FRIDAY 12 AUGUST
Luxembourg gas suppliers Enovos and SUDenergie yesterday announced that prices are expected to increase by 80% this autumn. The EU’s gas emergency plan, which started on Tuesday, requires the government, municipalities, businesses, and private households to save energy. The EU hopes that by October it will have filled its gas storages by 90%, which should stabilise winter prices. Luxembourg’s gas supplies mostly come from Belgium with approximately 60% of imported gas used to heat buildings and the remainder used for industrial manufacture.
The Ministry of Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development, with the Water Management Administration, this week confirmed that the heat wave and ongoing dry conditions are affecting water courses and aquatic habitats. According to their statement, 2022 looks set to be a year of record drought with rivers suffering with extremely low levels, while some are dry. For waterways, low water levels mean an increase in water temperature, a reduction in oxygen for aquatic organisms and an increase in the concentration of pollution. Although drinking water levels at the national level are sufficient to meet current consumption, the statement warns that some municipalities are experiencing critical situations at the local level. The Ministry and the Water Management Administration urged people to not pump water from riverbeds and refrain from fishing, watering their lawns, or washing their cars.
The foreign affairs ministry this week confirmed that it won’t restrict Russian tourists from visiting Luxembourg. Speaking to Delano, a spokesperson explained that it assesses every visa application and applies all visa sanctions that operate in the European Union, adding that current measures do not stop the distribution of visas to Russian tourists. Estonian and Finnish prime ministers Kaja Kallas and Sanna Marin this week said it was not right that Russians are allowed to travel within the EU despite the current conflict in Ukraine.
The Parks Service of the City of Luxembourg yesterday issued a public request for Christmas trees to decorate the capital during the Christmas period. The Parks Service say they will be responsible for felling and transporting the trees from mid-October and will then situate the trees in various locations throughout the capital, during the festive season. Anyone with a tree of a suitable shape from 8 to 20 metres tall, which they want removed because of its height, can call the Parks Service on 4796-3423 or can email email@example.com with a photo of the tree in question until the end of September.
THURSDAY 11 AUGUST
ADEM’s Head of Employer Services said yesterday that just 7% of Ukrainian refugees who have registered with the unemployment agency found a job in Luxembourg. Approximately 4,200 Ukrainian refugees, including children, young people and the elderly, have provisional protection status in Luxembourg. 910 Ukrainians have registered with ADEM since March and 580 of those are still looking for jobs. A quarter of the refugees who found a job went on to work in the hospitality sector. Half of the Ukrainians seeking jobs are aged between 30 and 44 years old and 70% of them are women. Although one in five has a high school diploma and 70% have a university degree, the biggest challenge in finding a job is language skills, which are mostly limited to English.
Fuel prices in Luxembourg this week cost the same as at the start of the conflict in Ukraine in February. A litre of Super 95 sold for €1.595 at the start of Russia’s invasion and now can be purchased for €1.598. Although diesel prices have also reduced, they are still some way from the February’s levels. The prices take the automatic government rebate of 7.5 cents per litre into account which came into force on 13 April. In July, finance minister Yuriko Backes said the government was not considering an extension to the discount
Commuters and motorists dependent on the A1 motorway to Trier should prepare for disruption next month. Roadworks are set to begin at the Sernigerbaach viaduct on the border between Germany and Luxembourg, and are expected to last just over a month. Construction will take place from 7pm on Thursday 18 August between the Wasserbillig services and the Mertert interchange. Work is expected to finish by 5am on Monday 19 September. Traffic can use just one side of the motorway, which will be split into two lanes reducing the speed limit to 50 km/h.
Energy supplier The Encevo Group confirmed yesterday that its customer data had been stolen during a cyber attack and published on the dark web. A hacker group called The “BlackCat” group claimed responsibility for the cyber attack, which took place on the night of 22-23 July and also hit energy supplier Creos. No further details were supplied , but according to a statement, the data stolen could consist of names, addresses, email address, telephone numbers, and bank details for certain customer groups. The group is still analysing the data, and say they have not been able to contact all the affected customers personally.
