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Yuriko Backes (Minister of Finance): Finance and Diplomacy

In January 2022, Yuriko Backes became the first woman in Luxembourg's history to hold the post of Finance Minister. She took over from Pierre Gramegna, who also brought a strong diplomatic dimension to a key position for an international financial centre. At nearly 51 years of age, she says she is ready to take up the challenge.

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Strong ties with Japan

Yuriko Backes' background may seem atypical: born in Japan, the Finance Minister has very close ties with her childhood country. In love with the culture and beauty of that land, she returns there frequently and gave her second son, born in Tokyo, a Japanese name, as her mother had done before her. After studying in Germany and England, the first woman to be appointed Marshal of the Grand Ducal Court went on to carry out several missions abroad. Passionate about foreign languages and multiculturalism, a graduate of the London School of Economics and the College of Europe in Bruges, Yuriko Backes decided to become politically active to represent the interests of her country. In 2010, she joined the cabinet of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, marking the beginning of a long political adventure.

 

A woman at the decision-making table

Yuriko Backes has gradually made her way into the political sphere. In 2010, Jean-Claude Juncker, then Prime Minister, hired her as diplomatic adviser. Three years later, when Xavier Bettel succeeded Jean-Claude Juncker, she remained at his side, then embarked on a new challenge by becoming the European Commission's representative in Luxembourg. This European adventure allowed her to gain experience and consolidate her network, in contact with European Commissioners and Directors-General. In a political world where men hold most strategic positions, she wants to break the codes and give confidence to women who are still hesitant to enter politics.

 

Climate change and support for businesses: major challenges

At nearly 51 years old, the former diplomatic adviser became Minister of Finance without ever having had a party card in the DP. She says that she made this decision after careful consideration and in consultation with her family. She shares the values of the Democratic Party and is preparing to take on several major challenges: climate issues, carbon neutrality, biodiversity, the economy, support for businesses and gender equality, to name but a few. Yuriko Bakes says she is ready to take up the challenge. Once again, the leaders in power have opted for a diplomat rather than a technician. A validation, no doubt, of Pierre Gramegna's successful track record.

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