Luxembourg's former Prime Minister and former President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker says that there is no need for the Grand Duchy's residents to worry about their savings.
The measures decided at the last tripartite meeting to curb inflation are "the right ones, even if they are unusual," former Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker told our colleagues from RTL Radio on Saturday afternoon. Juncker admitted that he did not expect "a liberal prime minister" to ensure that the state pays a wage indexation instead of businesses, stating that "this was surprising but the right thing to do."
Juncker believes that in times of crisis, high-income earners should not receive additional money through indexation. The former prime minister advocates for a capped indexation system, "but only in times of crisis." However, Juncker conceded that no political party, including his own, the Christian Social People's Party (CSV), supports such a reform. Irrespective of the wage indexation system, however, "we must acknowledge that the gap between rich and poor is widening."
'Luc Frieden is neither an economic fanatic nor a saviour'
Jean-Claude Juncker is "not worried" about the state of the CSV and declined to comment on the state of the current government. The former Prime Minister is pleased that his former Minister of Finance, Luc Frieden, has been named the CSV's national lead candidate for the legislative elections.
In Germany, it is not unusual for someone to leave politics to take up a position in the private economy before returning to politics, Juncker noted, citing the example of the German politician Friedrich Merz, the leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Luc Frieden did not join the rest of his party in opposition in 2014, instead leaving the Chamber of Deputies for a job at Deutsche Bank in London. Juncker stated that he understands the decision made by his former Minister of Finance at the time.
Juncker thinks that it is "wrong" to exclusively portray Frieden as "an economic liberal." Frieden is someone "who is able to consider different angles and he never boycotted a social project while the CSV was in power," Juncker stressed. In a previous interview with RTL Radio, CSV MP Marc Spautz compared the party to a plane, with Frieden representing the wing of economic liberalism. When asked about this metaphor, Juncker said he preferred to speak of a "balance" within the CSV, adding that his party "remains a people's party."
According to the former Prime Minister, the CSV was excluded from government after the last two elections. This year, "voters will have to give their verdict on these decisions."
Luxembourg residents 'don't have to worry about their savings'
Juncker argued that the latest challenges faced by various banks around the world are not comparable to the 2008 financial crisis. Banks today are "better positioned, more resilient, and better capitalised." Governments learned from the last crisis and regulated financial markets after decades of a predominantly neoliberal approach, which the CSV "never shared." For this reason, people in Luxembourg "don't have to worry about their savings," according to Jean-Claude Juncker.
The former Prime Minister also commented on recent news stories that rocked the Grand Ducal court. Juncker argued that the Maison du Grand Duc ("House of the Grand Duke") should be kept out of public debate, as "anything else would damage the institution."
'Land egotism' needs to be stopped
Juncker blasted Ursula von der Leyen, his successor as President of the European Commission, for classifying nuclear energy as a clean energy source, stressing that this decision "should never have been made." He is also certain that the CSV "will continue to oppose nuclear energy."
Finally, Juncker addressed the housing crisis, stating that Luxembourg is suffering from a form of "land egotism" that needs to be stopped. "Not everyone has the right to sell their land for exorbitant amounts of money," the former Prime Minister declared.