WEDNESDAY 10 AUGUST
As Europe this week starts to reduce its energy consumption to manage a potential gas shortage this winter, energy minister Claude Turmes warned that from January to March the situation in Luxembourg will be difficult. Speaking to Delano, minister Turmes said he expects a large part of this reduction will come from industry, either through optimisation processes or by migrating to another energy source. An awareness campaign will be launched, and circulars will be distributed to businesses and households with recommendations to follow. Individuals will be encouraged to heat their rooms to the right temperature and in moderation and be more sensible with their consumption of hot water. Minister Turmes said the fact that Germany and Belgium are restarting their nuclear power reactors because French reactors are failing was ‘absurd’. He criticised France’s nuclear policy for preventing the construction of between 15,000 and 20,000 megawatts of solar power, and that every winter it’s neighbouring countries have to save it from blackout.
The non-profit nature group Natur&Ëmwelt yesterday voiced its concern that the planned tram expansion along Porte-Neuve would mean that trees and bushes are removed beside the Kinnekswiss park. In their letter to the City of Luxembourg and Minister of Mobility François Bausch the association requested guarantees that construction would not negatively affect plant life in the city’s park. Removal of flora would have disastrous results for the city’s climate and biodiversity, the association stressed and suggested that roads used for cars should be used for the tram instead.
According to the latest police annual report released this week, the number of police officers climbed by nearly 10% last year. In 2021, the report showed that the police’s total budget rose by just over 8% from 2020, as the number of officers increased by 9%. Drug related crime fell by 18% and domestic abuse offences dropped almost 3%, but financial crimes, such as fraud, banking crime and forgery rose sharply throughout 2021 with an increase of almost 90% from the year before. Bicycle thefts rose by more than a third in 2021 and there was a 20% increase in robberies, according to the report.
The Minister of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy – George Engel – this week disclosed parental leave statistics for the last five years. In 2021, 11,636 people made use of parental leave, up by over 40% from 2017. Additionally, a growing number of men chose to use their right for parental leave with the number almost doubling between 2017 and 2021 to 6,186. Since 2019, statistics show that more men than women have taken parental leave.
FRIDAY 5 AUGUST
Ahead of the arrival of 1,400 monkeypox vaccine doses this month, The Higher Council for Infectious Diseases yesterday revealed its initial vaccination strategy. As a precautionary step, men who have multiple same-sex relations, transsexual persons who have sexual contact and sex workers will be inoculated as these groups are considered most at risk. Immunocompromised persons and healthcare workers who have been in contact with a person with the virus should be inoculated, ideally within 1-14 days after the contact. The vaccination is completed in 2 doses, with the second shot administered 28 days after the first.
Energy supplier Encevo announced yesterday that its client services would be back online shortly following a cyber-attack that hit two of its subsidiaries. The cyber-attack, which took place on 22 and 23 July, disrupted the company’s telephone lines, web pages and management systems through which hackers obtained large quantities of data. In its statement, the energy provider thanked customers for their patience, requested again that customers not contact the group and advised that a website was available to provide information.
A new Luxembourg Space Campus, to be divided over two sites, was announced this week. A research campus is scheduled for Belval while a seven-hectare site for businesses will be located in Kockelscheuer, both with a mission to improve cooperation between all entities in the space industry. The Luxembourg Space Agency headquarters will also move to Kockelscheuer, where small satellites will be tested in real-life conditions. Minister of the Economy Franz Fayot said the space campus project would be important in launching many start-ups from the ‘Fit for start’ programme. Minister for Higher Education and Research Claude Meisch stated the campus would help bring together separate entities from Luxembourg’s space industry, including the university with its space master programme.
The Police have reported that 20-year-old Giuseppe Pastore has been missing since Wednesday morning. Giuseppe, who lives in Mersch, was last seen at 10:00 on Wednesday and police have not ruled out the possibility that he is now abroad. Giuseppe speaks Luxembourgish, French and German and when last seen was wearing black glasses and a black T-shirt. He is described as carrying his mobile phone with him in a blue shoulder bag which he wears around his neck. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Limpertsberg police department on 244-481000 or via the emergency number 113.
