Luxembourg

   

Quality of Democracy

#13
Key Findings
With generally strong democratic institutions, Luxembourg falls into the upper-middle ranks internationally (rank 13) in terms of democracy quality. Its score on this measure has gained 0.1 point relative to its 2014 level.

Electoral laws are fair, and voting is compulsory for nationals. However, the remaining 47% of the resident population cannot vote. A proposal to provide foreign residents with voting rights was rejected in a recent referendum. Newspapers are generally tied to political parties, but the media is free of direct government interference, and reporting is becoming less partisan.

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 new prison is being built to address overcrowding.

Administrative decisions are often ad hoc, reducing legal certainty. The overloaded and unstaffed courts are slow, but independent. A major constitutional reform is underway, with a referendum likely in 2019. Corruption is comparatively well controlled with some legal gaps.

Electoral Processes

#11

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
The electoral law presents no restrictions on the registration of political parties. 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 who are registered in the district, by an elected member of parliament from the district, or by three members of the municipal councils. The electoral lists can consist of single individuals who are not affiliated with a political party. Typically, single issues are the motivation in these cases. The total number of candidates on a list cannot exceed the number of seats to be allocated in the district.

Citations:
“Chambre des députés.” Le portal de l’actualité gouvermentale, 10 Sept. 2014, www.gouvernement.lu/1719091/chambre-deputes. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Elections.” Le guide administratif de l’Etat luxembourgeois, www.guichet.public.lu/citoyens/fr/citoyennete/elections/index.html. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Les institutions du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg. Le Service information et presse du gouvernement luxembourgeois, 2005. www.gouvernement.lu/1824230/A_propos_Institutions_politiques-FR.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Mémorial A n° 166 de 2009.” Journal officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 21 July 2009, legilux.public.lu/eli/etat/leg/memorial/2009/166#page=5#page=2. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Système électoral.” Le portal de l’actualité gouvermentale, 10 Sept. 2014, www.gouvernement.lu/1719337/systeme-electoral. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Élections législatives, européennes et communales. Ministère d’État, 2016. data.legilux.public.lu/file/eli-etat-leg-recueil-elections-20161221-fr-pdf.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

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 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, Tageblatt is affiliated with the Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party and the Journal has a close link to the Democratic Party. To counter a dwindling readership, newspapers have adopted a more balanced line over recent years, reducing their political bias to the benefit of smaller parties and organizations at the same time. Since there are no significant public broadcasters, the main private broadcaster Radio Télé Luxembourg guarantees 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. Furthermore, the government organizes roundtables with candidates from all 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 distances itself from party influence. The government expects to revise press subsidies in the near future, with the aim of redistributing financial aid to support online media as a supplement to classic print media.

Citations:
Des médias. Service information et presse du gouvernement luxembourgeois, 2013. www.luxembourg.public.lu/fr/publications/e/ap-medias/AP-Medias-2013-FR.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Jetzt doch Aufstockung der Pressehilfe?” Luxemburger Wort, 17 Sept. 2015, www.wort.lu/de/politik/medien-jetzt-doch-aufstockung-der-pressehilfe-55fa88ed0c88b46a8ce6030d. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Luxembourg.” Eurotopics, www.eurotopics.net/fr/142186/medias?search=&country=146415&language=0&art=0&circulation=0&typ=2. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Presse écrite.” Le portail officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 7 Apr. 2015, www.luxembourg.public.lu/fr/le-grand-duche-se-presente/medias/presse-ecrite/. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Stoldt, Jürgen. “Pressehilfe im Zeitalter der Medienkonvergenz.” Forum.lu, Oct. 2015, www.forum.lu/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/8192_355_STOLDT_Jürgen.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

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 election and have full civil and political rights. Citizens living temporarily abroad may vote by post and citizens over the age of 75 are exempted from casting their vote. There are no perceptible forms of discrimination within 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 constantly criticized the representative makeup of parliament as insufficient, since 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. Around 47% of the resident population may not vote in national elections as they are not Luxembourg nationals. Though 90% are EU citizens, and may vote in European elections and 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. Conditions for inscription have been eased over the years. However, non-nationals’ interest in political participation at the local level remains low.

