Luxembourg

   

Quality of Democracy

#14
Key Findings
With generally strong democratic institutions, Luxembourg falls into the upper-middle ranks internationally (rank 14) in terms of democracy quality. After a slight gain last year, its score has fallen back to its 2014 level.

Electoral laws are fair, and voting is compulsory. Newspapers are generally tied to political parties, but the media is free of direct government interference, and reporting is becoming less partisan. Press-subsidy funding now includes online publications. Party financing has become increasingly transparent, but some concerns remain outstanding.

No freedom of information act exists. Civil rights and political liberties are well protected. A proposal to provide foreign residents with voting rights was rejected in a recent referendum.

Administrative decisions are often ad hoc, reducing legal certainty. The overloaded and unstaffed courts are slow, but independent. Corruption is comparatively well controlled, with some legal gaps.

Electoral Processes

#12

How fair are procedures for registering candidates and parties?

10
 9

Legal regulations provide for a fair registration procedure for all elections; candidates and parties are not discriminated against.
 8
 7
 6


A few restrictions on election procedures discriminate against a small number of candidates and parties.
 5
 4
 3


Some unreasonable restrictions on election procedures exist that discriminate against many candidates and parties.
 2
 1

Discriminating registration procedures for elections are widespread and prevent a large number of potential candidates or parties from participating.
Candidacy Procedures
10
Electoral law presents no restrictions in registering a party for election. There are no restrictions regarding candidates, except the provision that those deprived of their civic and political rights by a judicial decision are prevented from running. Candidate lists, complete or partial, are proposed for each of the four electoral districts by political parties, associations of candidates or individuals. The lists are supported either by 100 voters registered in the district, by an elected member of parliament from the district, or by three members of municipal councils. The electoral lists can consist of single individuals who are not affiliated to a political party. Typically in this case single issues are the motivation. The total number of candidates on a list cannot exceed the number of seats to be allocated in the district.

Citations:
http://www.gouvernement.lu/1719337/systeme-electoral
http://www.chd.lu/wps/wcm/connect/4712428040b73e349bc9fb19f874c816/CHD_Brochure_210x105_FR_BD.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=4712428040b73e349bc9fb19f874c816
http://www.guichet.public.lu/citoyens/fr/citoyennete/elections/elections-legislatives/candidat-election-legislatives/index.html
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/textescoordonnes/recueils/ELECTIONS/Elections.pdf
http://www.gouvernement.lu/1824230/A_propos_Institutions_politiques-FR.pdf
http://www.gouvernement.lu/1719091/chambre-deputes
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/2009/0166/a166.pdf#page=5#page=2

To what extent do candidates and parties have fair access to the media and other means of communication?

10
 9

All candidates and parties have equal opportunities of access to the media and other means of communication. All major media outlets provide a fair and balanced coverage of the range of different political positions.
 8
 7
 6


Candidates and parties have largely equal opportunities of access to the media and other means of communication. The major media outlets provide a fair and balanced coverage of different political positions.
 5
 4
 3


Candidates and parties often do not have equal opportunities of access to the media and other means of communication. While the major media outlets represent a partisan political bias, the media system as a whole provides fair coverage of different political positions.
 2
 1

Candidates and parties lack equal opportunities of access to the media and other means of communications. The major media outlets are biased in favor of certain political groups or views and discriminate against others.
Media Access
8
All newspapers have more or less close ties to political parties, reflecting the ownership of the publications. They tend to be biased or rather partisan, especially during election campaigns. While Luxembourger Wort was always close to the Christian Social People’s Party (CSV), Tageblatt is considered to be connected to the Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party (LSAP), and the Journal has a close link to the Democratic Party (DP). To bolster a dwindling readership, newspapers have adopted a more balanced line over recent years, reducing at the same time their political bias to the benefit of smaller parties and organizations. As there are no significant public broadcasters, the main private broadcaster Radio Télé Luxembourg (RTL) guarantees more or less balanced reporting according to its concession contract with the state of Luxembourg. During election campaigns parliament provides the political party lists with airtime and the opportunity to broadcast television ads on essentially equal footing. The government organizes roundtables with candidates from all the lists. The financing of election campaigns, especially the distribution of promotional leaflets by mail, is regulated by law.

The media market is becoming more pluralistic. Reports and comments in print media are less partisan than previously, and more media essentially distances itself from party influence. The government expects to revise press subsidiaries in the near future, with the aim of redistributing financial aid to support online media as a supplement to classic print media.