THURSDAY 4 AUGUST
STATEC warned yesterday that the conflict in Ukraine could push inflation to an annual rate of 6.6% by the end of 2022, triggering another automatic wage indexation by the end of the year. However, the tripartite decided to defer the next automatic wage indexation, which was due in July, until April 2023 and pay out tax credits instead. Prime Minister Xavier Bettel announced he had asked STATEC to update the inflation calculation for September and would convene a Tripartite meeting based on its figures. Speaking to RTL, the leader of the CGFL trade union said he expected new negotiations to happen by November at the latest.
News site Global Finance this week reported that Luxembourg is the world’s wealthiest nation in 2022. Based on a report by the International Monetary Fund, the article argues that although countries like the US, China and Japan have much larger Gross Domestic Product, a more accurate figure can be found by dividing the GDP by the number of residents. Smaller countries like Luxembourg, Singapore (in second place) and Ireland (third) came out top with the Grand Duchy achieving an average wealth per capita of $140,694. Global Finance warned that even countries like Luxembourg will be hit hard by the energy crisis and the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine.
The Federation of Car Dealers and Mobility yesterday signed a new collective agreement with the OGBL and the LCGB trade unions. The Federation hoped the agreement was a “sign of stability and continuity” for an industry “currently going through difficult times. The new agreement includes workers employed in body shops meaning that all workers in the entire motor vehicle sector are guaranteed equal working conditions and, from the start of next year, will receive a 27th day of holiday and an increase to 100% for Sunday overtime.
The Luxembourg Red Cross yesterday urgently requested blood donations to avoid a shortage, warning their current reserves of blood meant they could only supply hospitals for six days. A combination of the continuing Covid-19 pandemic and people away on their holidays is thought to be responsible for the lack of donors. The Red Cross advises citizens to donate before going on holiday. You can give blood by making an appointment at dondusang.lu or calling 27 55 4000. Alternatively, you can go to the blood transfusion centre without an appointment at 42, boulevard Joseph II in Luxembourg City. The centre is open 8am to 4pm on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday and 8am to 6pm on Wednesday and Thursday.
WEDNESDAY 3 AUGUST
The Ministry of Energy and Spatial Planning this week revealed the first actions of Luxembourg’s national strategy meant to reduce natural gas demand by 15% until 31 March 2023. The Government is calling for immediate vigilance and solidarity from all stakeholders including the state, municipalities, businesses and individuals. Clear instructions are being developed for the energy-efficient management of public buildings and energy consumption awareness for various municipal activities. The Ministry of Energy and Spatial Planning will liaise with unions to identify the potential for reducing energy consumption and to raise awareness among their members. In September a huge national information and awareness campaign will be launched to inspire individual citizens to save energy.
French energy company EDF has announced that it plans to have three reactors at the Cattenom nuclear power plant operational by the end of the year. Technicians at the Cattenom plant, situated 10 km from the border with Luxembourg, are undertaking extensive maintenance work aimed at getting two more nuclear reactors running as soon as possible as France hopes to prevent electricity shortages this winter and the use of fossil fuels.
Mayor Yves Wengler has defended his decision to permit the construction of a central heating plant in Echternach without authorisation from the Nature Administration and the Water Management Authority. The Nature Administration stopped construction last week after three trees were cut down without permission while the Water Management Authority voiced concern that the location of the heating plant is judged at risk of flooding. Speaking to RTL, Mayor Wengler said the local school and gymnasium would depend on the heating plant starting next year and decided to proceed without authorisation because of time pressures.
The Gaston Thorn European school in Luxembourg City announced yesterday it will expand its capacity to facilitate the higher enrollment demand expected in the near future. The European public school, free of charge and open to all pupils in Luxembourg, helps manage the large number of pupils who don’t speak Luxembourg’s official languages. Nine classrooms, instead of the planned seven, will be added at primary school level to satisfy the demand for English and French lessons while the German section will be cut due to lack of demand.
