Local/municipal elections will be held across Luxembourg this weekend on Sunday 8 October 2017 and to gain a little more insight and understanding of some candidates running, Chronicle.lu is conducting a mini-series of feature articles. Each feature will focus on one candidate and help the international community uncover the true essense of those behind the flyers.
Second in the mini-series is Daniela Moraru, a candidate standing for the CSV party in Luxembourg City.
Q1: Why are you standing for election in the municipal / local elections?
First of all, I love my city, and I would feel blessed to make a contribution by representing at the communal level the Luxembourgish people but also the non-Luxembourgish citizens who came, like me, at an adult age to Luxembourg and face very specific challenges in terms of language learning or building a friends network.
Secondly, I feel I was born and raised for politics! Joking apart, I love the contact with people, and I trust I could contribute a lot because I would bring to the local council a completely different experience than everybody else currently sitting there, namely 20 years of experience as entrepreneur, 13 years of experience working with languages and foreigners in Luxembourg City, 13 years of experience in promoting equal opportunities for men and women at all levels of the hierarchy, almost 30 years of experience in non-profit associations.
Thirdly, there is a need for more women and foreigners in politics and I am using my energy and time to motivate and encourage people in very different settings to get more involved as well. I started already to bring more women and more foreigners into politics, and one person I brought in is also a candidate this year in a different commune.
Q2: Which party are you a candidate with and what does your party stand for?
I am candidate with the CSV, the Christian Social People’s Party. We represent all the people who support Christian and democratic values in order to build and maintain a solidary society based on freedom, peace, social justice and equal opportunities for all.
Q3: Why are you standing with this party?
There are many reasons why I stand with this party, but I will only give you three here, not necessarily in the order of importance.
My party was the first to create 10 years ago an international section to allow foreigners to get involved into politics even if/when they do not speak Luxembourgish. Now we have more than 500 members. It was also the CSV which introduced the integration commissions in all the municipalities. At the same time, Claude Wiseler, the head of the CSV parliamentary fraction, has been the first to put together the new nationality law which made it easier for people to have double nationality, including myself in 2015.
I have been an entrepreneur since I was 20 years old. Now I am 40 and I am looking more and more at the social impact that I can have in the city and country I live in. CSV is the people's party, it's not representing only a certain category of the population. So I naturally feel that I can have more impact and also do more to protect the middle class and prevent that it disappears completely.
As many of you know already, I work with and am passionate about languages. Before getting involved into politics, I started to create and publish different pedagogical materials for people to teach themselves Luxembourgish. Whilst supporting and recognizing the importance of multilingualism in Luxembourg, my party proposes different great ideas to allow non-Luxembourgers to practice the language with native speakers and at the same time to communicate more with Luxembourgers, to better understand the culture. For our party, living together is an extremely important concept and I feel that I can be instrumental in building more bridges between the non-Luxembourgers and Luxembourgers.
Q4: What are the main political issues facing your municipality?
The main issue is, in my opinion, the extremely rapid growth of the population. You might not have known it, but it's the highest growth compared to any other European capital. In addition, there are some 120 000 people coming to work in our city from the three neighbouring countries. All this created a lot of opportunities for sure, but also a lot of challenges including:
No global coherent vision for the future of our city – the development of the city is not decided by the city which is not active enough in the building projects so the decisions are left with private investors, who will give priority to building more lucrative spaces such as offices instead of affordable housing units.
This creates much more limited housing space compared to office space and therefore higher prices of real estate for housing, both in terms of renting or buying, and many real estate speculations.
Another effect of the growth is that our streets and motorways became extremely busy and we don't have enough parking either, sometimes even the residents can no longer park on their own streets.
The rapid growth brought a lot of very different residents into the city. We have about 150 nationalities, a lot of different languages, a lot of different cultures, customs and values. This created the challenge of the communication between the local authorities and the residents, as well as between the different residents. Even though cultural events are organized on a regular basis by the city hall in the city center and by clubs and associations in different parts of the city, the website of the city is currently only in French, so those who speak no French will be penalized and unable to find the information. In addition, many activities happen without people being aware of the event until it has already happened, and I am talking here about my personal experience. The last few years more and more new expat groups were set up on facebook and MeetUp because people are very often confused and cannot find the information they need in one place, e.g. how to register with the commune when you are still living in a hotel, or which school to apply to if you just arrived from Russia or Japan and your child speaks very limited English, no German and no French, etc. In addition, it becomes more and more difficult to meet new people because many of the small corner or coffee shops go bankrupt and their spaces are rented by insurance or real estate agents.
And I could continue for some more time because there are really a lot of challenges.
Q5: What local issues are you campaigning for?
Our campaign is focused on Living our city. This means that we want a people-friendly city:
all to be able to enjoy continuing to live in the city, which means that we need more affordable housing units, not only low-cost housing projects, which means that we are campaigning for more involvement of the city in the real estate projects,
to ensure the mobility of the residents as well as of the workers coming to the city every day from the neighbouring countries, with a special note that the workers are more numerous than the residents of the city. If people travel by bus, bicycle, on foot or by car, the percentage of people travelling by car is surprisingly one of the highest in Europe (more than 60% of the population), which means the mobility currently on offer is not very effective (either in terms of distances to be covered or in terms of available connections and schedules).
neighbourhoods which allow people to enjoy living, having a walk in a park, playing with the kids, drinking a coffee or a juice, buying a newspaper, some bread or vegetables, all this without having to take the car.
more assistance and security in the neighboruhoods: we believe that smaller and decentralised assistance centres would allow a better support of those in need. We also believe that we need to reinforce the security in the city and help people feel safe(r) in their neighbourhoods. In this context, the police should be more present and the municipal agents should be given more power in terms of sanctions related to not respecting the public order, communal police regulations or other administrative issues.
a dynamic and creative commercial environment: the city should pay attention to safeguard and support the small local shops such as bakeries, small grocers, newspaper or coffee shops, which offer the population not just items to buy, but act as important socializing spaces because they allow people in the neighborhoods to meet on a regular basis, interact and not feel completely alone. This is even more important for people like me, who came to Luxembourg at an adult age and have no family here.
more extensive use of the new technologies and innovative services which would allow a higher citizens’ participation, for example in deciding the priorities the city should focus on, access to information about the duration of certain works in the different neighborhoods or the recycling management.
Q6: Will you be aiming to represent the international community in your municipality?
Being able to represent the international community in my municipality is truly one of my main motivations in starting in politics. Since 2004 I have been organizing or attending events by Amcham, the British Chamber of Commerce (where I was also Council member for 3 years), the Romanian associations, the Italian, French, Spanish and Indian chambers and associations, the Parents Support group of the Anglophone community, the Network, the International School, to name just a few. I have a very good understanding of the international community and I could be their voice at the commune level.
Q7: How do you hope to make a difference?
I hope to make to make a difference by bringing to the table my different experiences and challenges encountered in this city as a non-Luxembourger until 2015, as well as 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, 13 years of experience working with languages and foreigners in Luxembourg City, 13 years of experience in promoting equal opportunities for women and men, and almost 30 years of experience in non-profit associations.
Q8: Why should people vote for you?
Because I will be there for them after the elections. And the entire CSV team as well!