Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel on Saturday addressed journalists to highlight the work of his government and speak about important topics in Luxembourg.
During a press conference which was broadcast on RTL for 50 minutes – replacing the daily news bulletin – Bettel spoke about housing, minimum wage and Google.
He did not wish to comment on the Politmonitor’s recent poll, which left his party out of a “most expected” potential coalition. “I have never commented on this type of poll so far and I will not start today,” he said.
Bettel praised the merits and the work of his government in all areas. He mentioned the work of Education Minister, Claude Meisch, who scored only 29% in the recent Politmonitor survey’s favourite politician poll.
But Bettel insisted that “we have not had such a Minister of Education for a long time.” Meisch has tackled large projects and implemented urgent reforms to adapt the education system in line with the development of society in Luxembourg.
With regards to minimum wage Bettel did not fully support Employment Minister Nicolas Schmit who said a few weeks ago he was in favour of a 10% increase, as requested by the OGBL union.
“An increase is not foreseen in the coalition agreement,” the prime minister confirmed. He is not closing doors on any discussions but wishes first of all to examine the effects of such an increase.
And the fact that members of the government are not always in line with each other – as was the case with Etienne Schneider – does not worry the prime minister.
He said it was “normal that the three parties in power enter the electoral campaign with different ideas. But this does not affect government cooperation.
“We will implement the coalition agreement until the last day and I will govern until the last day,” he added.
Bettel defended the government’s decision to support Google’s move to Bissen, despite the controversial aspect of the project from a sustainable ecology point of view.
“This implementation will create jobs and it is also important in terms of digitisation. Luxembourg is attractive for international companies wishing to settle in Europe,” he explained.
He claims Google will attract more companies to the Grand-Duchy.
In terms of tackling housing shortages and high real estate prices the government admitted it has not been able to find solutions.
“It will not happen overnight,” Bettel said and blamed lengthy procedures. “It’s a utopia to believe that the housing problem can be solved by next year”.
However, the government has managed to facilitate many new housing projects – including the agreement with ArcelorMittal – and has push forward the construction of rental housing.
“By adjusting the conditions, we have ensured that more low-income families are eligible for housing subsidies,” Bettel added.