Werner-Cravatte Ministry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Werner-Cravatte Ministry was the government of Luxembourg between 15 July 1964 and 6 February 1969. Throughout the ministry, the Deputy Prime Minister was Henry Cravatte, replacing Eugène Schaus, who had been Deputy Prime Minister in the first Werner-Schaus Ministry. It was a coalition between the Christian Social People's Party (CSV), and the Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP).

It was formed after the general election of 1964, which returned the CSV and LSAP as the largest and second-largest parties respectively in the legislature. (The LSAP had actually received more votes than the CSV.)

Ministers[edit]

15 July 1964 – 3 January 1967[edit]

Name Party Office
Pierre Werner CSV Prime Minister
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Minister for the Treasury
Minister for Justice
Henry Cravatte LSAP Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for the Interior
Minister for Tourism, Physical Education, and Sport
Émile Colling CSV Minister for Agriculture and Viticulture
Minister for the Family, Population, and Social Solidarity
Nicolas Biever LSAP Minister for Work, Social Security, and Mines
Minister for Public Health
Pierre Grégoire CSV Minister for National Education and Cultural Affairs
Minister for the Civil Service
Albert Bousser LSAP Minister for Public Works
Minister for Transport, Post, and Telecommunications
Antoine Wehenkel LSAP Minister for the Budget
Minister for the National Economy and Energy
Marcel Fischbach CSV Minister for the Middle Class
Minister for the Armed Forces
Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs
Jean-Pierre Büchler CSV Secretary of State for Agriculture and Viticulture
Raymond Vouel LSAP Secretary of State for Public Health, Work, Social Security, and Mines
Source: Service Information et Presse

3 January 1967 – 6 February 1969[edit]

Name Party Office
Pierre Werner CSV Prime Minister
Minister for the Treasury and the Civil Service
Henry Cravatte LSAP Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for the Interior
Minister for Tourism, Physical Education, and Sport
Pierre Grégoire CSV Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Armed Forces, Cultural Affairs, and Religion
Albert Bousser LSAP Minister for Public Works
Minister for Transport, Post, and Telecommunications
Antoine Wehenkel LSAP Minister for the Budget
Minister for the National Economy and Energy
Antoine Krier LSAP Minister for Work, Social Security, and Mines
Minister for Public Health
Jean-Pierre Büchler CSV Minister for Agriculture, Viticulture, and the Middle Class
Jean Dupong CSV Minister for Justice, National Education, the Family, Young People, Population, and Social Solidarity
Raymond Vouel LSAP Secretary of State for Public Health, Work, Social Security, and Mines
Madeleine Frieden-Kinnen CSV Secretary of State for the Family, Young People, Population, Public Health, and National Education
Source: Service Information et Presse

Formation[edit]

In the elections of 7 June 1964, for the first time the LSAP received more votes than the CSV.[1] However, the CSV received one seat more than them (22 seats versus 21) due to the workings of the electoral system.[1] The liberal Democratic Party suffered a painful defeat, which was probably due to the Army controversy.[1] They received only six Deputies in the Chamber, while the Communists received five.[1] A new political group which represented the interests of those forcibly conscripted into the Wehrmacht during the war, the Popular Independent Movement (Mouvement indépendant populaire), received two seats.[1] After long negotiations, the CSV and LSAP formed a grand coalition.[1] The near-equal size of the two parties in the Chamber caused tensions within the coalition on several occasions.[1]

Reshuffles[edit]

A first change took place after the death of Nicolas Biever, who was replaced by Antoine Krier.[1] In late 1966, the parliamentary intervention of Jean Spautz demanding the abolition of conscription provoked a government crisis.[1] The young CSV Deputy's proposition had been made without informing the coalition partner, or his own party leadership.[1][2] The Minister for the Armed Forces tendered his resignation, followed by the entire government.[2] After ministerial reshuffles and negotiations, the coalition was renewed on 3 January 1967.[2] For the first time in Luxembourg's political history, a woman joined the government, as Madeleine Frieden-Kinnen became Secretary of State for Family, Young People and Education.[2]

Foreign policy[edit]

European headquarters[edit]

