Romain Schmit (Fédération des Artisans): A Look at the Luxembourg Economy
The Luxembourg economy in 2023, the year of the Luxembourg elections, looks like a mixed bag. While the financial sector is resilient, certain sectors such as industry, crafts, trade, and catering seem to be experiencing more difficulties.
In this election year, how do you analyze the Luxembourg economy?
The car dealership sector, despite three very difficult years due to the health crisis, is holding its own. The artisanal food sectors are still suffering: The main causes are the soaring prices of energy and raw materials, to which will be added the increase in salaries and above all the forthcoming changes to salary bands. The construction sector is the most exposed. Developers and STATEC expect a drastic reduction in housing sales - especially flats - to around 1,550 units. A situation similar to that in Germany at the end of the 1990s, where the crisis in the sector led to the loss of many companies and the departure of many workers, must be avoided.
"We have made proposals to stabilize the construction sector over the next two years. We are eagerly awaiting the housing conference announced by the government at the end of February so that we can launch initiatives to safeguard a sector that the country will need in the coming years to face the future.”
What does the craft industry represent in the Luxembourg economy?
According to Romain Schmit, Luxembourg's craft industry symbolizes the link between the country's past and its future:
- 20% of economic activity
- 20% of employment
- 6% in terms of investments
- More than 100,000 jobs
- Some 7,000 independent entrepreneurs and their families.
The craft industry is a formidable tool for social integration to improve the quality of life; a vector of diversity with the integration of foreigners into the local labor market; a valuable means of training; and a supplier of quality goods and services. Finally, it gives a unique face to the towns and villages of Luxembourg.
If you had a three-point priority program to propose to politicians, what would it be?
Romain Schmit proposes guidelines to politicians to safeguard local crafts:
1. Relevant laws. For the next five years, streamline the legislative process by abolishing laws rather than creating new ones, and eliminate the existing legal and regulatory maze.
2. Social protection of the self-employed. It needs to be accompanied by equal treatment for all citizens.
3. Work flexibility. The current system of work organization is outdated and inapplicable to today's working world. The world of politics must be better connected to the reality of business in order to implement all the necessary changes.