TUESDAY 2 AUGUST
Finance minister Yuriko Backes welcomed the recent decision by rating agency DBRS Morningstar to grant Luxembourg a Triple A status saying it was reassuring news in the highly volatile economic environment. Earlier in July, Fitch, another international rating agency, confirmed Luxembourg’s Triple A rating. According to Fitch and DBRS, the maximum score obtained by Luxembourg, despite deteriorating growth figures in recent months, reflects the good governance indicators and solid public finances of the Grand Duchy. In the meantime, DBRS Morningstar warned that “a severe shock to the country’s large international financial center and to its attractiveness as a business hub could have a significant impact on the economy and may result in a review of the top rating.
Rental vouchers for low-income and senior residents have increased as of Monday August 1st to help renters hold on to their homes and cope with the high costs. The Ministry of Housing made the announcement in mid-July, indicating that the increase, which is part of a rental assistance program, was anticipated. The ministry also announced it has expanded the eligibility requirements with special focus on single-parent families. The amounts allocated to the various eligible households have increased by an average of 50% to help with their monthly payments. .In practical terms, a single person with a maximum monthly income of 3,126 euros will receive a 200 euro voucher, while households with two children, making 6,405 euros per month will get 360 euros. Housing minister Henri Kox recently noted that the vast majority of people who could benefit from rental vouchers do not apply for one.
Belgian Supermarket chain Delhaize on Monday announced it was recalling a meat produce after traces of salmonella were identified. A statement published on its website says the problem affects the retailer’s “Rôti de dinde roulé’ or Roast Turkey with expiry date on 7 August. Delhaize asked customers to return the contaminated food item and pledged refund but insisted all other meat produce is considered safe for consumption. Salmonella can provoke fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhoea up to 48 hours after consumption of a contaminated product.
Luxembourg’s weather agency Meteolux has ranked July of this year as the month with the highest number of hours of sunshine in the country’s history. With 377 hours of sunshine recorded at the Findel weather station, 2022 has taken the title formerly held in July 2018, which had 348 registered hours of sun. The average temperature was 20.6°C, 1.9°C higher than the average recorded between 1991 and 2020. July has also been the third-driest month since the beginning of recordings in 1947 with 6.8 l/sqm. The least amount of precipitation was registered in 1949 with only 2.2 l/sqm.
MONDAY 1 AUGUST
Salaries and working conditions for Employees in the healthcare sector will be improved. The OGBL and LCGB trade unions with the Luxembourg hospital federation announced a new agreement in a joint statement that aims to make employment in the healthcare sector more attractive. For the coming three years, staff will receive better pay when on call, extra time off for working night shifts and a 3 percent bonus for their heavy workload during the covid-19 pandemic.
The health ministry has announced the delivery of 1.400 doses of vaccine against monkeypox for Luxembourg in August. Meanwhile, the numbers of confirmed monkeypox cases in Luxembourg have increased rapidly. There were 23 cases, 9 of those newly confirmed within the past week. Across Europe, more than 18.000 cases have been detected, an increase of around 25 percent within one week. The World Health Organisation last weekend declared a public health emergency of international concern. The agency recommends vaccination for high-risk groups, such as healthcare workers, and men who have sex with men with multiple sexual partners.
Only 39 doctors in Luxembourg use the digital reimbursement tool that was introduced at the end of last year to accelerate the reimbursement procedure. Health Minister Paulette Lenert provided this information following a parliamentary question by DP deputy Carole Hartmann. The CNS developed the tool together with the doctors’ association to progressively digitalise the reimbursement of doctors’ bills. The procedure up to now takes around six weeks, on their website, the CNS says, they’d receive around 14.000 bills on paper a day and most documents had to be scanned by their staff before being processed. The new digital procedure equips doctors with access to a joint platform. Via a QR code on the medical bill, patients can upload the information, a CNS algorithm evaluates the bill and reimbursement is made immediately. According to Delano, the CNS expected 30 percent of all doctors to be equipped by July this year. Until May however, only 39 out of around 1.800 doctors in Luxembourg had signed up. For now, the doctors are not obliged to offer this service.