Citations:
“Kein Weg führt nach Rom.” Luxemburger Wort, 14 Apr. 2015, www.wort.lu/de/politik/politische-teilhabe-von-auslaendern-kein-weg-fuehrt-nach-rom-552ce01c0c88b46a8ce575b1. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Le gouvernement du Grand-Duché du Luxembourg prend acte des résultats du référendum sur des questions constitutionnelles.” Le portal de l’actualité gouvermentale, 7 June 2015, www.gouvernement.lu/4925351/07-ref. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Participation des étrangers aux élections communales d’octobre 2011.” Le portail des statistiques du Luxembourg, 7 May 2013, www.statistiques.public.lu/fr/actualites/conditions-sociales/politique/2013/05/20130130/. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Principes élections européennes.” Le site officiel des élections au Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 30 Mar. 2015, www.elections.public.lu/fr/systeme-electoral/europeennes-mode-emploi/principes/. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Résultats officieux.” Le site officiel des élections au Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, elections.public.lu/fr/referendum/2015/resultats/index.html. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Système électoral.” Le portal de l’actualité gouvermentale, 10 Sept. 2014, www.gouvernement.lu/1719337/systeme-electoral. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

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 a law passed on 21 December 2007. The implementation of the law was positively evaluated by the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) which was 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 mentioned 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 the improvements on the law, made during the period to improve transparency, monitoring of 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, since 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, the implementation of additional measures has been delayed. The fourth GET evaluation again called for the rapid integration into national law of 13 anti-corruption recommendation.

Citations:
EU Anti-Corruption Report. European Commission, 2014. ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/what-we-do/policies/organized-crime-and-human-trafficking/corruption/anti-corruption-report/docs/2014_acr_luxembourg_chapter_en.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Evaluation Report on Luxembourg on the “Transparency of Political Party Funding”. Group d’états contre la corruption, 2008. rm.coe.int/CoERMPublicCommonSearchServices/DisplayDCTMContent?documentId=09000016806c76d3. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Mémorial A n° 261 de 2011.” Journal officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 21 Dec. 2011, legilux.public.lu/eli/etat/leg/memorial/2011/261. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

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 allowed referendums (Article 51, Paragraph 7). A modification of the constitutional article introduced the possibility to use a referendum for revising the constitution (Article 114). Direct democracy in the form of referendums is possible, but is not a prominent characteristic of the Luxembourg political system. A 2005 law outlined the steps needed for a referendum to be held at national level. The procedure can be initiated either by a parliamentary act or by popular initiative. In this case, 25,000 citizens of Luxembourg demanded a referendum. Since Luxembourg is a small country, this threshold is significant and may explain why only five referendums have taken place since 1919. All referendums resulted from parliamentary or governmental initiatives, including the one in 2005 that sought approval for the EU constitutional treaty.

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 the 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, the referendum did not secure a high voter turnout. Despite previous announcements of the referendum’s contents, the issue dealing with the separation of church and state was withdrawn. In general, there was insufficient information and public discussion about the referendum’s contents, and government communication was poor. Ultimately, the government did not exert itself broadly enough to win the support of the voters.

The Local Government Act of 1988 (Article 35) addresses the issue of referendums at the municipal level. One-fifth of registered electors need to ask for a referendum; however, local referendums 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 easy access to legislators. The country’s territorial breakdown produces small units (there are 105 communes/ municipalities), which all claim to be in direct contact with citizens. On the other hand, Luxembourg is flooded with citizen initiatives, an informal way to impose views on the political establishment, especially regarding environmental issues.

Citizen participation increased due to a new process of online petitions. Online petitions with at least 4,500 signatures must be forwarded to the parliament’s petitions commission, as well as to a parliamentary commission for further debates. In the parliamentary year 2015 to 2016, 160 petitions were submitted of which 13 petitions obtained the required number of signatures.

