Etienne Schneider is on course to become the LSAP’s lead candidate in the elections after Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn and party chairman Alex Bodry said that they would not stand in his way. In an interview for Luxemburger Wort, Schneider says that Luxembourg needs to break with old habits and modernize. If the LSAP wins the elections, he wants to protect the welfare state and tackle overdue reforms.
Etienne Schneider: Asselborn’s deserves a lot of respect. We discussed the issue internally within the party on Thursday, and Jean Asselborn said himself that he would clear the way. Alex Bodry then said that he would seek the lead position in the interest of a new beginning. This decision also deserves respect. In light of these internal developments, I will put myself forward as a lead candidate.
Luxemburger Wort: As the lead candidate, you are supposed to drive the LSAP to a fresh start. What will be your focus?
Etienne Schneider: I will present my ideas at the party congress next week. Generally speaking, my focus will be on tackling reforms. Metaphorically speaking, we need to open the windows in our country and let in a good breeze of fresh air. This applies to the institutions, but also to the procedures. We need to rethink old habits, break away from outdated practices and modernize the country.
Luxemburger Wort: What would be an example?
Etienne Schneider: The current model dates back to the 80s. It is outdated. We need to give hope to people again, make the country more competitive and create new jobs, so that we can maintain the welfare state. The social model must be sustained and strengthened, the social dialogue revived.
Luxemburger Wort: Your critics claim that you lack experience and have only taken part in a few election campaigns.
Etienne Schneider: I don’t care. But I want to point out that the same was true for Jean-Claude Juncker once. And look where this has led him. Whether it’s your first, second or third election campaign is not relevant in itself. Of course, if we are betting on a renewal and a fresh start, we can’t be putting forward the same candidate for the seventh time.
Luxemburger Wort: You have compared yourself to Jean-Claude Juncker. Are you also eyeing the post of Prime Minister?
Etienne Schneider: Obviously, we are running a campaign to win the elections. That’s our primary goal. We want to carry out reforms in the interest of the country – reform that have been avoided so far or which lacked the necessary courage.
(Source: Luxemburg Wort / translation by luxpol)