Open session

Swearing in of two new Municipal Councillors

1. City's finances:

  • Introduction by Mayor Lydie Polfer
  • Finance Committee's report, prepared by Councillor Robert L. Philippart
  • amended budget for 2023 and draft budget for 2024: presentation by Maurice Bauer, Alderman for finances.

2. Municipal Councillors' questions.

3. Traffic: permanent amendments to the traffic regulations – confirmation of temporary regulations – decision.

4. Agreements – approval.

5. Amendment to the tax regulations (all amendments will come into effect on 1 January 2024): – decision.

  • Amendment to Chapter C-2: Courses for adults: amendment to Articles 1 and 2
  • Amendment to Chapter E-2: SOS Seniors
  • Amendment to Chapter G-1: Swimming pools: amendment to Articles 1 and 2
  • Amendment to Chapter G-4: Tourist tax (taxe de séjour): amendment to Articles 1 and 2
  • Introduction of new Chapter G-5: Bicycle rentals and repairs (following the takeover of Delta ASBL's activities)
  • Amendment to Chapter H-4: Pavements: amendment to Article 1
  • Amendment to Chapter H-5: Markets and fairs: amendment to Article 10

6. Amendment to the municipal regulation of 10 February 2012 introducing a social solidarity benefit (règlement communal du 10 février 2012 créant une allocation de solidarité) – decision.

7. Municipal regulation on municipal subsidies for individual flood protection measures for buildings – approval.

8. Mandate to be given by the Municipal Council to the College of Aldermen for the sale of municipal vehicles in 2024 – decision.

Closed session

9. Proposal to appoint Laurent Mosar as alderman by the Minister of the Interior

10. Replacement of Serge Wilmes as delegate to the SIDOR Committee

11. Replacement of Serge Wilmes as delegate to the Minett-Kompost Committee

12. Replacement of Serge Wilmes as alternate delegate for public transport

13. Replacement of Elisabeth Margue as delegate to the SICEC Committee

14. Quattropole – Replacement of Corinne Cahen as the City of Luxembourg representative at the QuattroPole ASBL General Meeting

15. Advisory Committees: replacement of members.

16. Personnel matters – decision.

Live broadcast of meetings

Watch the video recording of this session.

Summary record

Municipal Councillors' questions

Finalisation of the City of Luxembourg mobility plan

Question posed by François Benoy

We have been talking about the City of Luxembourg mobility plan for a long time. Work on it started in mid-2021, and it was supposed to be completed in late 2022. In early 2023, the College of Aldermen in office at the time responded to an enquiry we submitted by saying that the mobility plan would not be completed before the next term. We asked the same question again in July 2023, and it was announced that the mobility plan would be completed after the summer holidays. During the Municipal Council meeting on 25 September 2023, the alderman for transport said that the plan would be presented to the College of Aldermen on 2 October. Now, two months later, the plan still has not been presented to the Advisory Committee or the Municipal Council. The finalisation of this vital document is more than a year behind schedule.

Was the draft mobility plan presented to the College of Aldermen on 2 October 2023 as scheduled? If so, what conclusions did the College of Aldermen draw from it? When will the mobility plan be finalised so it can be presented to the relevant Advisory Committee, the Municipal Council and the public? Will this be a draft or the final version? If it is a draft, another public consultation should be conducted. To be sure, a number of advocacy groups and politicians participated in the Mobilitätsbeirat (mobility steering committee), but given that the College of Aldermen is responsible for finalising the plan, it would be important to conduct a public consultation so that everyone has the opportunity to voice their opinion. The final version of the mobility plan should not get the stamp of approval until after this is done, as was the case for the Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (Plan national intégré énergie-climat – PNEC). The final version should then be presented to the Municipal Council so that we can discuss it before taking a vote, which would be a key step for such a major document.

Response provided by Alderman Patrick Goldschmidt

It is true that the mobility plan was supposed to be completed in late 2022. However, we fell behind schedule during the drafting phase. The College of Aldermen did want to present the document in 2023, but this turned out to be unfeasible.

Over the years that we have been working on the plan, there have been several public consultations. In addition, advocacy groups had the opportunity to make their contributions within the framework of the Mobilitätsbeirat. We are currently working with external consultants to finalise the mobility plan. These consultants were of course present during the public consultation and the Mobilitätsbeirat. Based on these initiatives, we produced a report on the current situation, and discussions were held on the direction we want to take and what measures will be necessary.

