This morning, we shared the highlights of the coalition agreement in the areas of housing, mobility, finances and taxes, education and media.
In this part of our breakdown on the lengthy coalition agreement (242 pages and 36 chapters, excluding the appendix), RTL Today will focus on the topics of institutions, sustainable development, renewable energy, health, regional development, and the economy.
For part one of RTL Today's breakdown, click the following link.
All that remains before Grand Duke Henri can officially swear in the new government on Wednesday is for party committees to approve the text, which is expected to happen on Tuesday evening.
If you would like some heavy reading (in French), the entire coalition agreement can be found below.
- The parties already confirmed this at previous press conferences, but the second legislature of the Gambia coalition will feature another referendum. This referendum will concern changes to the constitution which have been in the works for 13 years.
- The parties have acknowledged that the government made mistakes in the 2015 referendum and consequently will prepare the constitutional referendum in a better manner. Luxembourg's parliament (Chambre des députés) will take up the responsibility of informing the public as well as political actors and institutions. Before the referendum takes place, there will be a wide debate on the various points as well as an information campaign. The whole process will begin straight after the European elections.
- As per improving the referendum process, the government will again address the topic of a democratic deficit. Whilst there are no plans to discuss allowing non-citizens to vote in elections, the government will examine ways in which to improve the participation of non-citizens in municipal elections.
- Once the new constitution has entered into effect, the government will move to focus on non-cumulative mandates as well as legal definitions of mayors and municipal councillors.
- The government will also take advantage of this discussion to improve electoral legislation.
- In the spirit of increasing transparency, the government will introduce a register of interest groups who participate in the legislative process. As well as this, parties and political groups involved in the Luxembourg's parliament (Chambre des députés) will receive budgetary and personnel raises.
- As for how members of the state council are selected, the government will critically re-examine the issue and raise the number of members of the state council.
- The National Ethics Commission (CNE) will receive a further task, which will concern dealing with any queries related to religion or secularism.
- The agreement includes thirty pages on the topic of sustainable development. The national "Agenda 2030" plan will continue throughout this legislative period.
- In order to keep to goals concerning greenhouse gas reductions, fuel prices will rise from 2019.
- There will be more tax breaks to promote the use of electric mobility.
- The government will introduce specific measures to guarantee a high level of air quality as well as incentives for a circular economy (such as a VAT reduction if objectives can be set) and an improved waste management system.
- The government will ban free plastic bags as of 1 January 2019.
- The influence of the Greens is notable in the aim to redefine climate change legislation including goals for specific sectors, such as the protection of nature, forest management, and water and wild animal protection.
- The country will endeavour to better prepare itself for the impact of climate change.
- The government aims to get to using 100% renewable energy sources by 2050 with the help of various start-ups.
- The government will examine the suggestion of introducing offshore wind farms for Benelux states.
- The agreement also foresees making it possible for everyone to become a producer and user of solar power.
- As already made public, contraception will be entirely reimbursed without a required age limit if prescribed by a doctor. Feminine hygiene products will also no longer be taxed at 17%, but at 3% like other so-called "essential products".
- Digital patient files and the online eSanté platform, which will allow doctors to provide online prescriptions, will be made a reality as soon as possible.
- The coalition partners also support developing an "end of life" plan, which will ensure that patient choices concerning organ donations, euthanasia and assisted dying will be respected. The government will also introduce such a structure for sick children.
- The national health laboratory (LNS) will become a centre of excellence, which will accredit the anatomopathology department (which examines biopsies), in turn allowing them to work faster and to international standards.
- The government will also work on a framework law for professions in the health sector in order to address new medicinal needs. This will include new specialisations for nurses, in areas such as geriatrics, oncology, and emergency services.
- Continuous training will become obligatory for all doctors and potentially financed by the state.
- As for dealing with substance abuse, the state will introduce new safe injection facilities in Ettelbruck as well as Esch-sur-Alzette.
- The big topic ahead of the official announcement has been the decriminalisation and legalisation of cannabis. The government still needs to work on the conditions required for this, but the aim is for the state to be in charge of the production and supply process.
- In terms of regional planning, the four sectoral plans including housing, transport, economic activity zones, and the countryside will be examined by municipalities and then put into effect.
- The government will set up a new PDAT (Programme directeur d’aménagement du territoire—a directorial land planning programme) on the basis of recommendations from different citizen consultations.
- The state will incentivise municipalities to continue work on environmentally-friendly urban planning, such as building ecological new-builds or restoring older buildings in environmentally friendly ways. This also includes setting up new 'green zones' in towns and cities.
- Territorial development will be coordinated with neighbouring regions.
- The government will create new economic activity zones near borders, such as in areas like Belval or near the A1, A6, or A3 motorways.
- The government will set up an inter-ministerial taskforce concerning where and how new commercial development should take place. This will work in parallel with the creation of new measures to support local and small businesses.
One of the coalition agreement's longer chapters focuses on the economy and competition, factors determining which economic sectors Luxembourg should continue to develop: these include space-mining, economic technologies, logistics, the automobile industry, and health. A particularly interesting point is that every citizen should receive a digital identification number in the National Register and identification of natural persons. Individuals will be able to use this ID with all digital transactions.
- The government wants to reform shop opening hours and will consider the work conditions of people working in this sector in the social dialogue.
- The future of the Luxexpo's exhibition hall was also mentioned in the agreement. The rent will not be extended beyond 2028 and the government will plan for a new conference centre close to the road network but also accessible by train, tram, and bus.
- A further non-negotiable point of the LSAP was fixed in this chapter, notably that the current indexation system will be maintained.
- In order to speed up the process of companies requesting authorisations, the government will work on a steering body for entrepreneurs.
- An automobile campus will be built in Colmar-Berg.
- Extending Luxembourg's global links, there will be new offices of the Luxembourg Trade Office that will open in parts of Africa and South America.
- The agreement explicitly named the Post Group, specifying a guarantee of the group's management autonomy. The universal postal service will continue for a further seven years after 2020.
- The government will also finalise the reform on bankruptcy legislation and make it easier for those holding a refugee status to found companies if they so desire.