RTL Today – Deputy Prime Minister: “Nothing should be excluded” during the tripartite negotiations

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On Saturday afternoon, Deputy Prime Minister François Bausch told RTL Radio that he recognized that many households and businesses are facing significant difficulties.

Speaking to our colleagues at RTL Radio on Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister François Bausch of the Green Party (dei greng) said that “first we have to get through this winter, but then we also have to see what happens next”.

Due to the uncertain future, Bausch believes that the state should be careful not to exhaust all of its current financial resources. According to the Deputy Prime Minister, the current situation is “as bad as the crisis of the 1980s”.

Read more: Tripartites – the Luxembourg social model

Bausch said the government is aware that many households and businesses, “particularly the middle classes”, are facing significant difficulties.

Accordingly, Bausch argues that the state should prioritize targeted financial assistance to protect the most vulnerable.

Measures should be introduced “in the short term”, before individuals and businesses are unable to pay their energy bills.

‘Rating should be off the table’

However, Bausch also believes that the state “cannot do what it wants” because businesses in the country “have to stay competitive”.

According to the Deputy Prime Minister, times of crisis are not a good time to talk about taxation. However, Bausch concedes that after the crisis it should be possible to talk about possible reciprocal financing.

While the Green Party politician stressed his support for the wage indexation scheme, he argued that if three or five indexations were triggered, “we should stick together for the national good”.

Read also: Before the tripartite: Bettel meets unions and employers

Bausch declined to comment on what topics and proposals the government will focus on during the tripartite talks, which begin on Sunday, but simply reiterated that “nothing should be ruled out”.

The main objective of the tripartite should be to “slow down inflation”. Bausch also clarified that once the crisis is over, he is open to a general discussion on the indexation system. “I definitely don’t need a 2.5% raise in my salary,” admitted Bausch.

The tripartite must meet “as often as necessary”

The Deputy Prime Minister expects the upcoming election campaign to focus on social justice issues, including taxes.

However, for now, the country must focus on “putting out the fire that is raging at the moment,” Bausch stressed.

In a “terribly unpredictable situation”, the tripartite must meet “as often as necessary”, said the Greens politician, “even close to the election, if necessary”. The primary objective is “to get out of the crisis, whether or not there are elections”.

If the tripartite does not reach an agreement, the government will have to assume its responsibilities and undertakes to do so, Bausch said. As the government approaches negotiations as a united front, Bausch thinks it’s normal for different people to have different ideas.

The minister declined to comment on how the state might interfere with energy prices. Other countries have already introduced price caps.

“We will certainly not save the climate in the coming months”

The fact that the Green Party didn’t like the fuel discount had nothing to do with the climate, Bausch said.

The main problem for his party was that the measure “was in no way socially targeted”. If it were up to him, Bausch explained, he would have preferred to give more to someone “who lives high up in northern Luxembourg and needs a car than to someone who drives a big Porsche”. .

The Deputy Prime Minister conceded that the climate would certainly not be spared in the coming months. “We Green Party politicians aren’t that stupid,” Bausch said.

According to the Minister of Mobility, there are no “magic solutions” in the mobility sector. Infrastructure must be prioritized so that more people can benefit from other means of getting around, such as cycling, according to Bausch.

If the current crisis has taught us anything, it’s that “some things that have been delayed for a long time are now moving faster”. Working from home, according to the minister, is also part of the solution.

In terms of lighting and energy saving, the Deputy Prime Minister pointed out that, except at interchanges, there are never any lights on.

Meanwhile, the ministry is still discussing the lighting of national roads. However, Bausch acknowledged that there were also safety considerations at play when it came to national roads.

Deputy PM ‘not opposed’ to discussing working time reduction

Bausch called for a “total overhaul” of mobility policy, stressing the need for “massive investment” in trains, buses and trams to reduce car journeys.

“We have sinned, and therefore we must now act,” the minister said, adding that lowering the speed limit “is also on the table.” Asked about criticism leveled at the citizens’ council’s climate suggestions, Bausch vowed not to make “any more statements in the future that can be taken out of context”.

The minister also said he was not opposed to discussing working time reductions but argued that this should be decided “within each sector and company”.

The Deputy Prime Minister considers land use, the protection of biodiversity and climate change as “primary issues of the future”. The difficulty, according to Bausch, is to develop “sense strategies for the country’s underutilized land.”

Regarding the backtracking of the Minister of the Environment Joëlle Welfring, after the judgment of the Administrative Court, Bausch confirmed that the law on nature protection will be amended.

Speaking about his political future, the Green Party politician said he has yet to decide whether he will face voters. Be that as it may, François Bausch will no longer be available as a minister in a new government – but does not rule out taking on the role of deputy.

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