Citations:
http://www.eurotopics.net/fr/home/medienlandschaft/luxmdn/
http://www.luxembourg.public.lu/fr/le-grand-duche-se-presente/medias/presse-ecrite/index.html
http://www.wort.lu/de/politik/medien-jetzt-doch-aufstockung-der-pressehilfe-55fa88ed0c88b46a8ce6030d
http://www.luxembourg.public.lu/fr/publications/e/ap-medias/AP-Medias-2013-FR.pdf
http://www.forum.lu/pdf/artikel/8192_355_STOLDT_J%C3%BCrgen.pdf

To what extent do all citizens have the opportunity to exercise their right of participation in national elections?

10
 9

All adult citizens can participate in national elections. All eligible voters are registered if they wish to be. There are no discriminations observable in the exercise of the right to vote. There are no disincentives to voting.
 8
 7
 6


The procedures for the registration of voters and voting are for the most part effective, impartial and nondiscriminatory. Citizens can appeal to courts if they feel being discriminated. Disincentives to voting generally do not constitute genuine obstacles.
 5
 4
 3


While the procedures for the registration of voters and voting are de jure non-discriminatory, isolated cases of discrimination occur in practice. For some citizens, disincentives to voting constitute significant obstacles.
 2
 1

The procedures for the registration of voters or voting have systemic discriminatory effects. De facto, a substantial number of adult citizens are excluded from national elections.
Voting and Registration Rights
8
Voting is compulsory in Luxembourg for those listed on the electoral register. To vote, one is required to be a national of Luxembourg, be at least 18 years old on the day of elections, have full civil and political rights and live in the country. Citizens living abroad temporarily or those over the age of 75 can vote by mail. There is no observable discrimination as part of the voting process. The Luxembourgish government sought to encourage political participation among young people by lowering the voting age to 16 years, but this proposal was rejected (by a substantial majority of 80.87%) in the consultative referendum of June 2015.

Experts have consistently criticized the representative makeup of parliament as insufficient, as it does not include migrants and cross-border commuters who constitute 80% of the labor force in the private sector and who are the main driving force of the national economy. Some 46% of the resident population may not vote in national elections as they are not Luxembourg nationals. Of those, 85% are EU citizens and are entitled to participate in European elections and in municipal elections. All foreigners, EU citizens as well as citizens from third countries, have the right to participate in local elections, provided they fulfill certain residency requirements and are registered on the electoral list. Inscription conditions have been eased over the years. However, non-nationals’ interest in political participation at the local level remains low. In the 2011 municipal elections, only 16.9% of those eligible to vote actually took part. The Chamber of Commerce and the Support Association for Immigrant Workers (Association de Soutien aux Travailleurs Imigrés, ASTI) promote the participation of migrants within national elections. During the period, voting rights for resident foreigners in parliamentary elections became a cross-party issue (with some exceptions). For this purpose, on the basis of the coalition agreement, a proposal that would have introduced voting rights for foreigners was placed on the June 2015 referendum as an opportunity to create equal participation rights in the national political sphere. However, the clear rejection (78.02%) of full foreigner-voting rights put a preliminary end to this project and the next referendum is not expected before 2017.

Citations:
http://www.gouvernement.lu/1719337/systeme-electoral
http://www.statistiques.public.lu/fr/actualites/conditions-sociales/politique/2013/05/20130130/red17.pdf
http://www.gouvernement.lu/4925351/07-ref
http://www.wort.lu/de/politik/politische-teilhabe-von-auslaendern-kein-weg-fuehrt-nach-rom-552ce01c0c88b46a8ce575b1
http://www.elections.public.lu/fr/systeme-electoral/legislatives-mode-emploi/principes/index.html
http://www.elections.public.lu/fr/referendum/2015/resultats/index.html

To what extent is private and public party financing and electoral campaign financing transparent, effectively monitored and in case of infringement of rules subject to proportionate and dissuasive sanction?

10
 9

The state enforces that donations to political parties are made public and provides for independent monitoring to that respect. Effective measures to prevent evasion are effectively in place and infringements subject to effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions.
 8
 7
 6


The state enforces that donations to political parties are made public and provides for independent monitoring. Although infringements are subject to proportionate sanctions, some, although few, loopholes and options for circumvention still exist.
 5
 4
 3


The state provides that donations to political parties shall be published. Party financing is subject to some degree of independent monitoring but monitoring either proves regularly ineffective or proportionate sanctions in case of infringement do not follow.
 2
 1

The rules for party and campaign financing do not effectively enforce the obligation to make the donations public. Party and campaign financing is neither monitored independently nor, in case of infringements, subject to proportionate sanctions.
Party Financing
8
Party financing is regulated by the law passed on 21 December 2007, and the law’s implementation was positively evaluated by the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), established by the Council of Europe. While the law introduced rules on transparency and monitoring, as well as penalties for breaking the law, a GRECO report said that “(…) some gaps still remain, in so far as insufficient account was taken of the financing of election campaigns and of candidates for election.” The impact of improvements to the law made during the period to improve transparency, monitoring by the Court of Auditors and sanctions still need to be determined.

