On Thursday 20 July 2023, the Chamber of Deputies (Luxembourg's parliament) passed the law on intercultural living together, amending the amended law of 8 March 2017 on nationality.
According to Luxembourg's Minister for Family Affairs and Integration, Max Hahn, this vote marks a paradigm shift: "We no longer distinguish between different statuses of a person, but focus on the needs and interests of each individual. Whether you are a refugee, a long-term foreign resident, a cross-border worker, a Luxembourger, or have arrived to Luxembourg recently, everyone can participate equally in all the programmes, activities and projects. To achieve this, we are placing particular emphasis on information, which must be accessible to everyone."
The new text replaces the "integration" approach set out in the 2008 law with a broader concept that is designed to better reflects the diversity of today's society, one of "intercultural living together". Preceded by a public consultation, the new law overhauls the instruments of intercultural living together and repeals the amended law of 16 December 2008 on the integration of foreigners in the Grand Duchy.
In concrete terms, the law will implement intercultural living together through the following instruments: the national action plan for intercultural living together; the citizens' pact of intercultural living together; the intercultural living together programme; the municipal pact for intercultural living together; the new instruments of the law of intercultural living together.
As explained by Luxembourg's Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region, the national action plan defines the strategic axes of intercultural living together, the political orientations and objectives as well as the actions and measures to be implemented.
The citizens' pact (Pacte citoyen) is a moral commitment that people who live or work in Luxembourg can sign to subscribe to the values of intercultural living together. This gives them access to the intercultural living together programme, which replaces the current welcome and integration contract (CAI) and the accompanied integration pathway (PIA) to offer a wide catalogue of learning modules and information about the Grand Duchy. The programme is open to residents but also cross-border workers. It will be continuously adapted to the needs of people living in the country and aims at an immersive approach that allows participants to discover the functioning of the country by putting them in contact with national and local actors and by promoting dialogue and exchange with other people living or working in Luxembourg.
The municipal pact for intercultural living together (Pakt vum Zesummeliewen) aims to support the municipalities in the implementation of their strategy at local level. In addition to financial aid, which contributes to the costs of a pact coordinator and subsidises the implementation of measures in the municipality, the pact offers support to the signatory municipalities through intercultural living together advisors, who are state employees.
At the national level, the text aims to create a "Conseil supérieur" for intercultural living together, which participates in the implementation of this strategy. It replaces the current inter-ministerial committee on integration and the National Council for Foreigners (CNE). This council will be composed of representatives of the state, civil society and municipalities, a composition aimed at ensuring that the actions implemented in the Grand Duchy meet the changing needs of society. The focus is on the municipalities.
At the municipal level, the municipal commissions for intercultural living together will replace the current municipal advisory committees on integration. Their tasks include identifying priorities and possible obstacles in the field of intercultural living together at the municipal level, assisting the municipality in the development and implementation of measures and activities to promote intercultural living together at the municipal level and promoting access to information, civic participation and community life. The members of the municipal commissions can stand for election as representatives of the municipalities to the Board of Governors. Members also elect the municipal representatives to the Conseil supérieur. Cross-border workers can be members of the municipal committee of the municipality in which they work.
The text also defines the financial aid that the state can grant in the field of intercultural living together. This may take the form of a subsidy, a financial contribution to operating costs or a financial contribution to investment costs.
Finally, in all the instruments, bodies and other measures put in place under this text, the fight against racism and all forms of discrimination is a key, cross-cutting element, noted the ministry.
The new law will come into force on 1 January 2024.