Luxembourg

   

Quality of Democracy

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

Voting is compulsory for nationals. The 2018 parliamentary elections highlighted problems related to the allocation of legislative seats. Newspapers are generally tied to political parties, but the media is free of direct government interference, and reporting is becoming less partisan. The appearance of new online publications has created sources of serious journalism and made the sector more pluralistic.

Parties receive most of their funding from the state. No freedom of information act exists, and the government cultivates a certain culture of secrecy. Civil rights and political liberties are well protected, and xenophobia and anti-Semitism are consistently punished by the courts.

Administrative decisions are often ad hoc, reducing legal certainty. A major constitutional reform is underway, with some residents concerned that it is being written in French rather than Luxembourgish. The overloaded and understaffed courts are slow, but independent. Corruption is comparatively well controlled.

Electoral Processes

#15

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
8
The parliamentary elections of October 2018 have highlighted a number of problems in Luxembourg’s electoral system. Overall, the electoral system is strong and fair. In detail, however, small parties are at a disadvantage. On the one hand, this is due to the division of the country into four electoral districts and, on the other hand, it is due to the method of calculation used to determine the allocation of seats.

The division of Luxembourg into four electoral districts is outdated and urgently needs to be revised. It excludes smaller parties and reduces their chances of joining the parliament. In the East district, the conservative party ADR narrowly missed securing a mandate despite receiving 9.58% of the votes. In addition, the Pirates (7%) and Déi Lénk (3.3%) did not receive a seat. This means that around 20% of the votes cast in the East district were disregarded. At the same time, despite the massive loss of eight percentage points, the CSV party will retain its three seats in the East.

In the 2018 parliamentary elections, 37,000 people were registered on the electoral roll in the East district. In the Center district, 73,000 were registered, almost twice as many eligible voters as in the East. As a result, there are three times as many members of parliament for the Center (21) compared to members of parliament for the East (7) sitting in the parliament.

Moreover, the electoral code, which sets the number of members of parliament per constituency, is not consistent with Article 10 of the constitution, which states that Luxembourg citizens are equal before the law.

Citations:
“Élections législatives 2018.” https://elections.public.lu/fr/elections-legislatives/2018/resultats.html. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

Fehlen, Fernand: “Wahlsystem und politische Kultur.” Forum, September 2013. https://forum.lu/pdf/artikel/7695_332_Fehlen.pdf. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

“Robert Mehlen veut contester le résultat des élections devant la justice.” http://5minutes.rtl.lu/grande-region/laune/1254993.html. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

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
9
All newspapers have at least some ties to political parties, reflecting the ownership of the publications. They tend to be rather biased or partisan, especially during election campaigns. While “Luxembourger Wort” was always considered to be close to the Christian Social People’s Party, “Tageblatt” is affiliated with the Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party and the “Lëtzebuerger Journal” has close links to the Democratic Party. To counter a dwindling readership, newspapers have adopted a more balanced line in recent years, reducing their political bias, to the benefit of smaller parties and organizations. However, all newspapers are losing circulation. At the same time, new journalistic projects are being created, such as the online magazine www.reporter.lu, which offers serious background journalism and has no advertising.

From the end of 2018, the satirical political newspaper “Feierkrop” will no longer be published. The weekly newspaper was effective in revitalizing the political landscape and presenting critical remarks.

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 party 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 have become less partisan and the media increasingly distances itself from political party influence than in previous years. Having made some initial progress in 2018, the government is expected to significantly revise press subsidies in the near future, with the aim of redistributing financial aid to support online media as a supplement to print media.

Citations:
“Traditionelle Medien in Luxemburg.” Zentrum fir politesch Bildung. May 2018. https://zpb.lu/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Fact-Sheet-Medien-DE-30.05.2018_acc.pdf. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

“Medien: Neue Regeln für die Pressehilfe.” Luxemburger Wort, 4 January 2018. https://www.wort.lu/de/politik/medien-neue-regeln-fuer-die-pressehilfe-5a4e55afc1097cee25b7b50f. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

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, to be at least 18 years old on the day of the election, and have full civil and political rights. Citizens temporarily living abroad may vote by mail 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 in the consultative referendum of June 2015.

