At 3pm on Monday afternoon, the coalition delegations for the DP, LSAP and the Greens met to sign their coalition agreement.
"Ambitious, fair and sustainable" is the title under which the 242-page and 36-chapter document (+appendix) was presented to the public on Monday. Representatives of all three parties and Xavier Bettel signed the agreement, but did not comment further. The 2013 coalition agreement was 40 pages shorter.
On Tuesday, the three party committees need to formally agree on the text, allowing the new government to be sworn in by the Grand Duke on Wednesday.
While many of the coalition's goals match up with their 2013 targets, the new government can now rely on healthy state finances, which means that austerity measures are no longer included in the 2018 agreement.
From a financial point of view, the coalition vows to adhere to European stability criteria and maintain the country's triple A rating. Infrastructure plays a big part in the new coalition agreement, and companies can continue to expect an attractive economic and fiscal environment in Luxembourg.
The coalition agreement states that the strength of a country has to be measured by how well it does in helping the weakest members of society to get back on their feet. The rights of minorities ought to be respected.
Another major point in the coalition agreement deals with allowing people to find a better balance between their private and professional life. Digitalisation will play a huge part in Luxembourg's development and the new government aims to make Luxembourg one of the forerunners in this domain.
The full coalition agreement for the years 2018 to 2023 can now be accessed online:
- The government needs to work hand-in-hand with the private sector to ensure that housing prices don't continue to rise.
- The government plans to revisit housing assistance and housing subsidies, support public housing and to move against building plot speculations.
- Communes will be assisted by a housing consultant.
- The government will work on a "housing pact 2.0".
- It will become easier for the government, municipalities and other public institutions to buy land.
- Municipalities will receive stronger financial incentives to promote public housing.
- There will be free public transport from 2020 and the mileage allowance will be revisited.
- The bicycle lane network will be expanded and bicycle lanes will be included in future projects.
- The railway network will be modernised.
- The tram will be expanded towards Findel, Cloche d'Or, Hollerich and the CHL hospital.
- The RGTR network will be expanded and lines will be harmonised.
- The speed camera system will be adapted. There will be more red lights and so-called section controls.
- Traffic ticket prices will be revisited. Fines will go down for people who weren't speeding by a lot, but they will be higher for people going way too fast.
- Small highway code infractions will be handled administratively.
- Geographical limitations for taxis will be removed.
Finances and taxes
- On the insistence of the LSAP, the minimum wage will be increased by €100 (net) from 1 January 2019. This includes the 1.1% increase that was already decided on.
- There will be a more individual taxation and neutral tax system to avoid people entering a new tax bracket when the family status changes or a person is widowed, for example. This will lighten the burden on individuals. There is no date for this yet, but there will be compensation measures and a transition period.
- Payments in kind will be made easier and the meal voucher system will be modernised.
- There will be research on the topic of whether super-reduced tax rates of 3% for renovations could be introduced for houses built 10 years ago, as opposed to the current limitation of 20 years ago.
- E-books and sanitary products such as tampons and sanitary towels will also have 3% tax rate.
- Company taxation: The "taux d'affichage global" will go down by one point to prevent abuses.
- Stock options will gradually disappear within the next 5 years. Instead, employees will have the option of receiving a share in their company's profits.
- Taxes on fuel and petrol will be revisited next year.
- The negative impact on fuel tourism will be decreased through a new monitoring system.
- Working from home: Cross-border commuters will be able to profit from a fairer tax system if they work from home.
- The finance sector will be developed towards blockchain and sustainable green finances.
- The University of Luxembourg will offer a master in pedagogy.
- The service voucher system will be revisited to make is simpler and more performant.
- There will be more "Lifelong Learning" courses on offer.
- International and European school offers will be expanded, especially in the centre of the country.
- An innovative secondary "pilot" school will be built in the south of the country to broaden the pedagogical offer in Luxembourg.
- Home schooling laws will be revisited and refined.
- Luxembourgish language and culture classes will be expanded at primary schools and introduced to international private schools.
- A national "e-learning" system will be introduced.
- Secondary schools will have a new section for information and communication students.
- New media laws will account for evolving media consumption habits, such as the increased importance of the internet and linguistic diversity in Luxembourg. Financial aids will be bound to strict quality criteria, which will re-evaluate professional journalists. The new transparency law will be re-evaluated after two years.
- Parliament will debate whether the governmental agreements with CLT-UFA should be revisited an a new public television station should be introduced. RTL programmes will undergo quality checks.
- The 100,7 radio station will be re-evaluated and possibly redefined.
- The audiovisual sector will be modernised by introducing new virtual reality formats for example.
- Film funding will be reviewed and selection criteria will be revisited.
- The audiovisual gaming and app industry will be promoted as a new and important sector of Luxembourg's economy. The Grand Duchy will become a centre for digital creation.
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