Democratic deficit 'most glaring inequality' in Luxembourg
(CS) A report on migrant integration policies has concluded that Luxembourg is “one of the most exclusive national democracies in the developed world,” adding that democratic inclusion is “probably the most glaring inequality” in the country today.
According to the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX), Luxembourg has the largest share of adults disenfranchised in national elections of “any of the developed democracies”, due to its high proportion of foreign residents barred from voting in general elections.
While a June 7 referendum ruled out changes to legislation on foreigner voting rights, the MIPEX also found that regulation on voting in local elections was more inclusive in other EU countries, such as Ireland and the Nordics, with shorter periods of residence required.
The report was more positive on the role of and support for consultative bodies and associations representing immigrant communities. It also said that foreign residents enjoyed the same basic political liberties as nationals and welcomed the possibility for non-nationals to run in local elections.
As a solution to the issue, the report proposed easing access to nationality. “Luxembourg can only avoid becoming an ageing and shrinking democracy by facilitating naturalisation for the second and long-settles first generation and/or building support again for national voting rights,” the MIPEX said.
On the whole, however, Luxembourg ranked above average on migrant policies, coming 15th out of 38 countries assessed. These include all EU member states, as well as Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, Iceland, the US, New Zealand and Norway.
In eight different categories Luxembourg ranked as follows:
- Labour market mobility – 30 out of 38
- Family reunion – 15 out of 38
- Education – 15 out of 38
- Health – 22 out of 38
- Political participation – 2 out of 38
- Permanent residence – 14 out of 38
- Access to nationality – 7 out of 38
- Anti-discrimination – 29 out of 38
There was a generally positive assessment of integration policy, with pro-immigrant attitudes held by a “large majority of Luxembourg residents who agree that immigrants enrich Luxembourg culturally and economically.” Allowing foreigners to stand in local elections boosted the political participation ranking, while the welcome and integration contract was also seen as beneficial.
On the other hand, migrants were seen to be at a higher risk of falling into poverty, with children often disadvantaged at school. Additionally, anti-discrimination efforts need to be made, the report concluded, for example by raising awareness about the rights of victims of discrimination, as well as keeping statistics on the issue and offering more effective support.
For the full Luxembourg country file visit mipex.eu
A full ranking of all 38 countries is not yet available, but will be presented at the end of the month after presentations on all countries individually have concluded.