The GRECO Evaluation Team (GET) has complained about the lack of a uniform assessment method to evaluate various services and benefits in kind, such as positive coverage by partisan media during the election campaign. The GET demands a system of “effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties” for those who break the law. Despite the new law, GET has pointed out that political parties still have no specific legal status. The major finding of the evaluation was the lack of public control over political party accounts, as the parties often have had difficulties setting up an accounting system. Most of the issues raised in the GRECO report have been since corrected through more legislation. However, political parties must ultimately pay more attention to such concerns. Due to the complexity of the legislative changes required, the implementation of additional measures has been delayed. The fourth GET evaluation again called for the rapid transposition of 13 as-yet-unimplemented anti-corruption recommendations as national law.

Citations:
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/2011/0261/2011A4326A.html
GRECO, Evaluation Report on Luxembourg on the “Transparency of Political Party Funding,” Strasbourg, 13 June 2008, in: https://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/greco/evaluations/round3/GrecoEval3%282007%296_Luxembourg_Two_EN.pdf
http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/greco/evaluations/round4/RC4/GrecoRC4(2015)5_Luxembourg_EN.pdf
http://www.chd.lu/wps/PA_Archive/FTSShowAttachment?mime=application%2fpdf&id=923883&fn=923883.pdf

Do citizens have the opportunity to take binding political decisions when they want to do so?

10
 9

Citizens have the effective opportunity to actively propose and take binding decisions on issues of importance to them through popular initiatives and referendums. The set of eligible issues is extensive, and includes national, regional, and local issues.
 8
 7
 6


Citizens have the effective opportunity to take binding decisions on issues of importance to them through either popular initiatives or referendums. The set of eligible issues covers at least two levels of government.
 5
 4
 3


Citizens have the effective opportunity to vote on issues of importance to them through a legally binding measure. The set of eligible issues is limited to one level of government.
 2
 1

Citizens have no effective opportunity to vote on issues of importance to them through a legally binding measure.
Popular Decision-Making
6
Since 1919, the constitution has allowed referenda (Article 51, Paragraph 7). A modification of the constitutional article introduced the possibility to use a referendum for the purpose of revising the constitution (Article 114). Direct democracy in the form of referenda is possible, but is not a prominent characteristic of the Luxembourg political system. A 2005 law outlined the steps for a referendum held at the national level. A procedure can be initiated either by a parliamentary act or by popular initiative. In this case, 25,000 Luxembourg citizens must ask for a referendum to be held. As Luxembourg is a small country, this threshold is significant, and may explain why only five referenda have taken place since 1919. All referenda resulted from parliamentary or governmental initiatives, including the one in 2005 that sought approval of the EU constitutional treaty. The 2005 law has to be amended in order to create a coordinating office.

The first consultative referendum took place on 7 June 2015. In this referendum, all three reform proposals were rejected by very large majorities. The result clearly showed popular discontentment with government. The reasons are diverse and can be summarized as follows: Although the government had dedicated itself to facilitating more active citizen participation as it took power in December 2013, this was unfortunately not a participatory referendum. Despite a previous announcement of the referendum’s contents, one issue, dealing with the separation of church and state, was withdrawn. More broadly, there was insufficient information and discussion on the referendum’s contents from the start; most particularly, the government’s degree of communications and dialogue with citizens was inadequate. Ultimately, the government did not exert itself broadly enough to win the voters’ support.

The Local Government Act of 1988 (Article 35) addresses the issue of referenda at the municipal level. One-fifth of registered electors have to ask for a referendum; however, local referenda are not binding. The practice is used mostly as a consultative tool, which could explain why it is not utilized more frequently. Over the past few years, however, it was used several times to ask citizens of municipalities whether they wanted to merge with another municipality or not.

Each member of parliament (MP) represents an average of just 10,000 citizens; which means citizens have relatively simple access to legislators. The country’s territorial breakdown produces small units (there are 105 communes/municipalities) that all claim to be in direct contact with citizens. On the other hand, Luxembourg is also awash in citizens’ initiatives, an informal way to impose views on the political establishment, especially regarding environmental issues.