Citations:
“Mémorial A n° 163 de 2013.” Journal officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 9 Sept. 2013, legilux.public.lu/eli/etat/leg/memorial/2013/163#page=2. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Mémorial A n° 167 de 2013.” Journal officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 12 Sept. 2013, legilux.public.lu/eli/etat/leg/memorial/2013/167. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Mémorial A n° 27 de 2005.” Journal officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 3 Mar. 2005, legilux.public.lu/eli/etat/leg/memorial/2005/27. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Thill, Marc. “Zehn Dinge, die bei diesem Referendum falsch gemacht wurden.” Luxemburger Wort, 8 June 2015, www.wort.lu/de/politik/analyse-zehn-dinge-die-bei-diesem-referendum-falsch-gemacht-wurden-5574ba980c88b46a8ce5ad75. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Access to Information

#14

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, of which the two big newspapers in Luxembourg mainly profit. One could argue that subsidies are an indirect way of influencing the media coverage, however, the government respects the independence of the media. The rules for granting subsidies are transparent and not subject of political debate. Moreover, following the reformation of the Electronic Media Act in 2013, the new government decided 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 in 2009, the country has returned to fourth place in the Press Freedom Index of 2012 by Reporters Without Borders. However, the tax avoidance scandal which brought 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 PwC documents, Luxembourg fell to 15 out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index of 2016.

Citations:
Beffort, Bérengère. “”Der Whistleblower ist (…) kein politischer Aktivist”.” Le portal de l’actualité gouvermentale, 6 July 2015, www.gouvernement.lu/5026791/06-braz-wort. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Jetzt doch Aufstockung der Pressehilfe?” Luxemburger Wort, 17 Sept. 2015, www.wort.lu/de/politik/medien-jetzt-doch-aufstockung-der-pressehilfe-55fa88ed0c88b46a8ce6030d. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Luxemburg und die Pressefreiheit.” Luxemburger Wort, 24 Apr. 2015, www.wort.lu/de/politik/reaktionen-auf-journalistenanklage-luxemburg-und-die-pressefreiheit-553a13610c88b46a8ce57f96. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Mémorial A n° 241 de 2010.” Journal officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 24 Dec. 2010, legilux.public.lu/eli/etat/leg/memorial/2010/241. Accessed 7 Mar. 2017.

“Mémorial A n° 69 de 2010.” Journal officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 30 Apr. 2010, legilux.public.lu/eli/etat/leg/memorial/2010/69. Accessed 7 Mar. 2017.

“Mémorial A n° 85 de 2004.” Journal officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 8 June 2004, legilux.public.lu/eli/etat/leg/memorial/2004/85#page=2. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

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
All of Luxembourg’s six daily newspapers have links of some sort to political parties. One of the six dailies, La Voix, a French language supplement of the leading paper, Luxembourger Wort, was shut down 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 therefore has ties to the Christian Social People’s Party. 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 newspapers. The market share of the Luxembourger Wort fell to 35.4%, while that of L’Essentiel, the most successful of the free papers, recorded a share of 26,7% in 2015. L’Essentiel and Tageblatt (Luxembourg’s second-largest newspaper, with a market share of about 9.9%) are both published by Editpress, which has ties to the Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party and the socialist trade union OGB-L. The conservative media group Saint-Paul, publisher of the Luxembourger Wort, is losing ground because of increased competition and societal changes. Not only did it shut down La Voix, it also abandoned the free newspaper market by closing down its own paper, Point24 in December 2012. These developments, in addition to a restructuring at the Luxembourger Wort, are signs of change in the Luxembourg’s media market.

Radio Télé Luxembourg has no competitors in the television market and it remains well ahead in radio, despite the liberalization launched in the early 1990s, which also led to the creation of radio 100.7. Its radio audience share (37.3% in 2015) is almost twice as high as that of second ranking Elodoradio with just 22%. The Chamber TV parliamentary channel transmits live parliamentary sessions, as well as weekly background information and news program on Mondays. It is owned by the Chamber of Deputies and only broadcasts on those specific occasions.

