The new general secretary of the Christian Social People's Party (CSV) was a guest on RTL Radio on Saturday afternoon.
Christophe Hansen, who currently serves as a Member of the European Parliament for the CSV, stated that the party is experiencing a "new dynamic" and that he personally is "highly motivated to work out new policies".
The newly elected general secretary hinted that he will be one of the CSV's candidates for the 2023 national election, stating that it has always been one of his goals to hold a national mandate. Hansen explained that he already had the opportunity to gather experience on a local and European level and is now preparing to take the next step. However, for the time being, Hansen's main focus is still on finishing his "major projects" in the European Parliament.
Hansen stated that he hopes that a number of the party's junior politicians will get a chance to serve in the Chamber of Deputies before the next election and thus benefit from increased visibility. He announced that he will actively seek out some of the CSV's more experienced MPs to discuss this topic with them.
"No action needed" regarding finance management
The CSV wants to move past the "Frank Engel" chapter once and for all, according to Hansen, who added that the "positive drive" the party is currently experiencing must be harnessed now.
Nevertheless, Hansen did confirm during his interview that the public prosecutor's office had indeed ordered a second search of the CSV's headquarters in the context of the non-profit association "CSV Frëndeskrees". Hansen declared that the CSV "has done its part" and that it is now up to the judicial authorities to do their jobs.
The CSV's new general secretary stated that there is "no action needed" regarding the party's finance management and sees no need to make it more professional or introduce written procedures – an external audit had revealed that the CSV has in fact no written procedures regarding its finances. Hansen explained that the party had simply never needed them and put nearly all of the blame for the recent problems on the party's former president Frank Engel. The MEP went on to say that the CSV now has a new treasurer in the person of Kopstal mayor Thierry Schuman, who is also a member of BGL BNP Paribas' administrative board. Schuman would take a "closer look" at the party's finances and the CSV now had the right executive members to ensure that everything will be in order in the future, Hansen stated.
Creating solutions supported by 80-90% of the public
One of the first major challenges for the CSV's new executive team will be to enter a structured dialogue.
The party's basic organisations as well as non-Luxembourg nationals are to be involved. Hansen calls this strategy "back to the roots" and argues that it is not an announcement out of fear of losing members. The MEP pointed out that the CSV had always managed to create "uniform" policies in the past.
Hansen stated that despite the turbulent weeks and months of the past, the CSV still has over 10,000 members. While the number is changing daily, Hansen thinks that it will increase in the long term. He also stated that he has no knowledge of any members that would be willing to join Engel's new party.
The CSV also wants to incorporate more external opinions, both from the general public and from experts. The goal is to create solutions that would be supported by 80-90% of the public instead of "favouring one side or the other". Hansen cited the climate crisis as an example, stating that it is not enough to "throw around targets" but that it must be assessed how these targets can be met realistically. Hansen questioned, for instance, whether it is a good idea to exclusively bank on electric mobility, but also added that sustainability must be socially acceptable.
No definitive CSV position regarding taxes
Hansen brushed aside former CSV president Engel's ideas regarding an inheritance or wealth tax as "summer slump topics".
The MEP argued that the revenues generated by a theoretical inheritance tax would be miniscule and that such a measure would clearly restrict intergenerational solidarity within families. Hansen stressed that the debate around taxation should be broadened and that it should be assessed which measures would really benefit the treasury and which are merely "ideological".
Hansen explained that an internal task force is still working on a definitive CSV position on tax issues. The result will be presented at the earliest during the party's congress in autumn.
Uncoordinated coronavirus restrictions make travel nearly impossible
Last year, many people celebrated Europe Day (9 May) behind closed borders, including in Luxembourg. Hansen expressed his disappointment over the European Commission's reaction to the unilateral decisions by a number of member states. The MEP thinks that harsher sanctions would have been necessary in this regard. Travel would become impossible, if a member state takes decisions without discussing them with its neighbouring countries.
Regarding the European Vaccination Certificate, Hansen stated that it is now the responsibility of those vaccine producers, whose products are not yet authorised by the European Medicines Agency (Ema) but have still been administered to European citizens, to complete their pending procedures with the Ema.
The member states themselves mainly need to take the necessary preparations to process the green passports and set up the required technical infrastructure.
When asked about the idea to temporarily suspend the patent rights to the Covid-19 vaccines, Hansen stated that in his eyes, the idea falls short. The MEP suggested that the USA should then also think about lifting their export ban on vaccines.