"We have not forgotten how to govern"

By Pascal SteinwachsLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

Farmers across Europe are taking to the barricades, only in Luxembourg have things remained calm so far. An interview with the new Minister of Agriculture, Martine Hansen, who took her time for the interview.

When Martine Hansen arrives slightly late at the Ministry of Agriculture in the late morning, she has already had a meeting with the winegrowers' association in Grevenmacher and, very early in the morning, three quarters of an hour's training at home on her exercise bike.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food, Viticulture and Consumer Protection is in a great mood and full of energy, which is quite understandable after ten years in opposition. Martine Hansen does not have a press spokesperson with her during our interview, as is often the case with newcomers to government. But from April to December 2013, the CSV politician was briefly Minister of Higher Education and Research. After the first edition of the coalition of DP, LSAP and the Greens took office, the trained agricultural engineer was then a simple MP before becoming the first woman to head the CSV parliamentary group in December 2018 – together with co-chair Gilles Roth from 2021.

Before her political career, Hansen was Director of the School of Agriculture before the then Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker unexpectedly appointed her to the government in spring 2013 following the resignation of long-serving minister Marie-Josée Jacobs. After Jacobs, Martine Hansen is only the second woman to hold the post of Minister of Agriculture.

Lëtzebuerger Journal: How does it feel for the CSV to finally be back in government after what feels like an eternity? The last time you were only in government for a few months.

Martine Hansen: After ten years in opposition, it is of course good to be back where you can make decisions. The last time I was in government, I had only just taken office and there were already new elections.

Has the CSV not forgotten how to govern after such a long time in opposition?

I hope not (laughs). No, we haven't forgotten how to govern.

But if you look at the first few months, you could almost get the impression that we have. Interior Minister Léon Gloden may be tall and thin, but he still behaved like a bull in a china shop. When it came to the begging ban, your party and the government could perhaps have shown a little more tact.

Léon Gloden had to make a decision, and he made it at the time. That's just part of governing.

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