Why does Luxembourg continue to attract so many cross-border workers?May 2019
In spite of its small surface area, the Grand Duchy continues to attract skills from all over Europe. A symbolic milestone was passed in 2018, when the number of commuters reached 100,000. This is the count of French cross-border workers who every day make the journey to this country located at the heart of European exchanges. This figure will rise to close to 150,000 over the next 15 years.
This country owes its prosperity historically to its steel industry, and more recently to its financial sector. But, contrary to widespread preconceptions, it also owes it to the diversification of its economy in the industrial domain and the development of services, and to an unprecedented social policy constructed by consensus through coalition agreements and co-construction with the social partners, which provide services to employees. With a minimum wage at 1 January 2019 of €2071.10 gross per month and an increase of €200 scheduled during the year, Luxembourg holds the record for the highest minimum wage in Europe.
Its family policy (benefits, significant subsidies for pre-school childcare) also contributes to this attractiveness.
Moreover, it has been announced that childcare centres and music lessons will be made free. From the earliest age, children learn three languages and this has an impact on the country’s ability to export and to be open to the world. The country has high levels of immigration, and it is clear that this contributes to its prosperity.
These elements reinforce this attractiveness among cross-border workers, who have become essential to Luxembourg’s economic model. Efforts are now being focused on mobility, as it is undeniable that the territory is lagging behind somewhat in this area, which has a negative impact on quality of life due to the dominance of individual car use.
The investment announced (infrastructure projects but also free public transport, a worldwide first for a whole country) will make it possible to partly catch up in the Grand Duchy, but cross-border co-development has become urgent and necessary.
The remaining challenge is to open up a new reservoir of growth, as the first hiring difficulties are appearing in Luxembourg. This is a huge area for co-development that needs to draw on all of the stakeholders in North Lorraine as well as those among our Luxembourg friends, so that everyone in their area of responsibility “produces” innovative projects that build connections and create value added for the benefit of both sides of the border.
Article written by “Grand Est Cross-Border Workers”.
Read the editorial by Edouard Jacque, President of Grand Est Cross-Border Workers; Regional Councillor, Grand Est Region.