Pierre Pailler: This parliamentary year has of course been dominated by Covid-19. Do you see the disease more as a risk or an opportunity for the environment?
Josée Lorsché (president of the parliamentary bloc): Both. It’s a risk for the whole population, in terms of infections and ill-being, particularly at the psychological level—many people are suffering mentally. But on the other hand, we have the chance to see the value of our society, of our living together: we have to protect our lives, our society, our environment, and we have realised that these things are not a given.
Luxembourg was hit last week by catastrophic floods. Is this a direct consequence of the climate and environmental crisis?
Climate disasters are piling up and experts are well aware that it’s not due to chance but to climate change. This is a view that circulates among specialists.
Rewilding is a necessary tool, but we also need effective land-use planning that allows water to circulate and prevents it from being concentrated in certain channels: it is really necessary to give water the place it deserves. Protection measures are of course essential. And in the long term, climate change is a challenge that must be faced.
This year has seen the failure of Fage to secure a site in Luxembourg. Does this indicate a paradigm shift in the country’s industrialisation policy?
I find the current economic policy very intelligent and responsible. The minister for the economy, Franz Fayot (LSAP), has reacted well. He has already spoken out in favour of a more ecological industrialisation, which is much more intelligent than the project he inherited. I don’t think he was in favour of Fage, but he wanted to close the file so as not to create other problems.
Taxation, especially with the LSAP proposals for a tax on companies that have profited from the crisis, has been in the news recently. The DP is unambiguously opposed to this. What is your position on this issue?
Since our public debt is not at 30%, but only at 25%, we are not in a situation that is very dangerous in terms of the budget. We have room to increase the debt to 30%—that is the limit we have set for ourselves. At the moment, we don’t need to react very quickly.
I am thinking more of a higher tax on capital and dividends. And a minimum tax rate of 15% for companies at the international level. Because many companies do not pay taxes, and this is a very interesting avenue, also at the European level.
It is up to the state to take its responsibilities and invest in affordable housing. Public actors must be more proactive and more reactive, as opposed to the owners: you cannot evict owners who live in very expensive houses, but you can invest in the creation of affordable housing that will no longer be subject to speculation.
All the environmental issues that we’ve set aside will be concerned: the five laws on waste; land use planning, which still needs to be refined; the housing pact, which will be implemented and refined at the municipal level. Also the files concerning culture: we will vote on the law on cultural heritage. And also the investments to be made to advance soft and sustainable mobility. We have already voted on the laws, but now it’s a question of implementing the projects.
This article was originally published in Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.