Claude Wiseler said Xavier Bettel’s State of the Nation address was one of the weakest he had heard in recent times.
Photo: Maison Moderne/Jan Harion
A State of the Nation address that was historically one of the shortest and failed to mention housing has left opposition politicians with plenty of ammunition.
Politicians from the opposition benches in the Chamber of Deputies were quick to react to the DP prime minister Xavier Bettel’s State of the Nation address on Tuesday afternoon.
CSV leader Claude Wiseler, who is hoping to succeed Bettel as prime minister after October’s elections, said that the speech failed to provide a clear vision or solutions to the challenges of the future. “I didn’t hear the prime minister address the day-to-day concerns of the people – housing, details about mobility, healthcare, or elderly care policy,” Wiseler told RTL. Accusing Bettel of painting a “blue sky” picture of the grand duchy and of taking praise for everything positive about the state of the country and blaming others for anything negative, Wiseler said the speech was one of the weakest he had heard in recent times.
Gast Gibéryen agreed that the speech painted a rose-tinted picture of Luxembourg. “He used 40 pages to give himself and the government a pat on the back. You won’t find anyone in the country who is dissatisfied, if you listen to the prime minister’s speech, because everything is alright and could not be better,” the ADR’s parliamentary faction leader said. He had been hoping the speech would address more of the problems that the country was facing.
That was also the message from Déi Lénk’s Marc Baum, who said that the only positive thing about the State of the Nation address was that, at around 45 minutes, it was one of the shortest in history. “The prime minister seemed to be following that advice that is you have nothing to say, at least keep it brief,” Baum said on RTL radio. He was disappointed that the problem of poverty and lack of housing were not addressed at all in the speech.
Unsurprisingly, parliamentarians from Bettel’s coalition partners were rather more positive in their assessment of the speech.
Henri Kox of Déi Gréng spoke about healthy public finances and what he called a “paradigm shift in mobility away from private traffic.” And the LSAP’s Alex Bodry also focused on public finances, which he said had proved the theories of the CSV and ADR wrong. But Bodry also pointed to challenges that lay ahead, particularly structural problems that have their origins decades ago.
Media commentators were also fairly unforgiving in their appraisal. RTL’s Roy Grotz said the speech lacked detail and was little more than the opening salvo in the election campaign. The address lacked the vision and ideas that the government had when it entered office in 2013 and was a missed opportunity for the coalition partners to present their project for the future, Grotz said.
MPs will debate the State of the Nation address on Wednesday and Thursday.