Economy & Politics

“We must finally put in place clear rules”

Following the failure of the Fage project, Michèle Detaille learns the lessons and wishes to avoid further dysfunctions. The president of the Fedil calls for “an ambitious industrial policy supported by all the players”.

Following the failure of the Fage project, Michèle Detaille learns the lessons and wishes to avoid further dysfunctions. The president of the Fedil calls for “an ambitious industrial policy supported by all the players”.

(ER with ndp) –Michèle Detaille, who do you think is primarily responsible for this fiasco? The Ministry of the Environment? The government as a whole?

Michèle Detaille: “A fault is often shared when something goes wrong. In the industry we are used to things not going well and often there is not just one reason for this. Nevertheless, in my opinion, there are two things to highlight in this failure: it is the length of time this file lasted and the way in which the Minister of the Environment managed it by politicizing this matter and putting it into it. all its ideology.

Minister Carole Dieschbourg - Foto: Pierre Matgé / Luxemburger Wort

After municipalities and individuals took part in the commodo / incommodo investigation into the possible establishment of the Greek yoghurt factory in Bettembourg, the Minister of the Environment takes control again.

To this I will add a well-known principle that can be summarized as follows: known market, fucked up market. I think, and this is not to hide embezzlement or other things, that business is done with discretion. It is a bit of the mistake that there has been in recent years in Luxembourg: we now live so much in the news that everyone today wants to announce things before they are done. This is not good, because things are complicated and take time. But it is a disease of the time. I think that we must have the maturity, at a certain level of responsibility, to say: “Well no, that I cannot announce it yet”. It’s difficult of course, because you have to resist the pressure from journalists, the pressure from the streets, but it is a necessity.

The official reason for Fage’s waiver is not yet known. It is possible that it is not related to long administrative procedures, but to questions of the company’s reputation …

“It is possible, but if Fage had received his authorization within a period that can be considered normal, namely one year, he would have been in place for three years. We would probably not have talked about this matter again. The company would have produced beautiful products in compliance with all the rules in Luxembourg. Afterwards, the leaders would have faced questions, delicate subjects that they could have treated like entrepreneurs settled here.

It is therefore time to think about the environment and the territorial economy beyond borders.

What, in your opinion, is the main criterion to be taken into account when welcoming foreign companies to Luxembourg?

“I think we must first go to companies that create value. Then, I hesitate to give precise criteria, because the industrial field also supposes a certain balance. If you only have high tech and no one to pack, that’s not okay either. During the health crisis, when we wanted to maintain essential activities, we realized that these themselves depended on activities that were not essential. We should not therefore limit ourselves to one type of industry, nor to the national territory alone.

The Fage factory alone could absorb almost half of the annual production of Luxembourg farms.

The manufacturer of Greek yogurts will not be established in the Wolser zone between Dudelange and Bettembourg, the project has been abandoned, confirms Tuesday the Ministry of the Economy. The 15 hectares acquired will be returned to the State at the purchase price.

We must, in my opinion, have a vision of the entire Greater Region. There can be effective collaborations, because there is more industrial land at that level. For our part, we have an efficient ecosystem, with a university, research centers and Luxinnovation, which neighboring regions do not have. It is therefore time to think about the environment and the territorial economy beyond borders. What we also ask for is predictability and legal certainty. This existed in Luxembourg until recently. It’s written in our genes, we just need to reframe it a bit.

Are you pleading for a reduction of the procedural delays to six months? Given the current deadlines, it seems impossible for now …

“I say six months, because in France, there is a big effort to reindustrialize the territories. The authorities have thus determined 72 industrial zones which are ready for use. At the same time, they undertake that the authorization will be issued within six months. It was the Minister of Industry herself who announced it. So I tell myself that if a French minister, who lives in an extremely complicated country, thinks he can get there, we can get there too! In today’s world which is going faster and faster, with industries that are less and less heavy industries, we absolutely have to shorten the deadlines.

Desk, Industriegebiet, Gewerbezone, Corona Virus, Z.I. Wolser, Foto: Lex Kleren / Luxemburger Wort

While the Greek industrial group formalized the cancellation of its establishment in the Grand Duchy, the reactions of the political class were as numerous as they were varied. Overview.

We hear a lot of comments about the country’s reputation risk. But shouldn’t the interests of residents be taken into account first?

“I think we have to stop pitting the interests of residents against those of the industry. The residents’ interest is to have a good quality of life, and that is the welfare state that finances it. Well-being is not only comfort, it is also the health system, long-term care insurance for the elderly, it is an education system that everyone criticizes but which nevertheless allows 18-year-olds to speak four languages. It is also a largely subsidized social and cultural life. All of this has to be paid for by someone, among others by sustainable and quality industries., FEDIL, President Michèle Detaille, Foto: Anouk Antony / Luxemburger Wort

She practiced it as a business manager, but it is as president of the Federation of Luxembourg Industrialists that Michèle Detaille urges the State to act to better organize professional activity at a distance.

What immediate action do you recommend?

“I am glad I heard the Prime Minister’s message. This is what the Fedil has been asking for for a long time. We want an ambitious industrial policy that is supported by the government as a whole. Furthermore, when I say that you have to give an authorization in six months, that does not mean that you have to give it to just anyone. But we have to work faster. We all saw, during the Covid-19 crisis, when you have to go fast, you can. We have to keep this rhythm. I’m sure we can do it. ”


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