Former Prime Minister of Luxembourg and Ex-President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker was a guest on RTL Radio on Saturday afternoon.

Engel controversy: Jean-Claude Juncker was never asked for advice

When asked about the dispute between Frank Engel and the parliamentary group of the Christian Social People's Party (CSV), Juncker stated that his party had acted like "an adult with adolescent reflexes".

The denunciation of the CSV's ex-president to the public prosecutor's office because of an employment contract with the CSV association "Frëndeskrees" had made him "angry", the former Prime Minister explained.

Juncker stressed that both the party and the country are "more important than these silly antics", adding that this dispute was "unnecessary".

Juncker also revealed that he was never asked for advice in this affair but stated that Engel had "not done everything right" and that he was "blocking his own path".

No political comeback

As far as the CSV's renewal efforts are concerned, Juncker stressed that if he would always be available, if he was asked to help.

More than anything else, the new team led by Claude Wiseler needs "heart and reason" to shape their policies.

However, the CSV's former top politician made it very clear that people should not expect him as his party's frontrunner for the 2023 campaign, unequivocally ruling out a "political comeback".

For Juncker, the CSV is still very much a people's party, a term which is not just a nostalgic relic of the past, but "a reality", he explained. A reality, which should be based on Christian social teaching, according to Juncker.

"You cannot win elections while sitting in a rocking chair", and thus Juncker expects that the CSV's leading political figures such as Claude Wiseler, Martine Hansen, and Paul Galles will have a lot of work to do ahead of the next national elections in 2023.

Juncker is, however, not convinced that having multiple frontrunners is necessarily a good idea, stating that the party's members must be able to "identify with their top politicians".

Housing crisis remains one of the country's main issues

While Juncker praised the government's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, he deplored that the housing crisis was still far from being solved.

The former Prime Minister demanded more accountability from property owners and encouraged the state to give itself the "fiscal instruments" to increase the number of housing units on offer.

When asked about Deputy Prime Minister Dan Kersch's proposed "coronavirus tax" for those who benefitted from the pandemic financially, Juncker stated that he likes the idea, stressing that it is certainly not "absurd".

The CSV politician also did not rule out that Luxembourg may introduce an inheritance tax in direct line sometime over the next 10 years. The same goes for CO2 emissions, which in the eyes of Luxembourg's former head of government should also be taxed.

Overall, Juncker gives the current coalition of Democratic Party (DP), Green Party, and Luxembourg Socialist Workers Party (LSAP) a "good grade" for their coronavirus measures and handling of the pandemic.

Referring to the opposition demanding the resignation of Minister for Family Affairs Corinne Cahen, Juncker explained that as a minister, you have to acknowledge such demands and then try and explain your actions to the Chamber of Deputies.

In any case, the government had made it clear from the beginning that they would use their majority to reject the motion.

Juncker criticised that this was something that bothered him in general, the fact that the government refuses to accept any motions introduced by the opposition and overly relies on its slim majority to pass its Covid-19 laws.

He pointed out that during his time as Prime Minister, he accepted "many" of the opposition's motions, stressing that it must be possible to come to mutual agreements.

When asked about the cases of "vaccine queue-jumping" at the beginning of the year, Juncker stated that he had no understanding for such behaviour and was "surprised and disappointed" when he heard who did it.