The first three holiday flats called Kabaisercher around the new hiking trail Minett Trail can be booked now. The opening has been long awaited, as it was initially announced for spring, to accommodate visitors of the European capital of culture Esch2022 and hikers for the summer season. But material shortages due to the pandemic made the project managers postpone the opening. Additionally, the company that was supposed to manage the holiday flats withdrew from the project and the search for a new manager took some time. Dudelange, Tetange and Rumelange are the first three out of eleven Kabaisercher to be opened. One night in the holiday flats around the trail costs 150 euros. Most of the Kabaisercher have been developed in cooperation with architects and artists and many have repurposed existing structures such as administrative buildings of the old steelworks or an old locomotive’s waggon.
FRIDAY 29 JULY
The Ministry of State announced yesterday that an initiative committee had filed another request for the organisation of a referendum on the revision of the Constitution of Luxembourg.
To establish a referendum, a committee must present a request to the Prime Minister who will have three days to decide whether it meets the requirements set by law. If approved, municipalities must then inform voters and specify the locations where they can support the request by signing it. A minimum of 25,000 signatures are needed for the request to be successful.
Energy supplier Creos and its parent company Encevo said yesterday they were still “analysing the damage” following last week’s cyber-attack in which hackers obtained large quantities of data from the company’s computer systems. Encevo said they were making every effort to evaluate the damage and investigate the hacked data but was not yet in a position to inform those affected by the attack. The energy supplier requested that customers not contact the group regarding the attack and advised that a website was available to provide information.
The government announced this week that it will appeal a court decision which ruled in favour of chemicals company Bayer against the banning of glyphosate. Luxembourg was the first EU member to ban glyphosate substances, considered toxic to life and carcinogenic, instructing retailers and farmers to phase out products – such as herbicides – by the end of 2021. Earlier this month, the administrative court stated that the decision to ban glyphosate did not fall under the country’s jurisdiction. Glyphosate products will remain prohibited in Luxembourg while the government files its appeal against the court’s decision.
A new report by STATEC, published this week, reveals that the number of holidays taken rose in 2021 with the average Luxembourg resident going on holiday 3.4 times last year. Of the 1.96 million trips taken in 2021, 1.78 million were for leisure while just 181,000 were classed as business trips. 77% of the population travelled abroad last year and most chose longer trips than before the pandemic with an average stay of 7.8 nights. 96% of travellers visited destinations in Europe, with 8% of those electing to remain in Luxembourg for a staycation.
THURSDAY 28 JULY
This week, the Minister for Energy and Spatial Planning, Claude Turmes, took part in the meeting of the Energy Council of the European Union which agreed to voluntarily reduce natural gas demand by 15% this winter. The exceptional agreement, which will apply for one year, was welcomed by minister Turmes who said Luxembourg must show solidarity and strive to reduce our energy consumption which will also contribute to climate protection and can have a positive effect on stabilising energy prices. The relevant local ministries are currently updating an emergency plan which will be presented in early autumn 2022.
An agreement to support state-backed loans for companies in economic difficulty because of the war in Ukraine was reached yesterday by the government and six Luxembourg banks. The state will guarantee loans of up to 90%, capped at €500m that equal 15% of the average annual turnover of the last three years or half of a years’ worth of energy costs. The government introduced a similar scheme following the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic after businesses had suspend activity during lockdowns
Meanwhile, credit analyst Creditreform warned this week that more businesses could close as the energy crisis continues into the winter, warning that Luxembourg would not be able to decouple itself from the internationally rising bankruptcy figures despite government measures and structure advantages. The number of companies declared bankrupt fell to 511 in the first half of 2022, down from 650 for the same period in 2021 but Creditreform warned that these figures do not include businesses that elected to close before running into financial difficulties.