Experts have constantly criticized the representative makeup of the 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 53% of the resident population cannot vote in national elections, as they are not Luxembourg nationals. However, 80% of the resident population 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. Only 23% of foreigners were registered in the electoral municipal election of 2017, yet 12% of the total electorate were foreigners and almost 8% of candidates were not Luxembourg nationals. This indicates that non-nationals’ political participation at the local level remains low.

In addition, in Luxembourg, citizens are unable to observe the process of counting votes. Only political parties can nominate a “witness” to oversee the counting of votes. Ordinary people are not permitted attend the count.

Citations:
“Noch viel Luft nach oben.” Luxemburger Wort, 7 February 2017. https://www.wort.lu/de/politik/frauen-und-auslaender-bei-kommunalwahlen-noch-viel-luft-nach-oben-58998841a5e74263e13aa349. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

“Mäßiges Interesse bei den Ausländern.” Luxemburger Wort, 30 July 2017, https://www.wort.lu/de/politik/kommunalwahlen-maessiges-interesse-bei-den-auslaendern-597b4ac9a5e74263e13c4dfc?utm_campaign=magnet&utm_source=article_page&utm_medium=related_articles. Accessed 22 Oct. 2017.
Loi du 8 mars 2018 portant modification de la loi électorale. http://legilux.public.lu/eli/etat/leg/loi/2018/03/08/a178/jo. Accessed 24 Nov. 2018.

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
The Political Finance Act of 2007 aims to promote transparency, equal opportunities, independence and the avoidance of conflicts of interest. However, these objectives are only partly achieved in practice. The financial independence of political parties in Luxembourg compared to other countries is one of the strengths of Luxembourg´s party system. However, there is still potential for further improvement in terms of equality and transparency.

The basic principle of the law is that the state finances all political parties that receive at least 2% of the vote nationwide in national and European elections. Qualifying political parties receive a lump-sum subsidy of €100,000 per year. In addition, each political party receives a further €11,500 per percentage point achieved in the previous national and European election.

The state allocates approximately €2.6 million each year directly to political parties. In 2015, the state distributed €878,644 to the CSV, €443,160 to the DP, €409,810 to the LSAP, €345,180 to Déi Gréng, €218,565 to ADR, €171,530 to Déi Lénk and €136,570 to the Pirate party.

As a result, state aid accounts for a significant proportion of the total revenue of all the above-mentioned parties. According to the law, however, this share may not exceed 75% of a party’s total funding.

Citations:
“Financement des partis politiques.” https://www.chd.lu/wps/portal/public/Accueil/OrganisationEtFonctionnement/Organisation/FinancementPartisPolitiques. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

“Parteienfinanzierung in Luxemburg: Die Sache mit der Transparenz.” https://www.wort.lu/de/politik/parteienfinanzierung-in-luxemburg-die-sache-mit-der-transparenz-592b4b61a5e74263e13c0a7e. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

Pereira, João N./Zenthöfer, Jochen (2017). Einführung in das luxemburgische Recht. C.H.Beck, pp. 51-57.

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 of Luxembourg allows referenda (Article 51, Paragraph 7). A modification of a constitutional article introduced the possibility of using a referendum to revise the constitution (Article 114). Direct democracy, in the form of referenda, is possible but not a central aspect of Luxembourg’s political system. A 2005 law outlined the steps needed for a referendum to be held at the national level. The procedure can be initiated either by a parliamentary act or popular initiative. In the latter case, at least 25,000 citizens of Luxembourg must demand a referendum. Since 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 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 Local Government Act of 1988 (Article 35) addresses the issue of referenda at the municipal level. One-fifth of registered electors must demand a referendum; local referenda, however, 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.

Each member of parliament represents an average of just 10,000 citizens; which means citizens have relatively easy access to their representatives. The country’s territorial breakdown produces small units (in 2018, there were a total of 102 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.

Furthermore, 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.

Between July 2014 and July 2018, a total of 660 petitions were submitted. Luxembourgers were most frequently affected by issues concerning traffic and traffic safety, and 18.5% of all petitions were related to traffic issues. Petitions on public facilities (7%) and on taxes (6.5%) were also popular. Nevertheless, many petitions were considered inadmissible by the commission (75 in 2017) because they did not represent a general interest.

