Political interpretation

By Audrey SomnardLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

When elected representatives don't speak Luxembourgish, things can get tricky. This was the case with Angélique Bartolini, the first Frenchwoman to be elected to the Luxembourg City Council, who ran into controversy shortly after being sworn in.

"I thought it wouldn't be so hectic, " says Angélique Bartolini over a cup of coffee in her shop in the Gare district a few days before the festive season. The brand new local councillor had to deal with a Green motion on languages at the last local council meeting. Although Luxembourgish is the predominant language, for the first time foreign local councillors will be able to follow the council debates through simultaneous translation into French. The Greens welcome this step forward, but would like to see this interpretation available to all interested parties from outside the municipality. This motion was recently rejected by the majority of the council, including the CSV, the party represented by Angélique Bartolini.

The Frenchwoman, originally from Thionville, moved to Luxembourg in 2021. Initially a cross-border commuter like so many others, she realised the district's potential for her business, a clothing boutique that she opened in 2018, and then for her personal life. "I wanted to open my shop in Luxembourg, and particularly in the station area, because that's where I wanted to put my brand and not somewhere else. By dint of going back and forth, the tiredness of transport and the fact that I ended up going out more in Luxembourg than in France… I finally came to terms with the fact that I'd made friends and that my life was here now. So I took the plunge and moved to Luxembourg", she says.

Although she may have acclimatised more quickly than others thanks to her business, Angélique Bartolini had no political ambitions. It was politics that came to her. Through her shop, she meets her customers, quickly gets to know the other shopkeepers in the district, but also the local politicians, with whom she talks a lot because the young woman has ideas for revitalising the district and restoring the image of the station. "My shop is 'co-located' with a café, and a lot of politicians come here to have a coffee and meet each other. We eventually started talking to each other, but I was particularly in touch with Serge Wilmes (CSV), the first alderman in charge of commerce, with whom I talked a lot about the problems in the district. I had a lot to say about the Covid crisis, the tram works and inflation, and he was very receptive to my ideas."

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