The mobility plan was not presented to the College of Aldermen on 2 October, but it was presented the following week. Representatives from the Direction Mobilité (Transport Directorate) and Service Circulation (Traffic Department) addressed the preliminary conclusions, specifically with regard to the current situation. The College of Aldermen approves the plans to implement by 2035–2040, but additional studies will be conducted so as to achieve certain short-term goals, such as the easing of traffic all over the city, drawing up a plan of concrete measures for active travel, and overhauling the regulations on residential parking. These studies will be conducted while the mobility plan is being developed. Nonetheless, we cannot wait for these studies to be completed, and we will present the mobility plan to the relevant advisory committee within two or three weeks after the Carnival holidays. At the same time, the plan will also be presented to the press, all of the advocacy groups involved, and the public. The final document, which will be publicly accessible, will contain proposals for the College of Aldermen and the Municipal Council, and will constitute a working document for the coming years.

Question posed by François Benoy

Will this be a final document or will another public consultation be conducted? Up until now, a consultation was held within the framework of the Mobilitätsbeirat, but the documents were not approved at that point. As I just said, we think it would be important to make sure that the Municipal Council can discuss the plan, and to give all stakeholders and residents the opportunity to express their views on the current draft before we approve the final version of the mobility plan. You mentioned the Carnival holidays. I imagine you meant the 2024 Carnival holidays?

Response provided by Alderman Patrick Goldschmidt

Yes, I was referring to the 2024 Carnival holidays. We are going to present the mobility plan to the Municipal Council, discuss it and, if applicable, take a vote on it. This is a working document for the City of Luxembourg's departments that shows what direction we need to take. The mobility plan goes far beyond political considerations, for example, regarding the location of this or that car park. It is a detailed analysis, and I don't think we should amend it just yet. The document was drafted by external consultants who were given a lot of leeway, and we consulted with all of the relevant stakeholders. I am confident that the Municipal Council will approve the plan and that the plan will lay a solid foundation for the next 10 to 15 years.

Christmas lights and energy conservation during festivities

Question posed by Linda Gaasch

Winterlights 2023 officially kicked off on Friday, 24 November, and Christmas markets were set up around the city. The press had informed the public about the hours and details of the event beforehand. At that time, the decision to extend the hours during which the Winterlights would light up the city had been partially discussed and even criticised. However, the College of Aldermen had stressed that the festivities would prioritise conserving energy.

How much energy did Winterlights consume in past years? How much energy do you anticipate it will consume this year? What measures have been taken to save energy?

Can the College of Aldermen confirm that the Christmas lights will also be kept on during the day and after the Christmas markets close? If so, why?

More generally, to what extent has the City stepped up its efforts to save energy on public lighting, as is recommended in ministerial circulars no. 4182 of 6 October 2022, no. 2023-071 of 12 June 2023 and no. 2023-135 of 24 October 2023? Is the "Leitfaden für gutes Licht im Außenraum" ("Guidelines for good lighting in outside areas") guide being implemented?

Response provided by Alderman Patrick Goldschmidt

The Wanterpark on the Kinnekswiss consumed 165,000 kilowatt hours in 2021. In 2022, when there was no ice rink, it consumed 115,000 kilowatt hours. This means that the ice rink consumes roughly the same amount of energy as 10 to 15 individual houses do in one year. We believe this amount is totally acceptable, given that the ice rink adds significant value to the Winterlights programme.

As for the stalls, the City has no information on their energy consumption, because stall operators pay for their own electricity. We have asked the fairground merchants not to install heaters in front of the stalls.

The Winterlights press release contained an error: the Christmas lights are not turned on at 11:00, but at 16:00. They are turned off at 23:00 from Sunday to Thursday, and at midnight on Friday and and Saturday. In 2022, consumption amounted to around 30,000 kilowatt hours, down from 85,500 kilowatt hours in 2021, when the Christmas lights still stayed on for 19 hours a day.

Also keep in mind that since 2010, the City has been using LED bulbs for the Christmas lights.

