Xavier Bettel

State of the nation speech: 10 takeaways

Prime minister Xavier Bettel during his state of the nation address on 12 October Photo: Romain Gamba / Maison Moderne

Prime minister Xavier Bettel during his state of the nation address on 12 October Photo: Romain Gamba / Maison Moderne

Prime minister Xavier Bettel (DP) on Tuesday afternoon opened the 2021-2022 parliament session with his state of the nation speech, announcing a slew of policy initiatives his government wants to implement over the coming months.

Here are 10 key takeaways from Bettel’s speech:

- Citizens’ climate council: Luxembourg will launch a climate council including 100 citizens to help debate policy measures to combat climate change and ensure greater participatory democracy.

- Decarbonising the economy: The government is developing a new support programme to help businesses with their green transition. It has also commissioned a study on how to decarbonise the industry by 2040.

- Sustainability research centre: A new interdisciplinary research centre at the University of Luxembourg will specialise on sustainable development.

- Combatting real estate speculation: The government will propose a draft law on property taxation within the next 12 months to combat real estate speculation. A national register of all homes in the country is in the works.

- Free maisons relais and school lunches: The maison relais daycare facilities will become free from 7am to 7pm with the start of the next school year. Children from low-income families will also receive free warm lunches at school.

- Right to part-time work: As part of a work-life balance plan, the government wants to introduce a right to work part-time for employees, allowing people to return to their job full-time within a certain amount of time.

- Decentralisation: As part of plans to develop Luxembourg’s four regions--centre, south, north, east--Bettel said jobs should be created near where people live, promising support for co-working spaces.

- Security in Luxembourg City: In light of discussions around security in the Gare and Bonnevoie districts in the grand duchy’s capital, Bettel said the cabinet would discuss a comprehensive strategy at one of its next meetings.

- National medicines agency: Luxembourg during the pandemic relied heavily on recommendations by the European Medicines Agency on the authorisation of vaccines. The government is looking at setting up a national agency.

- Pandemic performance review: The government has requested the OECD to carry out an independent review of the country’s pandemic response. The findings will help prepare response plans for potential future pandemics.

A more comprehensive overview of the speech is available here.