government’s policy programme on Thursday 29 November. Matic Zorman

Xavier Bettel with Étienne Schneider, Félix Braz and Corinne Cahen on their way to a press conference to unveil the outline of the new government’s policy programme on Thursday 29 November. Matic Zorman

Following the presentation of the new government’s policy programme, Xavier Bettel said the DP-LSAP-Déi Gréng coalition could be sworn in on 5 December.

Free public transport, an increase in the minimum wage, an amalgamation of tax categories, two additional holiday days a year and the legalizing of cannabis were among the attention-grabbing policies unveiled by the coalition partners on Thursday.

Prime minister in waiting Xavier Bettel said that the coalition’s policies were ambitious, modern and would provide continuity from the last legislature. “The programme for 2018 to 2023 is one of justice, innovation, a coalition of vision, but also of social cohesion,” he said. Bettel said he was proud of the existing social cohesion in the grand duchy, especially when he looked at what was going on in France and Germany. “But we have to be careful that the division does not get so big that it creates a malaise. We have to ensure that everyone can profit from the prosperity of the country.”

The LSAP had lobbied to reduce the working week from 40 to 38 hours, but the extra two holiday days--one additional legal holiday bringing the minimum granted by employers up to 26 days, and a public holiday on 9 May to celebrate Europe Day.

Tax changes

Personal tax will in future be levied on individuals in one single category, doing away with different the two-tier system for singles and married or paxed couples.

Corporate tax will be reduced by 1% across the board, and the profit that small and medium businesses can make and still be taxed at the lowest rate of 15% will increase to €175,000 as opposed to the current €25,000. VAT rates on hygiene products and on renovation work for private homes will also be reduced to 3%.

The government will also set long-term targets to have 20% of all agricultural production organic by 2025 and also to end the use of glyphosate by 2020.

The make-up of the cabinet is expected to be formally unveiled on Friday, but according to sources will not differ from the line-up leaked to the press on Thursday. Bettel says that the coalition agreement will be signed by party leaders on Monday, and that if all goes according to plan the new government could be sworn in and commence its work on Wednesday next week.