Martine Huberty, journalist at Delano, takes stock of 2017 and looks ahead.
Photo: Maison Moderne
Delano's Martine Huberty looks back at 2017
That was the year that was… 2017: Delano journalist Martine Huberty reflects on the political developments in Luxembourg over the past year.
Years of experience as a journalist in Luxembourg:
I will remember 2017 as the year that Luxembourg…
Was fighting against the nationalist, Eurosceptic and protectionist impulses, both internationally and internally--and not always successfully. Next year may be a turning point with the parliamentary elections. The global trend towards protectionism and anti-immigration may just reach Luxembourg as well.
Luxembourg’s economy does well, which is mostly due to the help of cross-border commuters and a rapidly growing population. Meanwhile, identity politics is also becoming more important--and in multilingual Luxembourg, that is translated into a fear that Luxembourgish will not be the main vehicle of oral communication anymore. Added to that is the strain that the growing population puts on the country’s infrastructure: residents increasingly feel that rocketing house prices and constant traffic jams impact negatively on the quality of life--which is nevertheless one of the highest in the EU, and has some of the most generous social benefits, mostly financed by those cross-border commuters and new arrivals.
These internal contradictions, if not treated carefully in discourse and action by politicians, may be made much more explicit in an election year. It is the task of the established political parties to avoid falling into the same trap that many others fell into across Europe over the past years. They must it make clear to voters what the options are and suggest solutions that are forward-thinking. Let’s hope it doesn’t get nasty.
The Delano story I worked on that gave me most satisfaction…
Was explaining the electoral system in Luxembourg: the two ways of voting (by party list or panachage), the obligation to vote, and the general overview of how seats are allocated to parties.
The best plate of food I had at a Luxembourg restaurant…
Was the Iberian pork cutlet at Mirabelle on my birthday.
In 2018, I am most looking forward to...
Brexit! I am excited and nervous to see how the negotiations progress (or not), what will emerge in terms of a trade deal, and what the political ramifications will be, both in the UK and the EU. I hope that both sides realise that nothing has been written in stone, yet.
Finally, we get to turn the tables. My advice to Auntie Eleanor…
Is to keep having her daily glass of port, and to stay as witty and pithy as we know and love her.