Change Edition

Finance Minister Gramegna to exit politics

Finance Minister Gramegna to exit politics

3 min. 30.11.2021 From our online archive
Luxembourg minister cites personal reasons for departure after eight years in government role, his party says
Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna
Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna
Photo credit: LT archives

By Emery P. Dalesio and John Monaghan

Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna is leaving his role as a senior member of Luxembourg’s government after eight years in a surprise move that his party described in a statement as motivated by "personal reasons."

The 63-year-old Gramegna has held the role since the Democratic Party returned to power in 2013 as part of a coalition government led by fellow DP member and Prime Minister Xavier Bettel. 

Gramegna was expected to stay in office until the end of the year to oversee the Parliament's passage of the 2022 national budget, which he was also responsible for presenting, the Luxemburger Wort newspaper reported.

Possible successors include Alain Kinsch, a former managing partner of Ernst & Young Luxembourg, and Education Minister Claude Meisch, the Wort reported. Both were considered for the finance portfolio in 2013, the newspaper said. 

Gramegna also will not run in the 2023 national elections, DP President and Family Affairs Minister Corinne Cahen told the Luxembourg Times.

Gramegna has spent his tenure in government defending Luxembourg's financial centre, the home of the world's second-largest investment fund industry with assets worth €4.7 trillion, from critics who labelled the country as a tax-avoidance haven. The DP statement praised Gramegna for his dedication to ensuring Luxembourg's financial industry was both transparent and competitive, "which responds to international standards."

The year after Gramegna stepped into his finance role, the so-called "LuxLeaks" scandal revealed in 2014 that the country's officials had tailor-made tax deals with around 300 major companies. 

Earlier this year, the "OpenLux" investigation by a consortium of journalists alleged that Luxembourg did not do enough to stop the rich, criminal and powerful from hiding their money in the country. Gramegna then twice refused to offer voluntary testimony to an EU parliament committee to discuss the allegations that Luxembourg created a new route since the 2014 "LuxLeaks" revelations for companies and funds to enjoy special tax treatment.

Gramegna defended Luxembourg's country's financial sector after February's "OpenLux" allegations that Russian and Italian mafia gangs were among those able to hide money in the Grand Duchy. He accused EU neighbours of jealousy that motivated the published claims.

"People think we have cheated because we are so successful,” Gramegna said in parliament the day after the investigation slamming Luxembourg's financial transparency laws as ineffective.

In September, Luxembourg abstained from an EU vote to introduce country-by-country tax reporting, which would force large, multinational corporations disclose how much tax they paid in each country. The Grand Duchy in February protested against the legal procedure that the EU used to push through the planned directive but said it would not object to the plans.  

Prior to joining the government, Gramegna was the head of the country’s Chamber of Commerce for a decade. Before that, he had a 20-year career as a diplomat representing Luxembourg in France, the US, Japan and South Korea.

Two other government ministers, Labour Minister Dan Kersch and Agriculture Minister Romain Schneider, confirmed at a press conference of their social-democratic LSAP party on Tuesday that they are also leaving their posts.

(Additional reporting by Douwe Miedema)

The Luxembourg Times has a new mobile app, download here! Get the Luxembourg Times delivered to your inbox twice a day. Sign up for your free newsletters here.

More on this topic