Around 47% of Luxembourg’s population are non-nationals, in addition to more than 200,000 cross-border workers who commute in the country. The share of foreigners is higher in some communes than in others, with Luxembourg City standing out with a non-national population of more than 70%.
Luxembourg’s Minister for Family Affairs and Integration , Corrine Cahen presented the draft law on 7th February on intercultural living together and integration of foreigners into the society. The current welcome and integration contract is open to foreign residents only, providing discount vouchers for language courses as well as civic education lessons that can be credited towards obligations to acquire dual nationality at a later stage.
The OECD in 2021 criticized Luxembourg’s integration programmes. Despite its a flurry of initiatives to integrate or learn one of Luxembourg’s official languages wasn’t effective and lacked coordination.
Following a public consultation, the present draft law provides a global overhaul of the instruments of intercultural living together and repeals the amended law of 16 December 2008 on the integration of foreigners in the Grand Duchy. The draft law aims to implement intercultural living through national action plan, a citizen’s impact, municipal pact.
The national action plan defines the strategic axes of intercultural living together, the political orientations and objectives as well as the actions and measures to be implemented. The citizens' pact is a moral commitment that people who live or work in Luxembourg can sign to subscribe to the values of intercultural living together.
This signature gives them access to the intercultural living together programme, which will replace the current welcome and integration contract and the accompanied integration pathway to offer a catalogue of learning modules and information about the Grand Duchy. It is open to residents and cross-border workers.
According to the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region, it will be continuously adapted to the needs of people living in the country and aims at an immersive approach that allows participants to discover the functioning of the country by putting them in contact with national and local actors and by promoting dialogue and exchange with other people living or working in Luxembourg.
Moreover, the new municipal pact aims to support Luxembourg's municipalities in the implementation of their strategy at local level. In addition to financial aid, which contributes to the costs of a pact coordinator and subsidises the implementation of measures in the municipality, the pact also offers support to the signatory municipalities by intercultural living together advisors, who are State employees.
At the national level, the draft law aims to create a council (Conseil supérieur) which participates in the implementation of intercultural living together. This will replace the current inter-ministerial committee on integration and the National Council for Foreigners. It is composed of representatives of the State, civil society and municipalities. The focus is on the municipalities, which, according to the Family Affairs Ministry, is justified by the fact that barriers to living together are most often identified at local level and the specificities of each region and municipality must be transmitted to the national level to ensure a coherent national strategy. The ministry assured that in all the measures and bodies set up under this draft law, the fight against racism and all forms of discrimination at the level of the municipality is a key and transversal element.
The draft law also defines the financial aid that the State can grant in the field of intercultural living together. This may take the form of a subsidy, a financial contribution to operating costs or a financial contribution to investment costs.