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National airline Luxair berated the Luxembourg government for keeping tough pandemic travel restrictions in place even as neighbouring countries are reopening their borders, saying it was losing business and that it felt "disadvantaged" compared to other forms of transport.
The state-owned carrier suffered a drop in leisure traffic on its London City route at the start of the year, causing passenger numbers to plummet, the company told the Luxembourg Times on Thursday.
“Luxair strongly believes that Luxembourg should lift travel restrictions for British travellers, like neighbouring countries have done," the company said in an email. "It is, indeed, difficult for Luxair and its customers to understand why this is not the case yet,” the company said.
Luxembourg is just one of four EU states - besides Bulgaria, Slovakia and Sweden - that bars entry for British citizens even if they are fully vaccinated, according to the wanderlust travel portal.
A prominent member of the Saudi royal family acquired a Luxembourg holding company this year to invest in a range of businesses around the world, the company register shows, just as such legal structures have become the focus of international attention for escaping supervision.
The businessman, Prince Sultan bin Fahd, is the grandson of King Abdulaziz and the nephew of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto leader of the monarchy. He features prominently in Saudi sports associations and is listed as the Executive Chairman of Saudi Arabia's Eirad Holdings.
"Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Fahad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, born August 19, 1982 in Taif in Saudi Arabia" bought all the shares of LWM Coporate Services Limited in March 2021, according to company filings in Luxembourg.
A former Belgian government minister and member of the EU’s budget watchdog, the Luxembourg-based European Court of Auditors (ECA), has been ordered to forfeit two-thirds of his ECA pension by the bloc’s highest court for abuse of expenses.
Karel Pinxten’s actions, which included using an ECA card to buy fuel for other people’s vehicles, had inflicted “serious damage” on the “image and reputation” of the guardian of the EU’s finances, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on Thursday.
The ECA agreed to comply with a demand by the Luxembourg judiciary to lift immunity - automatically granted to one of their members - while the bloc's budget watchdog requested that the ECJ impose a sanction on Pinxten.
Luxembourg, a country struggling to shake off its own reputation as a tax haven, has abstained from an EU vote to introduce country-by-country tax reporting, which will see large multinationals with annual incomes of more than €750m forced to disclose how much tax they pay in each country.
The Grand Duchy had protested against the legal procedure that the EU used to push through the planned directive when the bloc’s economy ministers informally adopted the measures in February. However, it added at the time that it would not formally object to the plans.
A total of 21 EU countries backed the motion, the European Council said on Tuesday, paving the way for final approval by the European Parliament. Luxembourg joined three countries – the Republic of Ireland, Malta and the Czech Republic – in abstaining, while Cyprus and Sweden voted against.
A second government minister has distanced herself from a once widely publicised promise to legalise cannabis, the next sign Luxembourg may scrap the proposal in a major policy u-turn for the country.
The plan drew widespread international attention when it was announced three years ago by the three-party coalition of the Democratic Party (DP), Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP) and Greens (Déi Gréng), as it meant Luxembourg would be the first country in Europe to legalise cannabis.
However, the issue has so far stalled and difficulties in complying with EU legislation would mean full legalisation is unlikely, Health Minister Paulette Lenert told public broadcaster Radio 100,7 on Tuesday.