Who will succeed Luc Frieden?
(CS) With finance ministers playing an increasingly important role in the world of international politics, Luxembourg will soon have to find a replacement for Luc Frieden, not only to sort out the Grand Duchy's finances, but also to represent the country on a European and global level.
Few details have so far been announced by the coalition partners on the new cabinet. Only three posts have been confirmed. It is known that Xavier Bettel will be the next Premier and Etienne Schneider will take on the double duty of being Vice-PM and Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade – a post he has filled for over a year now.
The finance minister traditionally works closely together with the Prime Minister, but while the role is incredibly important it is also not a very popular job. After all, finance ministers in times of financial crisis usually come with bad news of tighter budgets, cuts and austerity measures.
In Luxembourg there are several candidates who are being touted as possible successors to outgoing Finance Minister Luc Frieden.
One of them is the DP's Claude Meisch. During the elections campaign he had put a special focus on finances and the state budget. However, with his experience as a mayor, Meisch is also handled as a possible candidate to head the Interior Ministry.
At a recent business lunch hosted by STEP Benelux, government “formateur” Bettel meanwhile commented that he would welcome a member of the financial sector in Luxembourg to the post. The mayor of Luxembourg City commented that someone with the right expertise and experience was needed, and that that person did not have to necessarily come from a party-political background.
This could leave the way open for Ernst & Young's Alain Kinsch, who is also a member of the DP. While the nomination of Kinsch to be a part of the DP's coalition talk delegation had raised some eyebrows, Kinsch may well be under consideration for the job of finance minister.
However, the other coalition partners should not be forgotten. Alex Bodry, for example, is one of the LSAP's most experienced politicians, and the Greens' François Bausch has commented in an interview that he could envision working on a more “classical political” dossier.
Another option could be a reshuffle of the ministries. As in other European countries, this could see the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economy merged into a larger entity, and Schneider in charge of this “super-ministry”.
Whatever the outcome of negotiations, details about the new cabinet are not expected to be announced until December 3, on which day the coalition parties will be presented with the coalition agreement put together by their respective delegations.
Who knows, maybe there is a surprise in store.
With reporting by Christoph Bumb