Citizen participation has been increased by a new process for online petitions. Online petitions with at least 4,500 signatures must be forwarded to parliament’s petitions commission, as well as to a parliamentary commission for further debates. By the end of 2014, 475 such e-petitions had been submitted.

Citations:
http://www.chd.lu/wps/portal/public/DepotPetition
http://chd.lu/wps/PA_RoleEtendu/FTSByteServingServletImpl/?path=/export/exped/sexpdata/Mag/149/393/134982.pdf
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/2005/0027/a027.pdf
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/2013/0167/a167.pdf
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/2013/0163/a163.pdf#page=2
http://www.wort.lu/de/politik/analyse-zehn-dinge-die-bei-diesem-referendum-falsch-gemacht-wurden-5574ba980c88b46a8ce5ad75

Access to Information

#15

To what extent are the media independent from government?

10
 9

Public and private media are independent from government influence; their independence is institutionally protected and fully respected by the incumbent government.
 8
 7
 6


The incumbent government largely respects the independence of media. However, there are occasional attempts to exert influence.
 5
 4
 3


The incumbent government seeks to ensure its political objectives indirectly by influencing the personnel policies, organizational framework or financial resources of public media, and/or the licensing regime/ market access for private media.
 2
 1

Major media outlets are frequently influenced by the incumbent government promoting its partisan political objectives. To ensure pro-government media reporting, governmental actors exert direct political pressure and violate existing rules of media regulation or change them to benefit their interests.
Media Freedom
8
The country’s media audience is small; the pluralistic media landscape is maintained mostly through generous direct and indirect press subsidies, from which the two big newspapers in Luxembourg mainly profit. One could argue that subsidies are an indirect way of influencing media coverage, however, the government respects the independence of the media. The rules for granting subsidies are transparent, and not a subject of political debate. Moreover, following reformation of the Electronic Media Act in 2013, the new government has moved to allocate a greater part of its press subsidies to online media.

Following Luxembourg’s condemnation by the European Court of Justice in an affair related to the Contacto journal’s investigative journalism 2009, the country has returned to fourth place in the Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index in 2012. However, the tax-avoidance scandal that threw Luxembourg into the international news was felt even within the realm of media freedom. As result of the government’s decision to charge journalist Edouard Perrin with complicity in the leaks, which originated from confidential PricewaterhouseCoopers documents, the country fell 15 places in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index, to 19th place.

Citations:
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/2004/0085/a085.pdf#page=2
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/2010/0241/a241.pdf
http://www.wort.lu/de/politik/medien-jetzt-doch-aufstockung-der-pressehilfe-55fa88ed0c88b46a8ce6030d
https://index.rsf.org/#!/index-details/LUX
http://www.gouvernement.lu/5026791/06-braz-wort
http://www.wort.lu/de/politik/reaktionen-auf-journalistenanklage-Luxembourg-und-die-pressefreiheit-553a13610c88b46a8ce57f96
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/2010/0069/a069.pdf

To what extent are the media characterized by an ownership structure that ensures a pluralism of opinions?

10
 9

Diversified ownership structures characterize both the electronic and print media market, providing a well-balanced pluralism of opinions. Effective anti-monopoly policies and impartial, open public media guarantee a pluralism of opinions.
 8
 7
 6


Diversified ownership structures prevail in the electronic and print media market. Public media compensate for deficiencies or biases in private media reporting by representing a wider range of opinions.
 5
 4
 3


Oligopolistic ownership structures characterize either the electronic or the print media market. Important opinions are represented but there are no or only weak institutional guarantees against the predominance of certain opinions.
 2
 1

Oligopolistic ownership structures characterize both the electronic and the print media market. Few companies dominate the media, most programs are biased, and there is evidence that certain opinions are not published or are marginalized.
Media Pluralism
7
Luxembourg’s six daily newspapers all have links of some nature to political parties. One of the six dailies, La Voix, a French language supplement of the leading paper, Luxembourger Wort, was shuttered in fall 2012. There is a marked imbalance of strength and influence among newspapers, which generally reflects the strength of their political sponsors. The Luxembourger Wort is owned by the Catholic Church and thus has ties to the Christian Social People’s Party (CSV). In 2015, it had a circulation of 70,410 copies, an overwhelming number considering Luxembourg’s population of 565,000. This figure is also larger than the combined circulation of its competitors.