If a petition achieves 4,500 or more signatures, the “petitioners” may speak to government members and raise their concerns, as well as other petitioners’ concerns. In some cases, the petitions have a high media impact. Some petition initiators try to attract attention with public campaigns, especially on social media. Thus, petitioners’ concerns often achieve much more than just an opportunity to present before politicians, they stimulate a public debate.

Citations:
“Exercising the right to petition the Chamber of Deputies.” https://guichet.public.lu/en/citoyens/citoyennete/democratie-participative/depot-requetes-petition/petition-chambre-deputes.html. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

“Signature d’une pétition publique.”
https://www.chd.lu/wps/portal/public/Accueil/TravailALaChambre/Petitions/SignerPetition. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

Dormal, Michel: “Participation citoyenne, débat constructif, discussion éclairée?
Online-Petitionen in Luxemburg.” Forum.lu, no. 355. https://www.forum.lu/article/participation-citoyenne-dei%c2%81bat-constructif-discussion-ei%c2%81clairei%c2%81e/Accessed 11 Nov. 2018.

Access to Information

#24

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
7
The media is independent of the government, despite the subsidies they receive. Almost all newspapers and a number of online media receive subsidies. Without this funding, the pluralistic media landscape in Luxembourg would cease to exist.

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.

However, the Luxembourg Press Council says critical journalists sometimes have to fear “legal proceedings and intimidation.” Furthermore, Raphael Kies, University of Luxembourg, speaks of a “high risk of political influence” in Luxembourg, particularly in the print media. In terms of ownership transparency, Luxembourg’s media received a poor rating. According to the law, all press organs are obliged to publish once a year the names of their shareholders who hold more than 25% of total shares. By contrast, there are no statutory provisions against possible conflicts of interest between the media and politics. Thus, Raphael Kies criticizes a lack of real transparency.

In spring 2018, there was a debate about whether the public service broadcaster (“Radio 100.7”) in Luxembourg was independent. In a study of the “European Broadcasting Union,” the broadcaster’s independence was partially doubted. As a result, there is a risk that the government could influence the broadcaster’s reporting. The structure of the radio station therefore needs to be changed. A further public debate in Luxembourg followed in which the prime minister was criticized for appointing a confidant to an important position within the broadcaster. The prime minister replied that the appointed person would fulfill all necessary requirements for the office.

Citations:
Kies, Raphaël/Nommesch, Kim/ Schall, Céline: “Media Pluralism Monitor 2016 – Monitoring Risks for Media Pluralism in the EU and Beyond.” http://orbilu.uni.lu/bitstream/10993/31320/1/Luxembourg_EN-pdf-final.pdf. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

Report “European Braodcasting Union,” Luxembourg: https://img.100komma7.lu/uploads/media/default/0001/85/2018-report-p2p-ersl-4web_1e3c47.pdf. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

Bumb, Christoph: “Parteien und Presse in Luxemburg – Der politisch-mediale Komplex.” https://www.reporter.lu/der-politisch-mediale-komplex/ Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

“Zeit, sich zu wehren.” Tageblatt, 3 May 2018. http://www.tageblatt.lu/headlines/zeit-sich-zu-wehren/ Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

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 daily newspapers have links to political parties. The Luxemburger Wort is owned by the Catholic Church and therefore has ties to the Christian Social People’s Party. The market share of the Luxemburger Wort fell to 29.5% in 2018.

The market share of L’Essentiel, the most successful of the free papers, recorded a share of 23.5% in 2018. L’Essentiel and Tageblatt (Luxembourg’s second-largest newspaper, with a market share of about 8.1%) are both published by Editpress, which has ties to the Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party and the socialist trade union OGB-L.

In March 2018, an ambitious online newspaper project (Reporter.lu) driven by several young journalists was launched. These developments, in addition to a restructuring of the Luxemburger Wort, are signs of change in Luxembourg’s media market.

Radio Télé Luxembourg has no competitors in the television market and remains well ahead in radio, despite liberalization the early 1990s that led to the creation of public broadcaster Radio 100.7. In 2018, RTL had the largest audience share (34%), much larger than Elodoradio (19.2%) that had the second largest audience share.

A lot of foreign media is consumed, especially on television. TF1 (France), and ARD and ZDF (Germany) reach more than 10% of the Luxembourg population.