The government's main concern in foreign policy was to defend Luxembourg's position as a European headquarters.[3] Since 1958, three communities were working in parallel: the European Coal and Steel Community, the Common Market, and Euratom, each with their own executive body.[3] In 1961, negotiations were started to merge the three executives.[3] This unification brought the risk that the European institutions would leave Luxembourg, and be situated in a sole headquarters.[3] Eugène Schaus, the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the previous government, had suggested that Luxembourg host the European Parliament, to compensate a possible loss of the High Authority and the Court of Justice.[3] But this proposition encountered French opposition.[3] After the general elections of June 1964, Pierre Werner, the new Foreign Minister, participated in the negotiations which resulted on 8 April 1965 in the signing of a treaty establishing one Council and one Commission for the European Communities.[3] On 2 March 1965, the Council of Ministers of the EEC published a document specifying that "Luxembourg, Brussels and Strasbourg remain the provisional working places of the institutions of the Communities".[3] This agreement provided to locate the Community's financial and judicial institutions in Luxembourg.[3] This led to a specialisation of headquarters. The secretariat of the European Parliament and the Court of Justice remained in Luxembourg.[3] Sessions of the Council of Ministers were held there periodically.[3] The European Investment Bank and various other services such as the Court of Auditors, the Office of Statistics and the Office of Publications were established in Luxembourg.[3]

Empty chair crisis[edit]

In 1966, the Luxembourgish government was called on to play an active role in the resolution of the empty chair crisis, which put the European Community to the test.[3] From 30 June 1965, France stopped participating in the work of the Community following a disagreement over the financing of the Common Agricultural Policy.[3] In January 1966, Pierre Werner chaired two sessions of the Council of Ministers, which were held in Luxembourg and in which France participated again after a seven-month absence.[3] In the course of these meetings, termed the “reunion of Luxembourg”, a compromise took the Community out of its stalemate.[3] The Luxembourgish representative had been able to shine in his role as an “honest broker”, whose good relations with all parties had facilitated the negotiations.[3]

Financial centre[edit]

In 1968, the Luxembourgish government had for the first time to defend a vital interest of the Grand Duchy which would be contested more than once by its partners.[4] This was the financial centre.[4] This had been developing since the early 1960s thanks to advantageous banking and tax laws.[4] However, since their 1968 meetings, the finance ministers of the EEC were considering a plan to harmonise the taxation of movements of capital.[4] This proposition encountered vehement opposition from Pierre Werner.[4] Conscious of the danger that the levelling of tax conditions posed to the fledgling financial centre, the Minister of Finances proposed instead to give priority to monetary harmonisation.[4] In the event, the difficulties of the pound sterling and the French franc would turn the attention of European finance ministers' away from the Luxembourgish financial centre, and put monetary questions on the back-burner.[4]

Economic policy[edit]

Banking[edit]

The Werner-Cravatte years were important from an economic point of view as they saw the flourishing of the Luxembourgish financial centre.[5] However, the birth of what would become the main pillar of the Grand Duchy's economy was not due to the government's policy.[5] At its origin was a measure of the American government to slow the emission of international loans on the financial markets of New York, the Interest Equalization Tax.[5] The reorientation of financial flows which resulted from this led to the creation of the international Eurodollars market.[5] However, Luxembourg, which did not have a central bank, and where banking and tax laws were very flexible, found itself in a favourable position, while the traditional financial centres such as London, Zurich or Amsterdam were burdened by restrictive regulation.[5] The Grand Duchy's capital gradually became one of the main centres for the Euro-markets, and foreign banks started establishing themselves in Luxembourg.[5] The number of banking institutions grew from 15 in 1960 to 37 in 1970.[5] In this boom phase, the government of the day had little involvement, even though, on occasion it defended the financial centre against European plans for fiscal harmonisation.[5] The financial centre profited from both positive external factors, as well as legislation from 40 years previous, prepared under the then-Minister for Finances Pierre Dupong.[5]

Economic and Social Council[edit]

From 1966, the government disposed of a new consultative organ in the sphere of economic and social policy. The law of 21 March 1966 created the Economic and Social Council.[5] This organ, which included representatives of employers' organisations, the trade unions, and the government, was tasked with preparing reports on the country's economic situation, reports which helped to elaborate national economic policy.[5]

Infrastructure[edit]

When it came to infrastructure, the government gave priority to the development of the road network.[5] While the roads had barely changed since 1927, road traffic had increased dramatically.[5] Thus, the number of vehicles registered in the Grand Duchy grew from 14,000 in 1940 to more than 80,000 in 1964.[5] Similarly, the transit of goods and people increased year by year.[5] An adaptation of the road network to the dimensions of the economy and traffic was vital.[5] From August 1964, the Minister for Public Works, Albert Bousser, put in place a commission with the mission to examine propositions to improve the national road network.[5] The work of this commission resulted in a law enacted on 16 August 1967, which provided for the construction of around 150 km of major roads over 10 years, and the creation of a Roads Fund intended to guarantee the continuity of the works over several years rather than have the expenditure be part of the annual budget.[5][6] The project ended up taking a long time, as the final connection to the international motorway network was not finished until the 1990s.[6]