Citations:
Des médias. Service information et presse du gouvernement luxembourgeois, 2013. www.luxembourg.public.lu/fr/publications/e/ap-medias/AP-Medias-2013-FR.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Luxembourg.” Eurotopics, www.eurotopics.net/fr/142186/medias?search=&country=146415&language=0&art=0&circulation=0&typ=2#results. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Médias.” Eurotopics, www.eurotopics.net/fr/home/medienlandschaft/luxmdn/. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Presse écrite.” Le portail officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, www.luxembourg.public.lu/fr/le-grand-duche-se-presente/medias/presse-ecrite/index.html. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Projet mondial de monitorage des médias (GMMP) 2015 - Rapport national. Conseil National des Femmes du Luxembourg, 2015. www.cnfl.lu/site/GMMP_LU_rapport%20final%202015.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Étude TNS Ilres Plurimedia Luxembourg 2016. TNS ILRES, 2016. paperjam.lu/sites/default/files/etudeplurimedia_2016.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

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 any equivalent legal regulation. Such law has been demanded 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 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 government messages in advance of official notifications to parliament or professional chambers. 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 recommendations of the Council of Europe. 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 make use of the parliamentary query process to discover the government’s intentions on issues of relevance to them. MPs’ 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 website of the Chamber of Deputies.

Citations:
Association luxembourgeoise des journalistes, www.journalist.lu. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Chambre des Députés du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, www.chd.lu/wps/portal/public/Accueil/Actualite. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Mémorial A n° 206 de 2007.” Journal officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 26 Nov. 2007, legilux.public.lu/eli/etat/leg/memorial/2007/206. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Mémorial A n° 69 de 2010.” Journal officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 30 Apr. 2010, legilux.public.lu/eli/etat/leg/memorial/2010/69#page=2. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Presse écrite.” Le portail officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, www.luxembourg.public.lu/fr/le-grand-duche-se-presente/medias/presse-ecrite/. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents. Official Journal of the European Communities, 2001. www.europarl.europa.eu/register/pdf/r1049_en.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

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 officially protected in Luxembourg and all state institutions respect these rights with some exceptions. Four institutions are in charge of protecting civil rights: the Constitutional Court, an advisory board on human rights, the National Commission on Data Protection and a parliamentary ombudsman. However, the judiciary system’s slow processing of cases has led to concerns over due process and equitable treatment. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has reprimanded the country on several occasions because of delays in the court system. The mediation law grants a maximum of four months for processing, with the aim of speeding up administration procedures. The influence and the number of complaints to the Ombudsman Office continues to grow. A total of 743 complaints were made in 2015, an increase from 689 complaints in 2014. The rate of favorable rulings or settlements is high with 84.21% in 2015, compared to 85.52% in 2014. These high figures show both, the efficiency and the necessity of this institution. Due to overcrowding in prisons, a new remand prison will be opened in 2022. Furthermore, 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.

Citations:
Accès citoyens aux documents détenus par l’administration. Chambre des Métiers, 2013. www.google.de/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiP8LSI0cTSAhVCCiwKHcibD2AQFggcMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdm.lu%2Fdownload%2F3430%2Facces-des-citoyens-aux-documents-detenus-par-l-administration.pdf&usg=AFQjCNHJbT_bsJFviOMHI5mc28E0R6U69Q&sig2=f1aFfS2CNIpKwoSV-vvlCA. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Mémorial A n° 128 de 2003.” Journal officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 3 Sept. 2003, legilux.public.lu/eli/etat/leg/memorial/2003/128#page=2. Accessed 7 Mar. 2017.