The most important online media presence in Luxembourg is “www.rtl.lu,” which represents all political views and is impartial. Also widespread is the online presence of “Spiegel Online” from Germany.

Citations:
Etude TNS ILRES PLURIMEDIA LUXEMBOURG 2018.II. 12.9.2018. https://www.tns-ilres.com/news/tns-ilres/2018/etude-tns-ilres-plurimedia-luxembourg-2018ii/ Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

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 22 Oct 2018.

„Reporter: Über uns“. https://www.reporter.lu/ueber-uns/ Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

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
5
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.

Media professionals need their own right of access to public information, which is enshrined in the Press Act. Prime Minister Bettel’s circular letter in 2016 to the state administration on who is allowed to answer media inquiries and thus filter communication with the media – the “Circulaire Bettel” – did not help the media, because it was too complicated.

The journalist Dhiraj Sabharwal complained in May 2018: “If someone wants to talk with the employee of a state administration, journalists lose their time and the direct access to officials, due to the so-called Circulaire Bettel, because these may communicate only through the press secretary. Their job profile once again contradicts professional journalism: Not truth search is the task of the growing PR Armadas from politics and economics, but the professional advocacy with the license to conceal, twist, simplify and, if necessary, to lie. Also popular: For critical inquiries, interviews and reactions from ministers are simply rejected or approved for only less than five minutes of talk time.”

Citations:
“Zeit, sich zu wehren.” Tageblatt 3 May 2018. http://www.tageblatt.lu/headlines/zeit-sich-zu-wehren/ Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

Association luxembourgeoise des journalistes, www.journalist.lu. Accessed 22 Feb. 2018.

“Presse écrite.” Le portail officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, www.luxembourg.public.lu/fr/le-grand-duche-se-presente/medias/presse-ecrite/. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

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 22 Oct. 2018.

Civil Rights and Political Liberties

#10

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 a few 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 court proceedings. 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’s office continues to grow. A total of 1,149 complaints were made in 2017, an increase from 2016. Most of these dossiers have already been fully (938) or partially (11) completed. The institution of the “Ombudsman” was launched in 2003. The Ombudsman has the mandate to mediate in disputes between citizens and public authorities. Thus, in some cases, a problem can be resolved before goes to trial.

Citations:
Rapport annuel Ombudsman 2017. http://www.ombudsman.lu/uploads/RA/RA2017.pdf. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

Meyers, Paul-Henri/Lorig, Wolfgang H. (2019): Luxemburg, in: Arthur Benz/Stephan Bröchler/Hans-Joachim Lauth (eds.), Handbuch der europäischen Verfassungsgeschichte im 20. Jahrhundert. Institutionen und Rechtspraxis im gesellschaftlichen Wandel, Band 5: seit 1989, Verlag J.H.W. Dietz Nachf. (forthcoming).

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 citizens’ rights to speak, assemble, organize, worship or petition occurred during the period under review. Political freedoms are guaranteed. All groups of society are depicted in the media and can be heard. Xenophobia and anti-Semitism are consistently punished by the courts. There are restrictions on civil servants’ freedom of expression, even when a civil servant represents civil society. Sanctions against civil servants were lifted by the courts during the period under review.

Citations:
Caregari, Luc: “Informationszugang in Luxemburg.
Kein ´Nice to Have`.” Forum.lu, 2016, no. 364., pp. 23-25. https://www.forum.lu/article/informationszugang-in-luxemburg/ Accessed 12 Dec. 2018.

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
In its 2016 annual report, the Centre pour l’égalité de traitement (Centre for Equal Treatment – CET) revealed that it received 115 discrimination case files, of which over half (54%) were submitted by men and 34% by women. The remaining 12% were submitted by organizations, associations or on the basis of self-referral. Most (25%) of the people were aged between 31 and 40, 9.6% were between 18 and 30, and 5.2% were over the age of 60. Finally, 67% of files were from citizens of the European Union, 44% of whom were Luxembourgers.

The CET was created by the above-mentioned law on 28 November 2006. The CET carries out its work completely independently. Its purpose is to promote, analyze and monitor equal treatment between all persons without discrimination based on race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, religion or beliefs, disability, or age. The CET is very active.

Nevertheless, in a school textbook for 9/10-year-old students, a misogynistic caricature was published by the “Syndicat National des Enseignants” in 2018 (“Mon cahier de vocabulaire – Tome 1 – Cycle 3.2”).

