Luxembourg. According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Luxembourg include Independence Day (June 23) and New Year (January 1). The state railway company CFL took on the blame for a train crash that happened on the other side of the border with France in October. The accident then happened that personnel in Luxembourg accidentally directed a passenger train onto the same track as a freight train. Six people were killed and several were injured when the two trains frontal crashed.
Due disagreement over the plans for privatizations, taxes and pensions, the New Union Party withdrew from the government coalition in mid-2001, and the government survived by a small margin a vote of confidence in parliament.
In June 2002, Lithuania committed to the EU to close the Ignalina nuclear power plant. Its reactors were of the same type as the Chernobyl power plant and had been declared unsafe by Brussels. The closure will be implemented in the period 2005-09, and the country will receive greater financial assistance from the EU so that the closure will not have major economic and social consequences. The plant supplied 70% of the country’s electricity consumption.
The second round of the presidential election on January 5, 2003 was won by Rolandas Paksas of the right-wing Liberal Democratic Party with 54.9% of the vote. He is a former prime minister and mayor of Vilnius, beating Adamkus, who had led the polls and, as prime minister, had led the country from communism to join the EU and NATO. Parkas had led an aggressive campaign that promised the Lithuanians a better life and a continuation of the country’s pro-Western foreign policy.
On 10-11. In May 2003, a referendum was held on Lithuania’s accession to the EU. It was won by supporters with 91% of the vote. Still, turnout was surprisingly low. Only 64% voted. After the first day of voting, the electoral authorities expressed doubts as to whether the turnout would exceed the 50% required for the result to be valid. Both Paksas and Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas therefore went on TV to urge the nation’s citizens to vote.
In a November 2003 military intelligence report, President Paksas was accused of having links with the Mafia and Russian intelligence, illegal arms sales and international terrorist financing. Parliament set up a commission of inquiry which in its report subsequently concluded that the president had violated the constitution and provided information that jeopardized the security of the state. He had, among other things, illegally granted Russian Yuri Borisov Lithuanian citizenship. It was he who had funded his successful election campaign the year before. Borisov, in turn, was put on trial for illegal arms trafficking and for having blackmailed the president for the purpose of obtaining a trusted position in that office. In December, parliament opened a lawsuit against the president.
The situation in the country has been characterized, since the postwar period, by substantial political stability, with the succession of a series of government coalitions centered on the Parti chrétien social, almost constantly a relative majority force; the only exception was the legislative elections of 1974, after which an executive was formed, in office until 1979, which included the other two main Luxembourg political groups: the Parti ouvrier socialiste luxembourgeois and the Parti démocratique, of liberal orientation. Particularly important, for economic and social developments, were the seventies, when the decline of the steel sector was accompanied by the rise of Luxembourg as an international financial center, above all thanks to tax legislation, very advantageous towards foreign capital., which attracted a large number of foreign banks to the capital of the grand duchy.
Confirmed after the political elections of June 1989, the ruling coalition between Christian-Socialists and Socialists, again led by Prime Minister J. Santer, was particularly involved in regulating the activity of foreign banks and financial companies resident in the country. In this sense, in July of the same year, legislation was passed to make their operations transparent and prevent money laundering, while in April 1993 a law was introduced that allowed the confiscation of bank deposits suspected of deriving from illegal trafficking..
In July 1992, meanwhile, the Chamber of Deputies had ratified the treaty that had established the European Union, signed in Maastricht in February of the same year, reaffirming the traditional commitment of the Law for the realization of the economic and political unity of Europe..
Even the legislative elections of June 1994 did not significantly change the political framework: Christian-Socialists and Socialists lost a seat, obtaining respectively 21 and 17, while the liberals got 12 and the ecologists 5, as well as the Comité d’action pour la démocratie et la justice (new name assumed by the Comité d’action 5/6, the formation established in 1989 to support the need to adjust the pensions of private employees to those of public employees, which were equal to five-sixths of the last salary). Santer was thus confirmed prime minister, leading a majority similar to the outgoing one, but remained in office only a few months: he resigned, in fact, after his appointment as president of the European Union Commission, and was replaced in January 1995, on the other Christian-social exponent J.-C. Juncker. He did not substantially change the political line of his predecessor, and in May 1996 he announced a gradual reduction in corporate income tax, which the government intended to help boost investment and encourage the recovery of the industrial sector. In the elections of June 1999, the Christian Socialists, despite losing two seats, confirmed themselves as the first party in the country.