Projet de loi relative à l’accès des citoyens aux documents détenus par l’administration. Le gouvernement du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg Ministère d’État, 2013. www.csl.lu/component/rubberdoc/doc/1671/raw. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Rapport d’activité 2015. Médiateur du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 2016. www.ombudsman.lu/userfiles/files/Rapports%20annuels/RA%202015.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Reformen im Luxemburger Rechtswesen.” Tageblatt, 26 Sept. 2014, www.tageblatt.lu/nachrichten/story/26766397. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

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 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 have demanded the separation of church and state, and criticized state subsidies for churches, particularly the Catholic Church, which is the dominant faith in Luxembourg. Protestant and Jewish organizations already benefit from public funding. In response to this, the 2009 government program promised the creation of so-called houses of secularism, following the Belgian model. Since 2016 and following a period of receiving very low subsidies, the Islamic Religious Community, Anglican Community and the Orthodox Church have received significant public funding. Initially, the government coalition intended to include a question in the June 2015 referendum, relating to the funding of the churches and the introduction of a church tax system in Luxembourg. In January 2015, however, the government agreed to the demands of the various religious communities and removed the issue from the referendum.

Citations:
“Budget für Muslime soll um das 180-fache steigen.” L’essentiel, 25 Oct. 2015, www.lessentiel.lu/de/news/story/15641224. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Religion is private, says Luxembourg PM.” Luxemburger Wort, 12 Sept. 2014, www.wort.lu/en/politics/church-and-state-religion-is-private-says-luxembourg-pm-54128b3eb9b3988708063816. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“«Die Kirche muss sich in Zukunft selbst finanzieren».” L’essentiel, 11 Sept. 2014, www.lessentiel.lu/de/news/story/19528954. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

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 NGOs.

The 2015 Migrant Integration Policy Index gave Luxembourg a low score of 57 points for its anti-discrimination policies (2014: 49). Two EU anti-discrimination directives (2000/43 and 2000/78) were adapted 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.

Migration is a much debated issue. Considering that most migration is essentially European (90%) and of Christian faith, migration issues have caused fewer conflicts and ethnic concerns than in neighboring countries. After the adoption of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and in addition to a 2011 action plan, incidents of discrimination on the grounds of physical or mental disabilities have increased. This highlights the need to intensify inclusion policies.

Citations:
“Luxembourg.” Migrant Integration Policy Index 2015, www.mipex.eu/luxembourg. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Mémorial A n° 207 de 2006.” Journal officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 6 Dec. 2006, legilux.public.lu/eli/etat/leg/memorial/2006/207. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Mémorial A n° 70 de 2008.” Journal officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 26 May 2008, legilux.public.lu/eli/etat/leg/memorial/2008/70#page=2. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Rapport d’activités 2014. Centre pour l’égalité de traitement, 2014. cet.lu/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/CET-rapport-annuel-2014.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.


For further information:

Centre pour l’égalité de traitement, cet.lu/en/. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Conseil National des Femmes du Luxembourg, www.cnfl.lu/site/. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Convention internationale sur l’élimination de toutes les formes de discrimination raciale. Office luxembourgeois de l’accueil et de l’intégration, 1965. www.olai.public.lu/fr/legislation/discrimination/C-1965-12-21/C-1965-12-21.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Médiateur du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, www.ombudsman.lu. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Mémorial A n° 207 de 2006.” Journal officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 6 Dec. 2006, legilux.public.lu/eli/etat/leg/memorial/2006/207#page=2#page=2. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Mémorial A n° 209 de 2008.” Journal officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 24 Dec. 2008, legilux.public.lu/eli/etat/leg/memorial/2008/209#page=2. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Portant création d’une Agence des droits fondamentaux de l’Union européenne. Journal officiel de l’Union européenne, 2007. www.olai.public.lu/fr/legislation/discrimination/R-168-2007-fr/R-168-2007-fr.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

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 regulations or compromises that favor their own interests. Thus, the interpretation of laws can vary.

The government is working on completely reforming the constitution. In 2009, the Christian Social People’s Party had stated in its election program that they would submit the constitutional reform “to the people by a referendum.” The referendum on the constitutional reform, which was initially planned for 2012, but will now likely be delayed until 2019.

