David Wagner, deeply candid, tells us about his political ideals, the financial hold on Luxembourg's economy, ex-pats versus immigrants and nation branding.
If you'd like to watch our full interview click here:
David Wagner is "interested in almost everything". From history to journalism to science fiction, through "the past, the present and the future", he sees politics as one way to effect change.
Déi Lénk was founded in 1999. Wagner was there. It's a coalition on the left of the Social Democrats and The Greens.
"It’s not a definite party with a clear party line because it unites lots of people from the left, with lots of different philosophies."
They are the smallest party in parliament at the moment, "and this is normal".
Ultimately, Wagner would like a society not ruled by capitalism, although he thinks it unlikely for now, but observes waves of change through the western world.
"We are in a crisis and the whole world is changing. You will either have authoritarian or more left solutions."
If they were ever in a coalition, Déi Lénk couldn't "govern with parties who don’t want to break with the neo-liberal logic in the economy."
"Etienne Schneider is not really left"
"Traditionally, you have two parties who are centre-left, who are not really centre-left anymore… The Greens and Socialist party, but their leader Etienne Schneider is not really left. He is like Tony Blair or Emmanuel Macron. He even talks about Macron, who in our opinion is a right-wing politician”.
"It's a golden prison...they even write laws and give it to the Minister of Finance"
As for the big problems, housing is number one. Wagner and his party don't believe in the free market, especially for housing.
Then there's the financial centre. Wagner has witnessed some, quite extraordinary 'lobbying' on certain politicians.
"We know that it will disappear and we need to prepare. Our economy relies on it and it’s a golden prison because it has a lot of political power. I see it as a member of parliament. I can tell that they [the financial houses] even write laws and they give it to the Minister of Finance and he gives it to the parliament.”.
Ex-pats or Immigrants
David Wagner questions, rightly, why some people are categorised as ex-pats and others as immigrants.
“The immigrants are the poor ones, and the ex-pats are the rich ones, or the white ones?”
Wagner goes on to say how many ex-pats are perceived to live in their own world due to being automatically tied to their world of work, with children in the European or International Schools, "but it's not their fault".
However, he reflects that many children end up staying here, "and they live their whole lives, but a little bit separate".
"It’s not a catastrophe but it’s also how most people see them I think."
Luxembourg has a bad reputation and we earn it – tax evasion on a large scale. It’s dangerous. As a small country we don’t’ have lots of power. If you have a bad reputation it serves some interests.
The election interviews
The video interviews are left in long-form, rather than short sound-bites, to get a better sense of the person, their sincerity to lead their parties and possibly Luxembourg.
The focus is on getting to know the person behind the politics. These are not hard-core political interviews (yet).
Many of the political websites here are not in English. For fairness, we have asked similar questions of all leaders. The interviews are being published in the same order as the parties appear on the voting lists.
For more information on how the election process works in Luxembourg go to Knowledge Bites Election.