The Minister of Public Service and Minister Delegate for Digitalization, Marc Hansen, defended the government’s record on Saturday and praised its management of the coronavirus crisis.
The DP minister stressed that “what people are interested in” is how the government has handled the coronavirus crisis.
‘Everything else’ – scandals such as accusations of intimidation against former DP member Monica Semedo, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel’s plagiarism case and criticism of Corinne Cahen linked to deaths in nursing homes – “All of that is now over,” Hansen said. said in an interview on RTL Radio.
According to the Minister, people “know very well” what to think of the government’s work. And while polls suggest 75% of the population support Covid-19 measures, Hansen says he is “optimistic” about the October 2023 election.
Hansen describes his own result in the last election (8,500 votes) as “a marked improvement” on 2018 (6,000). For Hansen, a satirical joke from the reporter.lu site suggesting that no one knows him is “perfect”.
The Minister explained that this perfectly summed up his preferred way of working. “I’m not one of those people who comes to your door every day to kick your door down with a scoop,” he said. After investigation, Hansen denied that the statement was aimed at other ministers.
3.8 million digital procedures
Marc Hansen is Minister Delegate for Digitalization and Administrative Reform as well as Minister for the Civil Service. The government’s warning systems have been criticized on several occasions lately, notably during the severe floods of July 2021 where the Gouvalert mobile application sent alerts very late.
Asked about it, Hansen said the app has been improved since then. During the recent storm on Friday, warnings were sent by SMS, which were distributed by suppliers to anyone in Luxembourg territory at the time. It “worked out pretty well,” according to Hansen, who added that a debriefing was to follow in the coming days.
Due to the pandemic, the Grand Duchy is “in another place” when it comes to digitization, the minister said. Before the pandemic, the state recorded around 300,000 digital procedures by individuals and businesses. In 2021, this figure was 3.8 million.
Another example: before 2020, virtually no state employees worked from home, a situation that has changed significantly since then. Hansen also championed all government initiatives to support people and ensure no one is left behind. He dismissed criticism that Luxembourg’s network is below average, pointing out that Luxembourg is among the best-connected countries and ranks 6th in the European e-government index.
For a “strong” public service
Hansen also defended the importance of a “strong” civil service and criticized those who use stereotypes to pit the public and private sectors against each other. The minister wondered if it was really a bad thing when people move from the private sector to the state. After all, Hansen argued, business demands an effective public service.
In the last wage agreement of 2021, the General Confederation of Public Service (CGFP) agreed to waive an increase in their wages due to the crisis. When asked if this moment is beneficial to him, since he can distribute “gifts” in the next wage agreement before the election, the minister repeatedly stressed that he was not thinking of handing out gifts and that he was simply there ‘to make sure the government worked efficiently’.
The index finger is here to stay
Due to recent events, Hansen was also asked about the situation in Ukraine. The Minister explained that what is more important to him than possible sanctions or economic consequences is the fact that there are “innocent people, who have nothing to do with anything” “both sides of the Ukrainian-Russian border”.
Nevertheless, Hansen confirmed that the government is “preparing for the consequences”. Finance Minister Yuriko Backes is working on measures to mitigate the impact of even higher energy prices, Hansen said. Thanks to the index, Luxembourg is “already better prepared than other countries”, declared the minister, before emphasizing that the index is here to stay.