“From 2020, the Ministry of Family, Integration and the Greater Region wanted to promote living together,” explains Corinne Cahen, Minister of Family and Integration. She details the key decisions taken recently. Interview.
What has been the impact of the recent crisis on families?
From the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, we prioritized families, children, the elderly and people with disabilities. The government has therefore taken measures to support families. Thus, it introduced two exceptional leaves: Leave for family reasons and leave for family support. The first is to allow one parent to take care of children in quarantine or isolation. The second is to help families provide support for adults with disabilities when daycare, training or work facilities are closed. In addition, our consultation services responded to the psychological problems and fears of children, parents or other citizens. Currently, we cannot yet assess the extent of the impact on families.
“The health crisis has strengthened cooperation within the Greater Region,” Corinne Cahen
How is integration evolving in Luxembourg?
From 2020, the Ministry of Family, Integration and the Greater Region wanted to promote living together around seven main axes. We started by setting up and supporting 23 projects under the National Action Plan and two under the European AMIF program. In addition, the new “Pakt vum Zesummeliewen” with SYVICOL, ASTI, CEFIS and 19 municipalities, supported by our integration advisers, aims to concretely boost locals living together. We have also worked on the reform of the integration law by carrying out a wide public consultation and a study with the OECD. In addition, we have digitized our integration programs and started an evaluation process. These new digital tools have thus made it possible to bring together more than 900 participants in the Reception and Integration Contract. At the same time, we have organized GRESILs (Exchange and support group on integration at a local level) with and for integration actors at the municipal, regional and national levels. The opening of the inter-ministerial committee to civil society has, for its part, made it possible to enrich discussions and knowledge. Finally, in early 2022, we will present an in-depth study on racism in Luxembourg and then debate it in the Chamber of Deputies.
What challenges do you encounter as Minister for the Greater Region?
The health crisis has strengthened cooperation within the Greater Region. We have found compromises to ensure free movement, in particular, that of cross-border workers. We must now engage with our neighboring countries in order to better take into account the specificities of cross-border living spaces. Indeed, few European regions are characterized by such strong interconnection and interdependence as ours. In fact, the ideal location of the Greater Region allows it to raise awareness among capitals and European institutions about the needs of border regions. On the other hand, the European decision-making process should systematically include a “cross-border check” on this subject in its process.