In keeping with the energy savings measures approved in September 2022, the City reduced the number of hours of public lighting and of illumination of the Ban de Gasperich water tower and the old fortifications and cliff faces. As a result, the energy consumption of public lighting fell by 411.6 megawatt hours in 2022, which is a 9.1% reduction compared to the previous year, and a 0.75% reduction in Luxembourg City's total annual electricity consumption. We know that this is less than 1%, but every percent saved is an accomplishment, especially since savings certainly don't hurt anyone.

For safety reasons, turning off all public lighting at night is not an option.

The "Leitfaden für gutes Licht im Außenbereich" guide is being implemented in Luxembourg City, but its guidelines apply only to normal public lighting, and not the Christmas lights. Since September 2022, public lighting has been on for one hour less than in the past, a schedule that now aligns with the national standard.

We plan to continue seeking ways to save energy, and we have also encouraged the operators of the Christmas market stalls to continue making their own efforts.

Cancellation of the Israel booth at the International Bazar

Question posed by Tom Weidig

During the 2023 International Bazaar – where every country can have a booth to present its culture in an apolitical setting – there was no Israel booth because the people in charge of it said they had been asked not to participate this year.

According to the people in charge of the Israel booth, they received a letter saying, "We have no choice but to take the difficult and sad decision to urge you not to participate in this year's International Bazar. This is in your interest and to avoid exposing all of our volunteers and loyal visitors to a situation that will pose an even greater risk and cause more stress for everyone."

Is it true that the City of Luxembourg provides the International Bazar with financial support? How much money does it give? Does the City also provide non-financial backing? If so, what do the Mayor and the College of Aldermen think about this rejection? Will the Mayor make it clear to the organisers of the "Bazar international" that the City will no longer support the event if an individual country is rejected without a clear reason, such as a recommendation by the police for concrete security reasons?

Response provided by Mayor Lydie Polfer

Like all of you, I heard about this incident through media reports. The City does not organise the International Bazar. For the last 10 years or so it has merely covered a portion of the rental fees for the LuxExpo halls.

This morning I had a meeting with the president of Bazar international ASBL and the person in charge of the Israel booth. They explained that everyone was aware that the current political situation is very sensitive, and that has led to security problems on all sides. Several weeks before the event, the two parties had already talked about this. The spot for the Israel booth had been reserved, but on the Monday before the opening of the International Bazar – which ran from 24 to 26 November – it was still unclear if the Israel team would participate. The Consistoire Israélite had doubts and was concerned about potential security issues. On Tuesday, 21 November, the president of the Consistoire Israélite shared these concerns in a letter sent to the police. Two hours later, the police responded that the security situation had been discussed with the Israeli ambassador in Brussels. The Minister for the Police will probably provide more details on this matter in his response to a parliamentary question on the topic that was submitted by the ADR (Alternative Democratic Reform Party) to the Chamber of Deputies.

On 22 November – two days before the event – the board of directors of the International Bazar association met early in the morning. Due to the security concerns on all sides, the email with the message that Councillor Weidig mentioned was sent at that time. The two parties therefore remained in permanent contact in the days leading up to the event. The police stated that its authority was limited to outdoor spaces. It is the event organiser – in this case the International Bazar association – that is responsible for indoor security. A private security firm was hired, but security issues prompted the organiser to take the decision we are all aware of.

During the discussions I was involved in, it was obvious that each party regretted that this outcome could lead to their being pitted against each other. We need to hope that a situation like this doesn't happen again in the future.

I want to point out that every year the International Bazar association donates a portion of the proceeds from the event to organisations in Tel Aviv, Israel. We therefore cannot presume that they bear any ill will. I would also like to stress, once again, that this decision was taken solely for security reasons.

Israel has been involved in the International Bazar from the beginning. There has been an Israel booth during other challenging periods, and I hope this will also be the case in the future. It would be a very sad day if someone tried to throw fuel on the fire to pit communities against one another. We are very fortunate that our multicultural community is in a position to come together and provide charitable assistance by doing things such as holding events like the "Bazar international" and the "Festival de l'immigration". If any animosities arose, I would do everything in my power to calm them.

Article 13, paragraph 3 of the Municipal Law establishes that each member of the Municipal Council, acting in their individual capacity, shall enjoy the right of initiative to add to the agenda drawn up by the College of Aldermen one or more proposals that they wish to submit to the Municipal Council.

Such proposals must be submitted to the mayor in the form of a written reasoned request at least three days before the meeting of the Municipal Council.