The media landscape was shaken up after the creation of two free daily sheets. The market share of the Luxembourger Wort fell to 35.9%, while that of L’Essentiel, the most successful of the free papers, stabilized at a high level with 38.4% in 2015. L’Essentiel is published by Editpress, publisher also of the Tageblatt (the country’s second-largest newspaper, with a market share of about 10.6%), and has ties to the Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party (LSAP) and the socialist trade union, OGB-L. The conservative media group Saint-Paul, publisher of the Luxembourger Wort, is losing ground on increased competition and societal changes. Not only did it close La Voix, it abandoned the free-paper market by closing its own paper, Point24 in December 2012. Moves such as these, in addition to a drastic restructuring at the Luxembourger Wort, are clear signs of change in Luxembourg’s media market.

Radio Télé Luxembourg (RTL) has no competitors in the television market and it remains well ahead in radio, despite the liberalization launched in the early 1990s. Its radio-audience share (37.6% in 2015) is almost twice as high as that of second-ranking Elodoradio at just 22.3%. The Chamber TV parliamentary channel transmits live parliamentary sessions, as well as a weekly background information and news program on Mondays. It is owned by the Chamber of Deputies and broadcasts only during those specific occasions.

Citations:
https://www.tns-ilres.com/cms/_tnsNewsAttachments/Communique_de_presse_etudeplurimedia_2015.pdf
http://www.eurotopics.net/fr/home/medienlandschaft/luxmdn/
http://www.luxembourg.public.lu/fr/publications/e/ap-medias/AP-Medias-2013-FR.pdf
http://www.luxembourg.public.lu/fr/le-grand-duche-se-presente/medias/presse-ecrite/index.html
https://www.tns-ilres.com/cms/_tnsNewsAttachments/Communique_de_presse_etudeplurimedia_2014.pdf

To what extent can citizens obtain official information?

10
 9

Legal regulations guarantee free and easy access to official information, contain few, reasonable restrictions, and there are effective mechanisms of appeal and oversight enabling citizens to access information.
 8
 7
 6


Access to official information is regulated by law. Most restrictions are justified, but access is sometimes complicated by bureaucratic procedures. Existing appeal and oversight mechanisms permit citizens to enforce their right of access.
 5
 4
 3


Access to official information is partially regulated by law, but complicated by bureaucratic procedures and some poorly justified restrictions. Existing appeal and oversight mechanisms are often ineffective.
 2
 1

Access to official information is not regulated by law; there are many restrictions of access, bureaucratic procedures and no or ineffective mechanisms of enforcement.
Access to Government Information
6
Luxembourg has no freedom of information act nor equivalent legal regulation. Such a law has been called for by journalist associations and many NGOs as well as by Regulation No. 1049/2001 of the European Commission. The government cultivates a certain culture of secrecy; a directive issued in 1987 requires civil servants to get the authorization of their respective minister before releasing any information. Numerous advisory bodies, which include representatives from interest groups, usually serve as a channel to spread the government’s message well ahead of official notification to parliament or the professional chambers. Basically, it is up to the government to decide what becomes public, and when. The previous government promised to draft a law that was inspired by information practices in neighboring countries as well as by Council of Europe recommendations. However, the draft law presented by the new government in 2014 did not meet information-access advocates’ expectations.

The most effective way to get information from the government remains the so-called parliamentary query (question parlementaire). The government is required to provide an answer within a month, or even within a week in case of urgency. This instrument is widely used by members of parliament, and during the 2012 – 2013 parliamentary session, 549 questions were filed. Interested parties, lobbies and associations often enlist MPs and the parliamentary query process to discover the government’s intentions on issues of relevance to them. MP questions and government answers are published in the regular account of parliament’s activities (Compte rendu des séances publiques), in press releases and on the web page of the Chamber of Deputies.

Citations:
http://chd.lu/wps/wcm/connect/ba007e0e-5993-4957-adf8-6590d9c6ed2c/Rapport_2012-2013_internet.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ba007e0e-5993-4957-adf8-6590d9c6ed2c
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/register/pdf/r1049_en.pdf
http://www.journalist.lu
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/2010/0069/a069.pdf#page=2
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/2010/0069/a069.pdf#page=15
http://www.luxembourg.public.lu/fr/le-grand-duche-se-presente/medias/presse-ecrite/index.html
Regarding parliamentary queries see: Section 80 of the standing orders: Règlement de la Chambre des Députés, Mémorial A, N° 206, 26.11.2007
Website of the Parliament (www.chd.lu) gives a detailed online account of the dialogue between MPs and the government.