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 the constitutional court nearly 20 years ago, the number of pending cases has considerably increased. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg frequently criticizes Luxembourg for its lengthy legal procedures.

Citations:
Cames, Michel. “Pragmatisch, flexibel, schnell - Wirtschaftspolitische Besonderheiten von Kleinstaaten am Beispiel Luxemburg.” Forum.lu, Sept. 2013, www.forum.lu/pdf/artikel/7692_332_Camest.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Die historische Entwicklung des Großherzogtums - ein Essay.” Das politische System Luxemburgs: Eine Einführung, edited by Wolfgang H. Lorig and Mario Hirsch, VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2008, pp. 13 – 30.

“Referendum.” Forum.lu, www.forum.lu/constitution/index.php/reformprojekt/referendum/. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Verfassungsreferendum wohl erst Anfang 2019.” Luxemburger Wort, 10 Oct. 2016, www.wort.lu/de/politik/alex-bodry-reagiert-auf-csv-vorstoss-verfassungsreferendum-wohl-erst-anfang-2019-57fb493b5061e01abe83a141. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

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 between 2014 and 2015, as well as 288 judgments by the Administrative Court of Appeals. These judgments and appeals indicate that judicial review is actively pursued in Luxembourg.

Citations:
“Gerichtsorganisation der Mitgliedstaaten - Luxemburg.” Portail e-Justice européen, 4 Feb. 2015, e-justice.europa.eu/content_judicial_systems_in_member_states-16-lu-de.do. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Rapport d’activité des juridictions administratives. La Justice Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 2015. www.justice.public.lu/fr/publications/rapport-activites-administratives/rapports-juridictions-adm-2015.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

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 of Luxembourg is composed of nine members, all professional judges. They are appointed by the Grand Duke on recommendation of 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 (due to 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 of 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

Constitution. Ministère d’État - Service central de législation, 2016. data.legilux.public.lu/file/eli-etat-leg-recueil-constitution-20161020-fr-pdf.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Cour Constitutionnelle.” La justice Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, www.justice.public.lu/fr/organisation-justice/cour-constitutionnelle/index.html. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Cours et tribunaux.” Le portal de l’actualité gouvermentale, 10 Sept. 2014, www.gouvernement.lu/1719266/cours-tribunaux. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Die aktuelle Verfassung.” Forum.lu, www.forum.lu/constitution/index.php/dokumente/die-aktuelle-verfassung/. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

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, in which the prime minister and other government ministers were suspected of improperly favoring a company, the government proposed a code of conduct in April 2013. The code, which references existing codes such as a European Commission code, defines the types of gifts or favors a minister may or may not receive. It also outlines a range of professional activities a minister may undertake after their ministerial term. The overall objective is to avoid conflicts of interests. In addition, 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.

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 so far and other directives have not been transposed or have been only partially implemented yet.

Citations:
“2014 Corruption Perceptions Index.” Transparency International, www.transparency.org/cpi2014/results. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Corruption Perceptions Index 2012.” Transparency International, www.transparency.org/cpi2012. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Eurobarometer - Corruption.” European Commission, ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_397_fact_lu_en.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Félix Braz présente le nouveau Code de déontologie pour les ministres.” Le portal de l’actualité gouvermentale, 22 July 2014, www.gouvernement.lu/3870893/22-braz-code. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Luxembourg moves up two spots in Corruption Perceptions Index.” Luxembourg for Finance, 3 Dec. 2014, www.luxembourgforfinance.com/en/news/luxembourg-moves-two-spots-corruption-perceptions-index. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Projet de règlement grand-ducal fixant les règles déontologiques des membres du Gouvernement et leurs devoirs et droits dans l’exercice de la fonction. Le Ministère de la Justice du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 2014. www.gouvernement.lu/3871867/Dossier-de-presse-Code-de-deontologie-22-7-14doc.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Transparency International Luxembourg, www.transparency.lu. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Transparency of lobbying in Member States. European Parliamentary Research Service, 2016. www.europarl.europa.eu/EPRS/Transparency_of_lobbying_in_Member_States.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.
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