Prime minister Xavier Bettel delivered a positive summary of the state of the nation in his annual address to parliament on Tuesday afternoon.
In election year, Bettel’s state of the nation speech will be scrutinised more than usual. Even before the DP prime minister addressed the Chamber of Deputies at 2:30 p.m., the main opposition leader, CSV president Claude Wiseler, told RTL that he didn’t expect too much of the speech.
But Bettel delivered what can only be called a very positive assessment of his government’s policies over the last for years. He hailed the fact that Luxembourg has retained its triple A credit rating with all the major ratings agencies, saying that this was an “indispensable certification for our finance sector and the Luxembourg economy as a whole.”
Bettel addressed what he said were relatively healthy public finances, also noted that the state finances, with public debt ratio of 23%, is one of the lowest in the EU and lower than when the current coalition took office in 2013. Reserves were also in rude health.
The government is also investing significantly in infrastructure, Bettel said. And he pointed to further investment in social security, education and child care. Among the vital reforms that the prime minister listed were the change to the rules governing parental leave, which has led to an increase of 190% in the number of fathers taking the leave. He said that education reform will give students more choice, and cited figures showing that unemployment has fallen from 7.1% in January 2013 to 5.7% in January 2018.
Investment in public transport and “soft” mobility is also paying off, Bettel said. And he also emphasised that the government had made efforts to promote the Luxembourgish language.
Indeed, the progress over the last four years must be continued, because “we can’t afford to stand still,” the prime minister concluded.