Carole Hartmann has been in parliament since 2018 but continues to practice law
Photo: Matic Zorman/Maison Moderne
As part of our Summer like no other series, Delano and sister publication Paperjam are publishing portraits of “young leaders” who might well shape the future of the grand duchy. We begin with Carole Hartmann, a lawyer, an opposition councillor in Echternach and a member of the DP faction in parliament. since December 2018.
A member of parliament for more than a year, Carole Hartmann (DP) has taken up her new role with pragmatism. “Even without experience, I thought that I could bring something, get involved in the dossiers and make them evolve,” says the 33-year-old.
Despite being sworn in at the Chamber of Deputies following the October 2018 elections, Hartmann has continued to serve as a municipal councillor in Echternach and has also retained her position as a lawyer at Pol Urbany & Trixi Lanners.
Yet nothing predestined her to hold these three positions: her primary ambition was a career as a senior police officer. That led to her studying criminal law at the universities of Nancy and Aix-en-Provence and even taking internships in the police service. But ultimately it was her experience at the firm where she currently practises at the end of her studies that persuaded her to pursue a career as a lawyer and to work on cases mainly related to private litigation and administrative law.
It was then future prime minister, Xavier Bettel, who first suggested that she stand for the DP in the 2013 parliamentary elections. She was chosen to replace her own father, André Hartmann, who had been a DP candidate on several occasions, although had never managed to be elected to national parliament. At that time he was also a municipal councillor in Echternach, a post he held for 25 years.
“I reflected for a long time,” says Hartmann now. “I was 26 years old, I was just starting to work, but I was also getting involved in the party. So, I said yes.” Her personal results were good, but not enough: Gilles Baum claimed the seat for the DP by 39 votes. Undeterred, Hartmann remained invested in the DP and ended up on the party’s steering committee and became president of the DP’s East constituency. She stood for election again, alongside her father in the municipal elections of 2017. Both were elected to the council in Echternach, but under the rules only one family member was allowed to take a seat, and it was her father who had polled more votes. But in March 2018, André ceded his seat to his daughter.
“I have always been in line with my father and the DP. I can’t say exactly why, but that’s how it was.” That paternal loyalty even extended to sport. Her father is president of the Luxembourg table tennis federation, and Carole was good enough at the sport to get into the national team.
Not a feminist
As well as her father, Carole Hartmann had other sources of inspiration, including women from her own party. She cites fellow DP politicians Corinne Cahen (family minister), Lydie Polfer (Luxembourg City mayor and former foreign minister), and Anne Brasseur (former Luxembourg City councillor and education minister) and Colette Flesch (former city mayor and European commissioner). “I don’t feel like a feminist,” she says. “It is unacceptable that there is inequality, but it is also not necessary to impose quotas. Other means exist. If there are differences in wages, I encourage you to take legal action,” the lawyer advises.
In the 2018 parliamentary elections, Carole Hartmann placed third on the DP list, behind Gilles Baum and Lex Delles. So even though the DP won just two seats in the East, she entered parliament when Delles was appointed to government as minister of middle and small enterprises and tourism.
After a year in the Chamber of Deputies, the young member feels that she has found her bearings. “At first, we felt a bit lost. We were getting information from here and there. We thought we needed to know everything. But within the faction, we just need to focus on key topics,” Hartmann explains.
The legal field is of course one of these key issue, “especially since there are few lawyers in the DP,” she explains. At present that means the reform of civil procedure, which is too cumbersome and too lengthy in her view, and therefore requires simplification and more transparency for litigants. She is also involved in the reform of legislation covering protection of youngsters.
But Hartmann has also taken on themes that are new for her, such as employment law--she cites issues such as working conditions, flexible working hours, new working methods, parental leave or even part-time work--and health, including sports-related issues.
If, every evening, Hartmann returns to her home in Echternach, where she still takes time to work on her duties as a municipal councillor. “I have a lot of fun with my mandates, especially at the local level,” she says. “In the opposition, you can criticize. But until you’re in the majority, you can’t know what’s really feasible. I’d like to have more responsibility at that level.”
Hartmann says she divides her workload as member of parliament and as a lawyer equally. From Tuesday to Thursday, committee days in the chamber, she serves as a member of parliament. And she spends her Mondays and Fridays, at the law firm. “Being a professional lawyer means a varied workload. Some periods are sometimes tense,” she says with a smile. “But I manage to maintain a private life.”