Your Weekly Recap for 30 January - 3 February.

Here's 5 things you should know about at the end of this week:

  • Minister of Finance Yuriko Backes proposes tax reliefs worth €500 million
  • A new wage indexation was triggered on 1 February
  • Europe's energy transition is going faster than expected
  • The world is 'dangerously unprepared' for next crisis, argues the Red Cross
  • Luxembourg's public transport once again faces criticism



1. Minister of Finance Yuriko Backes proposes tax reliefs worth €500 million

Pleased - Minister Backes is pleased with the interim result as it "shows the resilience of [Luxembourg's] public finances".

In line with commitment - The minister will propose targeted tax reliefs in the form of tax credits if the improvement from previous estimates is confirmed.

Retroactively - She concluded the statement by sharing her intention to use the entire margin to strengthen household purchasing power retroactively from the beginning of 2023.

Following the announcement - The Green Party is now demanding targeted measures to address the three major crises. According to party co-president Meris Sehović, these are inflation, the housing crisis, and the climate crisis. Meris Sehović, co-president, calls for "socially targeted relief for low and medium incomes."

Read also:Tax relief bill urgently needed now, says Dan Kersch


© Unsplash

2. A new wage indexation was triggered on 1 February

Unpopular decisions - The deferral of the wage indexation prompted strong opposition and nearly 2,500 demonstrators took to the streets of the capital to protest this measure.

Right call - Prime Minister Bettel pointed out that despite the repeated crises, Luxembourg's inflation rate is lower than that of many European countries.

Costly for businessesLuxembourgish businesses need to brace themselves due to the increase of the minimum wage, as well as the two wage indexations.

Read also:  How much does Luxembourg spend on food and alcohol?


© Unsplash

3. Europe's energy transition is going faster than expected

  • 2022 was the first year that more energy was produced from renewable sources than gas. 

  • Wind and solar generated a record fifth of EU electricity (22%), for the first time overtaking fossil fuel (20%), and remaining above coal power (16%).

  • EU electricity demand dropped by nearly 8% in the winter months of 2022, close in scale to the 9.6% witnessed at the start of lockdown in 2020.

Solar power records - Solar power shielded Europe from an energy crisis: The sun helped save billions of euros of imported gas.

Not the sunniest country - 20 EU countries set solar records in 2022: The Netherlands was the leader, generating 14% of its electricity from the sun and surpassing previous leader Spain by two percentage points.

What about Luxembourg? The Grand Duchy is putting a lot of effort into transitioning to solar energy. The country is a front-runner when it comes to the share of solar power from its electricity usage. All this despite the fact that a large share of electricity is imported from abroad. The trend towards wind and solar energy is expected to accelerate in the coming years.

High demand per capita - Luxembourg is Europe's third-largest energy consumer per head, just behind Finland and Sweden. However most electricity-intensive users are factories and businesses.

Read also: Green energy investment tops $1 trillion, matches fossil fuels



4. The world is 'dangerously unprepared' for next crisis, argues the Red Cross

  • On Monday, the Red Cross warned that countries need to prepare for 'multiple hazards, not just one', explaining that society can become truly resilient by planning for different types of disasters.

  • Future health crises could collide with increasingly likely climate-related disasters, meaning disasters can occur simultaneously, as extreme weather events are growing more frequent and intense. 

  • All countries are 'severely lacking' strong preparedness systems and this despite three years of a 'brutal' Covid-19 pandemic.

Wake-up call -  "The Covid-19 pandemic should be a wake-up call for the global community to prepare now for the next health crisis," said IFRC secretary general Jagan Chapagain.

On the same day - This warning came shortly before the WHO warned that the pandemic remains an international emergency.

Lack of trust - The world's largest humanitarian network said building trust, equity and local action networks were vital to get ready for the next crisis. If people trusted safety messages, they would be willing to comply with public health measures and accept vaccination.

Impaired Covid response - This is exactly what happened with the coronavirus: If trust is fragile, public health can become political and individualised. 


5. Luxembourg's public transport once again faces criticism

  • Train line number 10, which connects Luxembourg City to Troisvierges in the north, is subject to frequent delays, with passenger expressing their frustrations.

  • Since 27 August the daily ride for students and workers has become even more strenuous: The Schieburg tunnel partially collapsed, forcing trains on both sides of the tunnel to a stop.

  • But despite the national railway company's efforts to keep trains rolling, passengers are reporting horrific delays and poor coordination between modes of transport.

Poor communication between CFL and customers - Users express their disappointment with the app, as the shown times do not reflect real train times.

 'If customers are not satisfied, neither are we' - With unexpected challenges, such as the tunnel collapse and constant renovation works, the CFL registered a record 365 days of construction in 2022.

Patience needed - It will take until after the Easter holidays for the line to be in operation again.

Glimmer of hope? New trains will be put into operation in 2023 which are capable of carrying 46% more passengers.

Read also Alannah Meyrath's opinion on public transport in Luxembourg


Climate Change 🌍


And in case you missed it ⚠️


Your Weekly Recap is published every Friday at noon. Read earlier versions.

This week's Weekly Recap was brought to you by Alannah Meyrath.