Luxembourg PM outlines EU presidency priorities
(CS) Prime Minister Xavier Bettel on Tuesday said that Luxembourg's presidency of the Council of the European Union would take place under the banner of citizens, growth, investment, innovation and sustainability.
Speaking in parliament, Bettel said that the presidency was a big responsibility but also a unique opportunity for Luxembourg.
He commented that the Grand Duchy could help shine a light on the 500 million citizens of the EU and focus on regaining their trust for a union of which Luxembourg was a founding member. Bettel said that the EU's achievements needed to be highlighted – freedom and peace, but also protection, security and rights.
But the presidency is also about giving people hope, Bettel said, “perspectives for a better future.” To achieve this, new movement was needed in the labour market and the economy, with Luxembourg hopeful to implement a road map for industrial competitivity during the presidency.
Other issues on the agenda will be SMEs and research and innovation in Europe, but also social justice.
TTIP, climate and migrants
Furthermore, Bettel said that Luxembourg is committed to a broad discussion of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the US. The Luxembourg Premier said that TTIP needed to come out of the darkroom, calling on the Commission to organise a public conference.
“We want to give national representatives of unions, businesses and the general public the opportunity to discuss this agreement,” he said.
In light of the recent migrant boat tragedies, Bettel commented that this will be an issue Luxembourg will need to address during its six-month presidency, that begins on July 1. “We do not want to run away from that responsibility,” Bettel said, adding that Luxembourg itself was working on finding ways to welcome more people in need of help and assistance.
However, the Premier also said that preventative measures needed to be taken to show up perspectives for people in their countries of origin, with Luxembourg's “ambitious goals in the area of cooperation policy” to serve as a means to convince the country's international partners “to help, where help is urgently needed.”