Civil Rights and Political Liberties

#11

To what extent does the state respect and protect civil rights and how effectively are citizens protected by courts against infringements of their rights?

10
 9

All state institutions respect and effectively protect civil rights. Citizens are effectively protected by courts against infringements of their rights. Infringements present an extreme exception.
 8
 7
 6


The state respects and protects rights, with few infringements. Courts provide protection.
 5
 4
 3


Despite formal protection, frequent infringements of civil rights occur and court protection often proves ineffective.
 2
 1

State institutions respect civil rights only formally, and civil rights are frequently violated. Court protection is not effective.
Civil Rights
8
Civil rights are effectively protected in Luxembourg and all state institutions respect these rights with some exceptions. Four institutions are in charge of civil rights’ protections: the Constitutional Court, an advisory board on human rights, the National Commission on Data Protection and a parliamentary ombudsman. However, the judiciary system’s overload and subsequently slow case processing has triggered concerns over due process and equitable treatment. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has reprimanded the country on several occasions as a result of delays in the court system. The mediation law provides for processing within a maximum of four months, with the aim of speeding up administration procedures. The influence and the number of complaints to the Ombudsman Office continues to grow, with 689 complaints in 2014 (2013: 507). The rate of favorable rulings or settlements remains high (85.52%, compared to 80.39% in 2013). These high figures show both the efficiency and the necessity of this institution. Three EU directives concerning the right to have an interpreter and legal representation for detainees and prisoners, as well as the right to inspect relevant files, are expected to be implemented, but only after some delay.

Citations:
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/2003/0128/a128.pdf#page=2
http://www.ombudsman.lu/doc/doc_downloads_210.pdf
http://www.tageblatt.lu/nachrichten/Luxembourg/story/26766397
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/textescoordonnes/compilation/code_administratif/VOL_5/PROCEDURE_ADMIN.pdf
http://chd.lu/wps/PA_ArchiveSolR/FTSShowAttachment?mime=application%2fpdf&id=1307606&fn=1307606.pdf
http://www.csl.lu/component/rubberdoc/doc/1671/raw
For further information: see section D 3.3

To what extent does the state concede and protect political liberties?

10
 9

All state institutions concede and effectively protect political liberties.
 8
 7
 6


All state institutions for the most part concede and protect political liberties. There are only few infringements.
 5
 4
 3


State institutions concede political liberties but infringements occur regularly in practice.
 2
 1

Political liberties are unsatisfactory codified and frequently violated.
Political Liberties
9
No infringements of a citizen’s right to speak, assemble, organize, worship or petition occurred during the period. Some court cases have dealt with xenophobic and racist speech, especially online.

Anticlerical forces in the country have demanded the separation of church and state, and criticize state subsidies for churches, particularly the Catholic Church, which is the dominant faith in Luxembourg. As a reaction to this, the 2009 government program promised the creation of so-called houses of secularism, following the Belgian model. After a period of receiving very small subsidies, the Islamic Religious Community today receives €450,000 per year, with this extension of public funding commencing in 2016. Protestant and Jewish organizations already benefit from public funding. Initially, the coalition intended to include a question in the June 2015 referendum relating to the funding of the churches, introducing a church-tax system in Luxembourg. In January 2015, however, the government concluded an agreement with the various religious communities in Luxembourg that enabled this issue to be removed from the referendum.

Citations:
http://www.lessentiel.lu/de/news/Luxembourg/story/19528954
http://www.lessentiel.lu/de/news/Luxembourg/story/15641224
http://www.wort.lu/en/politics/church-and-state-religion-is-private-says-luxembourg-pm-54128b3eb9b3988708063816

How effectively does the state protect against different forms of discrimination?

10
 9

State institutions effectively protect against and actively prevent discrimination. Cases of discrimination are extremely rare.
 8
 7
 6


State anti-discrimination protections are moderately successful. Few cases of discrimination are observed.
 5
 4
 3


State anti-discrimination efforts show limited success. Many cases of discrimination can be observed.
 2
 1

The state does not offer effective protection against discrimination. Discrimination is widespread in the public sector and in society.
Non-discrimination
8
Fundamental human and civil rights are anchored in Luxembourg’s constitution. Anti-discrimination efforts are overseen both by public authorities and non-governmental organizations.

