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"Stop Luxembourg clichés" says Bettel in Euronews interview
Luxembourg

"Stop Luxembourg clichés" says Bettel in Euronews interview

1 2 min. 21.12.2013 From our online archive
After a meeting in Brussels Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel gave a frank interview with European news network Euronews about taking over the role from Jean-Claude Juncker and answering those, now standard, Luxembourg tax evasion questions.
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(ADW) After a meeting in Brussels Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel gave a frank interview with European news network Euronews about taking over the role from Jean-Claude Juncker and answering those, now standard, Luxembourg tax evasion questions.

Starting off the interview, Euronews interviewer Audrey Tilve began with what she admitted was a “slightly annoying question” as to whether it was burdensome to be in Juncker’s shadow”

"No, he has certainly made his mark on summits, but now people will have to do with someone else, and I can tell you the welcome has been very, very warm. Thanks to the people of Luxembourg who made a choice and a parliamentary majority, I've been able to be present among my colleagues today”, replied Bettel.

This led the journalist on to ask just how Xavier Bettel would “stand out” from his predecessor.

"It's not a case of wanting to stand out or be different, each has his own style. All I want is to continue in a pro-European, friendly spirit, not confrontational but trying to find solutions” Bettel explained before quipping, “and above all what I appreciate is respect, since I recognise I am not Prime Minister of the biggest country."

Then came the financial questions and whether Luxembourg would cave into pressure from European partners regarding the fact that the Grand Duchy would stop “blocking a measure aimed at stopping tax evasion via trusts and funds”.

Bettel’s reply was clear: "Well firstly it's not only Luxembourg, its Austria and Luxembourg which have a common position on this, and that's a commitment that we undertook in May, to say that we agreed for the Savings Directive to be set in motion, on the condition that we negotiate with five non-EU countries, including Switzerland, and this wasn't done”.

Continuing in his direct firm response the Prime Minister said “quite simply both Luxembourg and Austria are beginning to have enough of people just seeing us a country that shelters people fleeing taxes or whatever, we've signed more than 60 engagements with other countries. From 1st January 2015 there will be an automatic exchange of information, so these clichés must stop which I think are more about damaging Luxembourg than anything else”, he said bluntly.

Bettel concluded the interview by saying, “in any case that’s not the spirit in which I've come here saying that I want to defend that image of Luxembourg”.