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TTIP needs broad debate, says Luxembourg PM
Luxembourg

TTIP needs broad debate, says Luxembourg PM

2 min. 19.03.2015 From our online archive
European leaders are meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, with Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel saying ahead of the spring summit that TTIP should not be negotiated behind closed doors.
Xavier Bettel - Photo : Pierre Matge

(CS) European leaders are meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, with Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel saying ahead of the spring summit that TTIP should not be negotiated behind closed doors.

In an interview with the “Luxemburger Wort”, Bettel touched on a number of topics that are on the agenda for the summit.

Among the issues up for discussion is the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and the EU.

“The Luxembourg government is not against TTIP,” Bettel commented, “but we are against European values being thrown overboard because of TTIP.” The Premier added that he would like TTIP to be more broadly discussed with the wider public.

“TTIP does not belong in a darkroom;” Bettel said, “we want to make that clear during the upcoming Luxembourg EU presidency.”

Greece and Ukraine

Elsewhere, Bettel said that he is against a debt cut for Greece but open to extending maturities. Explaining that the situation with Greece feels like taking “one step forward and two steps back,” the Luxembourg Premier added that the issue also resolves around trust and responsibility.

“I need to be sure that my negotiating partner fulfils the obligations he enters,” Bettel said. “This trust to the Greek government is getting more and more brittle. We are going to hit a wall, if this continues!”

The conflict between Russia and the Ukraine is also set to be discussed at the European summit in Brussels, with more sanctions possibly in the cards.

“Since the beginning of the conflict Luxembourg has supported for sanctions to be imposed depending the development of the situation,” Bettel explained. Following the Minsk talks, the situation in the region has somewhat deescalated, he added, saying that this was not the right time for further sanctions. “New sanctions would not be conducive to this development, which points in the right direction.”

Tax transparency for everyone

While the waves surrounding the LuxLeaks scandal have somewhat settled, the European Commission is working on EU rules on tax transparency and cooperation.

“We want rules that apply to all 28,” Bettel commented. “If that is the case, the Luxembourg government will fully support the Commission suggestions. We want a level playing field at EU level, preferably at the level of OECD countries.”

Other topics up for discussion between EU leaders will be the energy union and the so-called Juncker-plan. While details for the second item are yet to be determined - “there has not been a decision on concrete projects, neither in Luxembourg nor elsewhere” - the Grand Duchy could ruffle some feathers in regards to the energy union.

“Unlike the Commission Luxembourg does not see nuclear energy as viable. It is not a secure technology,” he said. Bettel also said that the energy union focuses a lot on climate change, but that other elements need to be taken into consideration, such as country development and agriculture.

The summit will also mark a reunion of the current PM with his predecessor Jean-Claude Juncker, who was elected European Commission President last year.

“I am looking forward to seeing him again. We have a good relationship.”

Interview by Pierre Leyers & Marc Schlammes