The recent 2014 Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) gives Luxembourg an unfavorable score of 49 points with regard to its anti-discrimination policies (2013: 48). The two EU anti-discrimination directives (2000/43 and 2000/78) were transposed after years of debate in the form of an act passed on 28 November 2006, establishing a Center of Equal Treatment (Centre pour l’égalité de traitement, CET) which opened in October 2008. The act includes EU definitions of discrimination. Other bodies such as the Ombuds Council for the Right of the Child (Ombuds-comité fir d’Rechter vum Kand, law of 22 July 2002) have existed since January 2003; the Ombudsman Office was established by law on 22 August 2003 and began operations in May 2004.

The subject of migration is often debated. Considering that most migration is essentially European (90%) and of the Christian faith, migration issues have caused fewer conflicts on ethnic concerns than in neighboring countries. After the country adopted the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in addition to an action plan in 2011, the incidence of discrimination complaints related to physical or mental disabilities have increased. This has highlighted the need for Luxembourg to put more weight behind inclusion policies.

Citations:
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/2006/0207/a207.pdf
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/2008/0070/a070.pdf#page=2
http://www.mipex.eu/luxembourg
http://www.non-discrimination.net/law/national-legislation/country-reports-measures-combat-discrimination
http://cet.lu/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/CET-rapport-annuel-2014.pdf
For further informations:
http://www.ombudsman.lu
http://cet.lu/en/
http://www.cnfl.lu/site/
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/2008/0209/a209.pdf#page=2
http://www.olai.public.lu/fr/legislation/discrimination/C-1965-12-21/C-1965-12-21.pdf
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/2006/0207/a207.pdf#page=2#page=2
http://www.olai.public.lu/fr/legislation/discrimination/R-168-2007-fr/R-168-2007-fr.pdf

Rule of Law

#10

To what extent do government and administration act on the basis of and in accordance with legal provisions to provide legal certainty?

10
 9

Government and administration act predictably, on the basis of and in accordance with legal provisions. Legal regulations are consistent and transparent, ensuring legal certainty.
 8
 7
 6


Government and administration rarely make unpredictable decisions. Legal regulations are consistent, but leave a large scope of discretion to the government or administration.
 5
 4
 3


Government and administration sometimes make unpredictable decisions that go beyond given legal bases or do not conform to existing legal regulations. Some legal regulations are inconsistent and contradictory.
 2
 1

Government and administration often make unpredictable decisions that lack a legal basis or ignore existing legal regulations. Legal regulations are inconsistent, full of loopholes and contradict each other.
Legal Certainty
6
While Luxembourg is a constitutional state, citizens are sometimes confronted with judicial vagueness or even a lack of legal guidance in administrative issues. Luxembourg’s administrative culture is based on pragmatism and common sense. This means that some matters are decided on an ad hoc basis, rather than with reference to official or established rules. Most people seem to accept this, trusting that the prevalent legal flexibility leads to accommodations or compromises that favor their own interests. Thus, the interpretation of laws can vary.

Courts are overloaded, understaffed and slow, taking far too long to settle cases brought before them. The government has begun to address this problem by hiring more judges. Since the creation of independent administrative courts and a constitutional court 15 years ago, the number of pending cases has increased considerably. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg frequently criticizes Luxembourg for its lengthy legal procedures.

Citations:
Trausch, G. (2008), Die historische Entwicklung des Großherzogtums - ein Essay, in: Lorig, W. H./Hirsch, M. (Ed.), Das politische System Luxembourgs. Eine Einführung. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden, pp13-30
http://www.forum.lu/pdf/artikel/7692_332_Camest.pdf

To what extent do independent courts control whether government and administration act in conformity with the law?

10
 9

Independent courts effectively review executive action and ensure that the government and administration act in conformity with the law.
 8
 7
 6


Independent courts usually manage to control whether the government and administration act in conformity with the law.
 5
 4
 3


Courts are independent, but often fail to ensure legal compliance.
 2
 1

Courts are biased for or against the incumbent government and lack effective control.
Judicial Review
9
The existence of administrative jurisdictions and the Constitutional Court guarantee an independent review of executive and administrative acts. The Administrative Court and the Administrative Court of Appeals are legal bodies with heavy case loads; annual reports cite more than 1,000 judgments by the Administrative Court from 2013 to 2014 and 232 judgments by the Administrative Court of Appeals in the same period. These judgments and appeals indicate that judicial review is actively pursued in Luxembourg.

Citations:
http://www.justice.public.lu/fr/publications/rapport-activites-administratives/rapports-juridictions-adm-2014.pdf
https://e-justice.europa.eu/content_judicial_systems_in_member_states-16-lu-de.do

To what extent does the process of appointing (supreme or constitutional court) justices guarantee the independence of the judiciary?

