Your Weekly Recap for 12 - 16 December.
- Western allies committed €1 bllion for Ukraine.
- The 2023 State Budget
- Lydie Polfer will seek re-election in the City
- Qatargate at the European Parliament
- ECB raised interest rates, again
1. Xavier Bettel reaffirmed Luxembourg's support for Ukraine and a further €4 million in aid
An international conference in support of Ukrainian resilience was held in Paris on 13 December.
Bettel called on Russia to stop attacks on civilian infrastructure and pledged a further €4 million in humanitarian aid.
1 billion euro of additional funding was pledged (collectively) to support Ukraine through the winter by Ukraine's Western allies.
800 million euro for energy: Zelensky said Ukraine needed assistance worth around 800 million euros in the short term for its battered energy sector.
Shooting down Iranian-made drones: Ukraine shot down multiple drones launched at the capital by Russian troops in their latest attack on Kyiv.
Pope told Catholics to give to Ukraine: Pope Francis called on people to spend less on Christmas presents and donate the money saved to those in war-ravaged Ukraine.
2. Yuriko Backes presented the 2023 State Budget to the Chamber of Deputies
Backes hinted at tax cuts, including for medium-income earners, in the spring.
The Minister is opposed to entirely reorganising the tax table.
The government’s coalition partners supported the budget, but the CSV criticised “high expenditures”.
Learning from 2008: The planned budget includes €3.8 billion in investments (around 4.6% of GDP), a €600 million increase over the 2022 budget. "A crisis is not the time to make savings, as we learned from the 2008 crisis." she said.
“That Costs Money”: If the situation does not improve, Max Hahn thinks that there could be another tripartite next year, "and that costs money”, he told RTL earlier this week.
CSV in favour of adjusting tax table: "Luxembourg needs stable public finances” said Gilles Roth from the Christian Social People's Party (CSV), however he said his party is in favour of tax reform, which would include, among other things, adjusting the tax table to inflation.
"Extremely on the Right": Minister Franz Fayot labelled the ADR party as "extremely right-wing" in heated exchanges following the Budget debate.
© DPStad / Instagram
3. Lydie Polfer and Patrick Goldschmidt were announced as the DP’s top candidates for the City.
Mayor Lydie Polfer, 70, will seek re-election to run the City for 6 more years.
Polfer has been leading the City since 1982, serving as Mayor for a total of 26 years thus far.
Patrick Goldschmidt is the Alderman in charge of the Environment and City Transport, in the City Council since 2009.
Corinne Cahen also in the running: Minister for Family Affairs, Integration and for the Greater Region, Corinne Cahen has also announced that she will run to join Luxembourg’s City Council.
Likely to win?: The City has had a century of almost uninterrupted Liberal leadership. Lydie Polfer won the last elections by a landslide with over 12,000 votes - her nearest competitor from a different party was Serge Wilmes (CSV), who has yet to announce, with 9,000 votes.
Who’s running against them: Their competition will come from the CSV and the Green Party. The CSV have not yet announced their candidates. The Greens have: Francois Benoy and Claudie Reyland want to seriously challenge them calling for “Fresh wind”.
4. Qatargate sent shockwaves throughout Europe, after major arrests in Brussels.
Belgian authorities raided offices and homes linked to suspected illegal lobbying by Qatar.
a European Parliament VP, Eva Kaili, and four others were arrested.
- MEPs suspended access to EU Parliament and halted all legislation related to Qatar.
Tougher Lobbying Rules: Emily O’Reilly, the EU standards chief, called for tougher lobbying rules amid the scandal.
No Longer VP: The European Parliament stripped Eva Kaili of her position as VP over the corruption scandal that allegedly linked her to Qatari bribes. She claimed innocence but her Italian partner admitted wrongdoing.
Greece took swift action: Greek authorities froze the assets of Kaili’s entire family.
Ursula von der Leyen declined to answer questions about her Vice President Margaritis Schinas’ relations with Qatar at a press briefing.
Also: The President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, requested a meeting with Monica Semedo over renewed bullying accusations.
And Macron: In a seperate investigation, prosecutors searched the HQ of President Macron's Renaissance party, in their investigation into the use of consulting firms by the government .
5. ECB raised interest rates again, and forecast less growth for the Eurozone next year.
The ECB raised rates by 50 bps, and signalled similar hikes
Quantitative Tightening will begin in March.
The Bank warned Inflation risks staying above 2% past 2025.
Rates will climb “significantly”: next year as the bank said inflation is here to stay.
The euro jumped higher after the statement, reaching its highest level in more than six months.
- The United States said it was open to amending green subsidies that have drawn transatlantic anger for allegedly encouraging job losses in Europe. 🚗
- US researchers announced a historic nuclear fusion breakthrough that they said will lead to "advancements in national defense and the future of clean power." ⚡
And in case you missed it
Joe Biden signed into law a bill granting federal protections to same-sex marriage. It became legal in the entire US through a 2015 Supreme Court decision but LGBT rights have been eroding since. 🇺🇸 🏳️🌈
FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas at the request of the United States. He is facing a waterfall of charges, including being accused with "orchestrating a scheme to defraud equity investors”. 👮
Europe’s largest ports are drowning in cocaine. Rotterdam and Antwerp were the two main entry points used by a Dubai-based "super cartel" supplying a third of Europe's cocaine. 🚢 👮
- The European Union granted Bosnia-Herzegovina the status of candidate country, a symbolic step on a path toward membership. 🇧🇦🇪🇺
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Christos Floros covers News and Politics for RTL Today @christosfloros