Luxembourg’s grand ducal family will receive €17.5m in taxpayer money in 2021 with the budget tidied up after an investigation found failings in financial management.
The so-called Waringo report published in February 2020 said too many palace costs were hidden away. In 2019, for example, the family received €11.1m from the state, but around another €4m were spread across other government budget lines.
This included €144,545 paid by the prime minister’s office on Grand Duke Henri’s official engagements or €685,849 paid by the public works administration on building managers and gardeners for the family’s palaces.
While the family will be receiving more money compared to previous years--€10.6m in 2020--this was largely due to the cost reshuffle, prime minister Xavier Bettel told lawmakers this week.
The PM had commissioned the report into the workings of the palace after persistent rumours of staff mismanagement.
Former senior civil servant Jeannot Waringo studied the household up close for six months. His report concluded that reform of the monarchy was direly needed. "There is, in my opinion, no other solution,” Waringo said in the document.
Staff will be the biggest palace expense in 2021 at €13m. The royal household is in the process of recruiting 14 new members of staff--with a joint price tag of €1.5m--including senior administrative position like a head of communications and head of human resources.
Bettel wants a tighter grip on palace communications and the Waringo report cited a climate of fear and anxiety among staff. Fifty employees left service between 2014 and 2019 out of a total of around 110.
Public vs private
The grand duke will receive €480,000 to pay for representative duties in 2021 although this sum could be reduced depending on how the virus pandemic develops in the coming year, Bettel said. Crown prince Guillaume is set to receive €200,000 for official duties.
Money will also be spent on upgrading security at the family’s residences, Bettel said, and to buy new IT material such as project management software. The budget also includes a revamp of the monarchie.lu website where Bettel wants to regroup all of the family’s official activities.
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa currently maintains a separate platform for her work. But the royal’s role will be clipped as part of a constitutional reform, assigning her no official role in the management of the palace.
Only in October the government established the so-called Maison du Grand-Duc, a new administrative unit to manage official functions and the public budget. It aims at better separating the family’s public and private lives.
The founder of advisory company Atoz, Norbert Becker, was in June appointed to manage the Grand Duke’s estate, a role also tasked with untangling public and private assets.