10
 9

Justices are appointed in a cooperative appointment process with special majority requirements.
 8
 7
 6


Justices are exclusively appointed by different bodies with special majority requirements or in a cooperative selection process without special majority requirements.
 5
 4
 3


Justices are exclusively appointed by different bodies without special majority requirements.
 2
 1

All judges are appointed exclusively by a single body irrespective of other institutions.
Appointment of Justices
9
The Constitutional Court is composed of nine members, all professional judges. They are appointed by the Grand Duke on the recommendation of the members of the Superior Court of Justice and the Administrative Court of Appeals, who gather in a joint meeting convened by the President of the Superior Court of Justice. These two jurisdictions are appointed by the Grand Duke on the recommendation of the Court itself, so their recruitment is co-opted. This principle is enshrined in Article 90 of the constitution and has never been questioned. It gives a great degree of independence to the Constitutional Court as well as to the Superior Court of Justice and the Administrative Court of Appeals. The government plans (through the Law Project of 2013) to delegate the task of nominating and promoting judges to a standing body, the higher judicial council (Conseil supérieur de la magistrature, CSM), based on the French model. This decision is not likely to change the process from the present ad hoc system, since the composition of the CSM is likely to reflect existing practices which have ensured a high degree of independence and transparency in the selection process.

Citations:
Loi du 27 juillet 1997 portant organisation de la Cour Constitutionnelle
Loi du 7 novembre 1996 portant organisation des juridictions de l’ordre administratif
Loi du 1er juillet 2005 arrêtant un programme pluriannuel de recrutement dans le cadre de l’organisation judiciaire
Organisation judiciaire, Textes coordonnés Avril 2009
http://www.forum.lu/constitution/index.php/dokumente/die-aktuelle-verfassung/
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/textescoordonnes/recueils/Constitution/Constitution.pdf
http://www.gouvernement.lu/1719266/cours-tribunaux
http://www.mj.public.lu/actualites/2013/02/Cour_supreme/APL_Conseil_national_de_la_Justice_25_fevrier_2013.pdf
http://www.justice.public.lu/fr/organisation-justice/cour-constitutionnelle/index.html

To what extent are public officeholders prevented from abusing their position for private interests?

10
 9

Legal, political and public integrity mechanisms effectively prevent public officeholders from abusing their positions.
 8
 7
 6


Most integrity mechanisms function effectively and provide disincentives for public officeholders willing to abuse their positions.
 5
 4
 3


Some integrity mechanisms function, but do not effectively prevent public officeholders from abusing their positions.
 2
 1

Public officeholders can exploit their offices for private gain as they see fit without fear of legal consequences or adverse publicity.
Corruption Prevention
8
After a parliamentary inquiry into a large building project in Wickrange in 2012 where government ministers and the prime minister were suspected of improperly favoring a bidding company, the government proposed in April 2013 a deontological code, with reference to existing codes such as that of European Commission. The text defines the type of gifts or favors a minister is allowed to receive and those which might influence his decision-making and are thus prohibited. The text also outlines what type of professional activity a minister can take up at the end of his mandate. The overall objective is to avoid conflicts of interests. Additionally, an ethics committee will offer opinions concerning the interpretation of specific situations. The revised text was signed by each minister and came into force in December 2014. Transparency International Luxembourg supports the code of conduct, giving credibility to the ministers. But steps need to be taken to ensure sanctions will be imposed on the parties concerned, and adjustments are still needed.

In the 2014 Eurobarometer survey (using data from 2013), three of 10 citizens said they believe that connections and personal favors promote access to certain public services in Luxembourg. In Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2014, Luxembourg improved two places compared to the previous year, falling at ninth place worldwide
In Luxembourg, the fourth European evaluation of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) called for the rapid implementation of the group’s anti-corruption guidelines in order to prevent corruption within the public authorities. Only one of the group’s 14 recommendations has been implemented into national law, and other directives have not been transposed or have been only partially implemented.

Citations:
http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_397_fact_lu_en.pdf
http://www.transparency.org/cpi2014/results
http://www.gouvernement.lu/3871867/Dossier-de-presse-Code-de-deontologie-22-7-14doc.pdf
http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/greco/evaluations/round4/RC4/GrecoRC4%282015%295_Luxembourg_EN.pdf
http://www.legilux.public.lu/adm/b/archives/2014/0131/b131.pdf#page=7
http://www.gouvernement.lu/3870893/22-braz-code
http://www.transparency.lu
http://www.luxembourgforfinance.com/luxembourg-moves-two-spots-corruption-perceptions-index
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