14th December 2017

NO SAUSSAGES FOR GOOGLE

Google won’t be getting any extra sausages for its new data centre near Colmar Berg, according to prime minister  Xavier Bettel.  What that means is that the company, who produced the translation algorithm responsible for that last sentence, didn’t get any sweeteners from the government to attract it to Luxembourg.  Nor, he said, would they be able to bend or break the normal planning rules here.  Google revealed on Monday that it had acquired the land, which is one of four sites in the Benelux region it could decide to develop.  Mr Bettel however said there was no plan for what to do should Google not decide to develop the site. 

 POST NOT UNDERSTAFFED - MINISTER

Economics minister Etienne Schneider has again denied reports of staff shortages at the post office.  More than once already this year Mr Schneider, along with Post management have explained that there is no institutionalised policy of making staff work overtime.  Unions however have been trying to engage the government about the issue of low pay and excessive overtime demands, and they say the situation is deteriorating.  Mr Schneider was responding to a parliamentary question yesterday, which suggested recruiting exclusively from the army and increasing postal workers pay sharply could solve staff shortages.

NO PROJECT FEAR

Also repeating himself yesterday was finance minister Pierre Gramenga.  Not for the first time he was in parliament explaining why the government deficit is going to be much smaller than expected.  This year the government had actually expected to overspend by 1 billion euros, but the latest numbers suggest it will by half of this.  All of this, as in 2015 and 2016, is because the economy is, frankly, booming.  If this continues, Mr Gramenga says the government will be in surplus at some point in the next three years, despite a huge increase in public spending pencilled in for next year.  Opposition leader Claude Wiseler however said the government was still being fiscally reckless, and some of the big projects envisaged by the current government carried the risks of major cost overruns.  Mr Gramenga responded by accusing Mr Wiseler of being overly negative, and urged voters not to be taken in by project fear.

NEW ARCELOR MITTAL HQ

Arcelor Mittal unveiled the design for its new global HQ in Kirchberg.  They have selected the Architects Willmott and Associates for the design.  It will look a bit like a big glass see-through boat, and will be sited on the Avenue JF Kennedy, near the Philharmonie.  The building will be 16 stories high and the company itself will proved the estimated 5 000 tonnes of steel needed in its contruction.  It should be ready in 3 years time.