Following the chaotic Nations League match between Luxembourg and Turkey on 11 June, the owners of the new Cloche d’Or stadium, along with the municipality of Luxembourg City, this week announced the penalties it will hand down to guilty fans. The municipality of Luxembourg City with the Luxembourg Football Federation (FLF) said fans that invaded the pitch during the match will be banned from the stadium entirely for one year. Furthermore, the FLF will ban these same fans from games organised by the Federation for 10 years.
WEDNESDAY 27 JULY
Almost a quarter of households in Luxembourg struggled with finances last year according to a STATEC report released yesterday based on information given by citizens on how they feel their financial situation is. The number of families who said they had struggled financially fell to 23.4% last year, but the percentage of households who claimed it was “very difficult” rose to 3.9%. Generally, households described increased financial stability last year, returning mostly to pre-pandemic levels. However, nearly 70% of households claimed that loan and debt repayments was a substantial burden on their finances in 2021.
A new website has been launched intended to draw foreign workers to fill recruitment holes within certain sectors of the Luxembourg labour market. Called “Work in Luxembourg” the website is a collaborative undertaking by ADEM and the EU’s employment network EURES and is currently concentrating on the 16 fields currently most impacted by labour shortages, including IT, accounting, and finance. More than 2,800 jobs are currently available on the website. Luxembourg businesses have been fighting to find skilled workers for years, especially in the financial sector while EU institutions have also reached a stalemate in finding qualified labour, hampered by not being able to raise pay for EU workers and plans for a housing allowance being abandoned by the European Commission.
According to the newspaper Wort, the new N3 / N40 road connecting Gare and Bonnevoie might be finished ahead of schedule. The article quotes members of the Bridges and Roads Authority, indicating that the road, to be called “Boulevard de Kiev” will be opening imminently instead of the scheduled completion date in September. The N3 will connect several Luxembourg City districts, including Gare, Bonnevoie, Howald, and Gasperich.
A visit by the UN working group on business and human rights, due to take place earlier this month was postponed by the Luxembourg government due to the unavailability of civil servants. The purpose of the visit was “to assess the negative impacts of business operations on human rights and the environment” and had been planned well in advance. However, a UN press release stated that Luxembourg, a member of the Human Rights Council until 2024, postponed the visit “at the last minute”. Discussions are ongoing to find new dates for the visit.
TUESDAY 26 JULY
Luxembourg’s energy supplier ENCEVO said it is investigating the full scope of a cyber-attack that hit two of its subsidiaries over the week-end. In a statement released on Monday, the group said the attack on Friday night has disrupted the customer services of the Grid operator Creos and energy provider Enovos, but failed to affect the vital infrastructure of the companies. Encevo said it is working with the cyber-crime authorities in Luxembourg to find out more about the attack and its perpetrators. This is not the first time that a cyberattack – a method which consists of neutralizing a computer system while awaiting the payment of a ransom – has affected a Luxembourg company. In April 2020, the retail group Cactus was forced to shut its stores in Windhof, Merl and Bonnevoie for several days following a ransomware attack.
The National Health Fund (CNS) has announced a sharp increase in demands for home-based healthcare services over care homes according to a 2021 insurance report. The CNS said the number of insurance beneficiaries for home caregiving has increased by (3.6%) compared to nursing homes which seem to stagnate at (1.1%). This could partly be explained by the effects of the pandemic, as elderly people were more reluctant to enter nursing homes due to the risk of outbreaks.
Trade unions across Europe on Monday called on the European Commission to impose maximum temperature limits for workers outdoors, after three people died while on shift in Madrid during last week’s heatwave. According to research by the polling agency Eurofound, 23 percent of all workers across the EU are exposed to high temperatures a quarter of the time ; a figure which rises to 36 percent in agriculture and industry and to 38 percent for construction workers. Only a handful of member states have legislation limiting working hours in excessive heat. In Luxembourg, where there is no legislation on work in extreme weather conditions, the Chamber of Skilled Trades and Crafts has called on employers to equip office spaces with AC, or fans and provide fresh drinking water in the workplace.