The caricature is of a female teacher in a provocative pose. In addition, on the board it is written “J’adore mon institutrice.” This caricature is supposed to convey that students can like their teacher, if the teacher acts according to the caricature. Due to the controversial message of the caricature, an investigation has been initiated.

Citations:
Rapport d’activités 2016. Centre pour l’égalité de traitement, 2017. http://cet.lu/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Rapport-annuel-2017.pdf. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

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. The text of the reform has already been published. During the current legislative period (2018 – 2023), a referendum is supposed to be held on the constitutional reform. Public consent for the reformed constitution is not certain. Nevertheless, it is true that a reform of the constitution is urgently needed. However, many Luxembourgers are concerned that the constitution is supposed to be written in French rather than in Luxembourgish, the national language of Luxembourg.

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.

Many citizens in Luxembourg are annoyed that they cannot understand the laws and procedures in court. Many Luxembourgers are not familiar with the Standard French used in court. Another major problem is the bad acoustic in Luxembourg City’s courtrooms. Visitors and journalists regularly cannot understand what is being said in the hall because microphones are not used. This embarrassment was also taken up by the international press.

Citations:
Zenthöfer, Jochen: “Ein Prozess wie im Stummfilm,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 11 April 2017. http://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/debatten/prozess-gegen-holocaustleugner-in-luxemburg-14966362.html. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

Cames, Michel: “Pragmatisch, flexibel, schnell – Wirtschaftspolitische Besonderheiten von Kleinstaaten am Beispiel Luxemburg.” Forum.lu, September 2013. www.forum.lu/pdf/artikel/7692_332_Camest.pdf. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

Trausch, Gilbert (2008): “Die historische Entwicklung des Großherzogtums – ein Essay,” in: Wolfgang H. Lorig/Mario Hirsch (eds.): Das politische System Luxemburgs: Eine Einführung, Springer VS Verlag, pp. 13–30.

“Referendum.” Forum.lu. www.forum.lu/constitution/index.php/reformprojekt/referendum/. Accessed 22 Oct. 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
Legal education, jurisprudence, the regulation of judicial appointments, rational proceedings, professionalism, channels of appeal and court administration are all well established and working. Independence is guaranteed. Citizens in Luxembourg cannot file a constitutional complaint, as citizens can in Germany.

Citations:
Pereira, João N./Zenthöfer, Jochen (2017): Einführung in das luxemburgische Recht. C.H.Beck, pp. 1-4, 86-87.

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.

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.

“Neuer Präsident für das Verfassungsgericht.” Tageblatt, 14 June 2016. http://www.tageblatt.lu/nachrichten/neuer-prasident-fur-das-verfassungsgericht-10763120/ Accessed 22 Feb. 2018.

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
In general, corruption is not tolerated in Luxembourg. However, there seems to be some agreement in parts of the public administration that small gifts may be accepted. This applies in particular to high-quality alcoholic beverages. Consolidation between individual political parties, related officials and certain economic sectors (e.g., finance and construction) are common.

In addition, large-scale corruption cases partly developed into political affairs (“Wickrange/ Livange”). In general, however, it can be assumed that politicians are not very susceptible to corruption because, if the corruption were discovered, this would immediately lead to the resignation and social exclusion of the politician.

The political change of 2013 affected corruption, since the leading party was not part of the government for the first time in decades. After 2013, many top officials were exchanged.

Political party financing is regulated by law. The names of donors are published. Donations to political parties in Luxembourg are rather uncommon. However, public officials often donate part of their salary, such as ministers.

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 adopted a code of conduct in 2014. The code, which references existing codes such as a European Commission code, defines the types of gifts and 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 interest.

Citations:
EU Anti-Corruption Report. European Commission, 2014. www.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_factsheet_en.pdf.
Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.
“Corruption Perceptions Index 2017.” Transparency International, https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2017#table. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

“Luxembourg Corruption Report.” https://www.business-anti-corruption.com/country-profiles/luxembourg/ Accessed 13 Nov. 2018.

GRECO: “The Fight against Corruption: A Priority for the Council of Europe.” https://www.coe.int/en/web/greco/about-greco/priority-for-the-coe. Accessed 17 Nov. 2018.
Back to Top