Coalition negotiators including the LSAP’s Étienne Schneider and Déi Gréng’s Claude Turmes meet on Wednesday at the foreign ministry.
Photo credit: Jonas Mercier/Maison Moderne video screengrab
Negotiations between the DP, LSAP and Déi Gréng to form the next coalition government have made progress.
“Formateur” of the next government Xavier Bettel told reporters on Wednesday afternoon that he and his coalition partners would not succumb to pressure to rush through an agreement. But he was clear that he wanted to deliver a declaration on the make-up and policy plans of the new government before the Christmas holidays.
There seemed to be some difference of opinion between Bettel and François Bausch on making details of the government agreement public. In an interview with RTL, Bausch had said he “could imagine that we would organise press conferences at which we would reveal details of what we have already agreed”, as the coalition partners had done in 2013.
But Bettel contradicted the Déi Gréng politician. The prime minister was adamant that he would not “slice the salami”, and that the whole package would only be unveiled when it was complete. “Maybe I just have to explain that to the others,” he said. The remarks came as representatives from all three coalition parties met at the foreign ministry on Wednesday.
Schneider debunks Brussels interest
That government could well include the LSAP’s Étienne Schneider, who on Wednesday said he wanted to retain the role of deputy prime minister. He said he was not interested in vying for the role as Luxembourg’s next European Commissioner, and denied rumours that he would like to go to Brussels next year. Schneider said that he did not see any possible competition to him retaining the post of deputy prime minister from Déi Gréng. “Even Félix Braz will not be a challenger in this affair,” he said on Wednesday. The outgoing justice minister had been touted in some circles as the successor to Schneider as Bettel’s deputy, at the same time taking on a portfolio that would include immigration, cooperation and domestic security.
Schmit confirms commission ambition
But outgoing employment minister Nicolas Schmit has confirmed that if he does land the post of EU commissioner, he will not sit in cabinet. In an interview with RTL radio on Thursday morning, Schmit said that being engaged on a European level is something that is close to his heart. Schmit had been employment minister since 2009 and for five years before that served as delegate minister for foreign affairs and immigration under Jean Asselborn. “As employment minister I have always fought for a more socially just Europe,” he told RTL. He has also been president of the European socialist employment ministers’ group for seven years.
Whether he lands the commission post depends on the final coalition agreement, which will decide which party gets to choose Luxembourg’s next representative in Brussels. If, as is rumoured, the LSAP does get to choose, then Schmit would also have to win the approval of the party. Should that not happen, Schmit said he will take up his seat in the Chamber of Deputies.