Agricultural policy[edit]

The big challenge for agricultural policy in the 1960s was progressive integration of Luxembourgish farming into the Common Market.[7] At the signing of the Treaty of Rome, Luxembourg had succeeded in obtaining an additional protocol which allowed it to maintain protection measures for a transition period of 12 years.[7] However, the Luxembourgish government was obliged enact structural, technical and economic reforms in order to allow full integration by the end of this grace period.[7] Apart from mediocre natural conditions, the main weaknesses of Luxembourgish agriculture were the parcelling up of the land and the predominance of small-scale farmers.[7] Government policy aimed to adapt agriculture to the conditions of the modern economy and to create businesses that were economically viable.[7] In 1964, the Werner-Schaus government had a law enacted to regroup lands in order to counter-act the parcelling up.[7] In April 1965, the Werner-Cravatte government submitted to the Chamber a law of agricultural orientation which aimed to restructure Luxembourgish farming and create an orientation fund.[7] In 1969, the law on inheritance introduced a significant reform as it introduced the principles of rapport and of the best-qualified successor.[7] Formerly, the application of the general rule of the Code civil had led to an excessive parcellisation and to the indebtedness of the farms' owners, who had to compensate the other inheritors.[7]

Social policy[edit]

The law of 12 June 1965 on collective contracts complemented the legislation on employer-worker relations in Luxembourg.[7] It included the obligation to negotiate.[7] A business-owner could not refuse to start negotiations towards a collective contract if qualified representatives of the employees demanded it.[7] The law of 1965 also included a “sliding-scale” clause providing for the automatic adaptation of pay to changes in the cost of living, which had to be included in every collective contract.[7]

The government also took a measure against discrimination of women in the workplace. The law of 17 May 1967 adopted an agreement of the International Labor Organisation, which concerned equality of pay between male and female workers for equal work.[7]

Domestic policy[edit]

Army reform[edit]

The problem of the army was a recurring theme for domestic politics throughout the 1960s.[8] There was more and more opposition to compulsory military service, in a country which did not have a military tradition.[8] Conscription also contributed to the Luxembourgish economy's state of over-employment, which made it necessary to resort to foreign labour.[8] Various incidents among the officer corps, such as the Winter Affair, reinforced the public's negative attitude towards the army.[8] In 1965, compulsory military service was reduced to six months.[8] However, this length of time did not allow for adequate training time, which made the military appear more and more useless.[8] At the Chamber of Deputies' session of 15 November, Jean Spautz acted as the spokesman of the young militants of the CSV, who were increasingly unhappy that the military controversy was affecting their party, and demanded the abolition of conscription.[8] This initiative, which took the socialist coalition partners by surprise, as well as the leaders of the CSV, caused a government crisis.[8] At the end of this, the government took steps to abolish conscription.[8] An agreement was reached with NATO's authorities: Luxembourg would maintain a volunteer army, and put two infantry companies at NATO's disposal as part of a multinational force.[8] In addition, the government advanced Luxembourg's candidacy to host NAMSA.[8]

Education reform[edit]

In parallel to the question of the army, the debate on school reform was at the forefront of the domestic scene.[9] Economic and social changes made teaching reform necessary.[9] The government responded by extending the range of subjects taught, and by creating new types of schools.[9] 1965 saw the introduction of "middle schools" (écoles moyennes).[9] This measure was intended to orientate young people who were not suited to university studies, towards mid-level careers in administration and the private sector, and to free up the overfilled Lycées.[9] May 1968 also provoked unrest in Luxembourg.[9] The students of the “Cours supérieurs” went on strike and organised a protest to demand a reform of higher education and the "collation des grades".[9] The Minister of Education introduced a bill, which was however not passed until the next government was in office.[9] The Werner-Cravatte government also introduced changes in secondary education: it transformed the 7e into an orientation class for both classical and modern education, mixed education of boys and girls, an increase in subject options, the creation of a subject of “secular morals” and a “none” option, i.e. the possibility of attending neither religion classes nor secular morals classes.[9]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Thewes (2011), p. 160
  2. ^ a b c d Thewes (2011), p. 161
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Thewes (2011), p. 164
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Thewes (2011), p. 165
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Thewes (2011), p. 166
  6. ^ a b Thewes (2011), p. 167
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Thewes (2011), p. 168
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Thewes (2011), p. 169
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Thewes (2011), p. 170

References[edit]