Minister of Defence François Bausch was a guest on RTL Radio on Saturday afternoon.
During the interview, the politician from the Green Party (Déi Gréng), who also serves as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Mobility, announced a new mobility strategy which includes plans for new infrastructure projects up to 2035.
Bausch also discussed tax reform, expressing his support for an increased tax rate on capital gains, as well as the increased use of fear mongering in political discourse. According to the Deputy Prime Minister, neither the debate on economic growth nor the one on the coronavirus pandemic benefitted from people abusing their fellow citizen's fears and anxiety.
While he stressed that he could understand the concerns regarding the growth of the Grand Duchy's population, he stated that the point was to intelligently plan the country's housing, labour, and mobility needs. The government was in the midst of preparing new legislative instruments for housing policy as well as a new strategy for regional planning. The latter is expected to be revealed towards the end of 2021.
On the subject of the coronavirus pandemic, Bausch stressed that it was not helpful to scare people with numbers. Instead, the focus should be on clearly communicating the fact that the coronavirus was dangerous and that regulations needed to be respected for that reason. The minister stated that the Green Party fully supported the new coronavirus measures. Bausch also made it clear that the government was working well together, but insisted that it should be allowed to make mistakes and correct them. The main goal was to find a sort of equilibrium.
When asked whether his party could accept that shopping was still allowed and even propagated through events like "Black Friday", Bausch replied that the Green Party was not a party that wanted to lecture the public all the time – contrary to what it is commonly accused of. However, Bausch admitted that he personally was not a fan of "Black Friday" or similar celebrations of consumerism. He suggested that people should ask themselves if this kind of consumerism was really making them happier.
The funding of the state and most salaries is dependent on permanent economic growth, but at the same time, the Grand Duchy has the biggest ecological footprint on the planet. Bausch admitted that the Luxembourgish model was evidently not sustainable, which was why the country should be focusing on sectors which generate high turnover while being less labour-intensive at the same time, such as the ICT industry.
In regard to state funding and pension funding in particular, Bausch said that the government needed to look into new means of taxation. According to the minister, there was no way around distributive justice, with taxes on capital gains being high on the agenda. Bausch cited the USA as an example, with inequality being one of the country's major issues. In the 1950s and 1960s, maximum tax rates had been much higher compared to today, the minister added.