Xavier Bettel (Prime Minister of Luxembourg): belief and transparency
Xavier Bettel describes the five priorities of his mandate and discusses international challenges such as Brexit and compliance with the Paris Agreement. Interview.
What are your priorities for your second term?
This second term will be marked by an intensive commitment to our country’s future. Our legislative agenda is ambitious and focuses on the right priorities to respond to current and future challenges. I wanted my agenda to be clear, transparent and precise so that we can build an ambitious and fair future for Luxembourg, at the forefront of ecological challenges. The promotion of our common values, a spirit of innovation, an inclusive approach and a resolutely European sentiment are the principles which will guide my government's actions. It is in this spirit that I believe that the following five key priorities should be considered together: ensuring that mobility issues are no longer an everyday problem for residents, tackling the problem of housing, especially for Luxembourg’s youngest citizens, ensuring that the gap between rich and poor does not widen, maintaining social cohesion and, lastly, continuing to enhance the country's reputation in Europe and around the world.
“Our legislative agenda is ambitious and focuses on the right priorities to respond to current and future challenges.”
How do you manage the risks associated with international uncertainty?
It is clear that the pressure to which our country will be subjected at an international level will not decrease in the near future. In the coming months, the European Union will lose one of its members and one thing is clear and obvious: in the long term, Brexit will not have any positive effects, neither for the EU nor for our country. We therefore regret the United Kingdom’s departure but we must be as prepared as we possibly can be – and that’s exactly what we have done in recent years. However, most of the preparatory work will be carried out in close cooperation with all our partners in the European Union. We must all be aware that our situation is not self-evident, that being part of a generation which has not experienced war on its own soil is, in itself, a sufficient reason to defend the European ideal. I am convinced that the best response to international uncertainty is this peaceful union.
What ambitions do you want to work towards with your European partners?
I feel that climate change is one of the great challenges, if not thegreatest challenge, facing humanity in the 21stcentury. The consequences of global warming are being felt everywhere and they are dramatic. Luxembourg was, is and will continue to be a supporter of a courageous policy to fight climate change. However, it is a fact that some countries – or rather the governments of these countries – do not currently share this view. We will therefore have to try to find solutions and to convince more sceptical governments. This is not an easy exercise but we must not let ourselves be discouraged. Major nations and actors, such as China, India, Russia and Canada, along with all European countries, continue to strongly support the objectives of the Paris Agreement – so we are in good company.