In an attempt to protect the urban ecosystem and sensitize residents about the positive impact of bees to biodiversity, food chain, and pollination of various plants, the City of Luxembourg is organizing two guided tours in addition to the regular tours within its beekeeping educational circuit. The visits which are part of the program “En Dag an der Natur” or “A day in Nature” are scheduled for today and August 9, from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and will depart from Guillaume-II, under the leadership of Nico Hoffmann, former entertainment manager at the Maison de la nature in Kockelscheuer. The 2.5-kilometer route through the capital allows adults and children to learn about the world of bees. Panels in French, German and English provide detailed explanations on biodiversity in the city and a multitude of themes around the bee.
MONDAY 25 JULY
The fuel rebate will be extended by one month. On Friday, the government ministers agreed on the extension of the discount to support households and to stay competitive with Germany. The discount of 7.5 cents per litre petrol and diesel was due to expire at the end of this month. Luxembourg has subsidised fuel for the past three months as part of the Tripartite agreement to lower the impact of inflation on households.
Luxembourg will receive 35 million euros for the electrification of the regional bus lines. The subsidy provided by the European Regional Development Fund shall accelerate the introduction of electric buses. According to Delano, 11 percent of the RGTR fleet are electric today. By the end of 2023, 500 of the 1.400 buses shall run on electricity.
Researchers from the Luxembourg Institute of Health detected a median of 61 different pollutants in children’s hair. For their study, the researchers collected hair samples from more than 250 children and gathered information on their lifestyle via a questionnaire – to study chronic pollutant exposure. Children with a predominantly organic diet had significantly lower concentrations of several pollutants in their hair. The living environment, urban or rural, according to the findings, affect the type of pollutant rather than the quantity. In more than half of the samples, they found so-called persistent organic pollutants which have been banned in Europe for over 20 years. The researchers explain this pollution with Luxembourg’s industrial past and the long degradation periods. They hope these findings can help to establish preventative measures that would limit children’s proximity to dangerous substances.
FRIDAY 22 JULY
Following the announcement this week that the new N3 / N40 road will be called “Boulevard de Kiev”, after the Ukrainian capital, supporters of Ukraine have complained about the spelling used which derives from the Russian language. They claim the boulevard should be named ‘Kyiv’ and not ‘Kiev’ as Ukraine has been attempting to drop evidence of the former Soviet Union by promoting the Ukrainian transliterations since 2018. The City of Luxembourg has explained that all squares and streets are designated by their French names but that road signs will later contain the Ukrainian name ‘Kyiv’ as well as the French designation.
Following reports earlier this week that the government might extend the current fuel discount by one month, the Greens yesterday voiced their support for the extension which reduces the price by 7.5 cents per litre. At the party’s annual retrospective on the parliamentary year, MPs further stated that while the party is in favour of relief packages, universal fuel discount benefits high-income people more than those with lower incomes and that the existing measure does not really impact on the price increase. The Greens instead favour a tax relief around soft mobility
Meanwhile, The ADR also applauded the possible extension of the fuel discount as they reviewed the party’s work in the chamber of deputies during the past parliamentary year. The ADR criticised the government for not delivering the constitutional referendum that it had promised in 2018. Regarding public finances, the party said it didn’t want to increase the tax burden on residents and proposed a review of the grand duchy’s growth strategy and expenditure, even if it means cutting off some services currently offered by the state.
The president of the Parliament’s petitions committee this week revealed that there has been a 60% increase in the number of public petitions by Luxembourg residents seeking action from politicians. A record 428 petitions were created in the last year, up from 271 in the previous year, demanding laws granting workers the ability to telework two days a week, shortening the working week to 35 hours, and making English the country’s fourth official language. MPs in the Chamber of Deputies are obliged to debate any petition that collects a minimum of 4,500 signatures within a period of 42 days.