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Luxembourg report Luxembourg report
by Euro Reporter
2012-12-04 09:53:18
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Luxembourg royals deny contacts with Britain's MI6

Luxembourg's royal family on Saturday denied that head of state Grand Duke Henri maintained contacts with Britain's MI6 secret service. "The grand ducal court denies in the strongest possible terms information that has appeared in the media concerning relations with the British secret service," it said in a statement.

The former head of Luxembourg's information service Marco Mille referred to "permanent contacts" with the British secret service in a conversation with Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, according to a transcript of a covertly recorded exchange between them, published Friday by the weekly Letzebuerger Land.

In the interview, the Prime Minister asks Mille if the Grand Duke deliberately maintained relations with MI6. "I am not going to go and ask him," Mille is heard to reply. He was sacked several months later along with two other information service officials. A source close to Juncker said that he had been aware of the recording since mid-2009.


Luxembourg legalises abortion on demand

The tiny principality of Luxembourg has adopted abortion on demand in a vote yesterday of 39 to 21 in the Chamber of Deputies. The bill’s promoters in the Chamber of Deputies of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg said that the relaxation of the law will provide “punishment-free termination” and the “self-determination of women.” It was also intended to bring the country into line with the demands of the Council of Europe to “decriminalize abortion” and “to provide barrier-free access to a legal abortion.” The new law allows a pregnant woman to have an abortion merely by declaring that the pregnancy is creating a situation of “distress.” Minor girls may abort their children without parental consent or knowledge, but the girl must be accompanied by a “trusted” adult. Pro-life groups demonstrated outside the Chamber on Thursday as the vote was taken. The Fédération Pro Europa Christiana, based in Brussels, was joined by other European life rights groups including SOS LIVE from Germany. The pro-life groups were met with resistance from pro-abortion counter-demonstrators who attacked and damaged some of the small white coffins meant to represent the children already killed in the principality by abortion.

The leader of the Fédération, Paul, Duke of Oldenburg, said, “The behaviour of abortion activists shows that they have a guilty conscience. They know that this is about the lives of unborn children.” The Duke of Oldenburg described the method used in parliament to pass the bill as a “cloak-and-dagger operation” in which key information about the vote was not issued until the last possible minute. If it had not been for this, the duke said, pro-life groups could have “mobilized a much larger number of people against the liberalization of abortion”.

“Still, that should be prevented. This procedure is contrary to the essential standards of a democratic legal system.” Proponents of the new law said it is intended to reduce the rate of unintended pregnancies which have risen steadily since the passage of the 1978 Abortion Act, “despite sex education and prevention”. A government commission has reported that gynaecologists in Luxembourg believe that between 1500 to 2000 abortions are committed in the principality each year, out of a total population of about 500,000. Parliamentary abortion activists have been promising for two years to sweep away the remaining restrictions on abortion. Until yesterday, the law allowed abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, provided the woman’s health would not be endangered by the abortion. Grounds included to “save the woman’s life,” to preserve the woman’s “physical or mental health,” for pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest, for cases in which the unborn child is “severely physically or mentally impaired” or for “economic or social reasons”. Abortions after 12 weeks were allowed for “serious” medical reasons with the approval of two physicians and parental or legal guardian consent for minors under 18. Feminist and leftist groups are expressing their anger that certain qualifications remain in the law, among which are the requirement for two consultations, one medical and one “psycho-social,” to ensure women are “fully informed” about their legal rights, the risks and available alternatives.


Luxembourg reiterates Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear technology

Luxembourg King Duke Henri reiterated on the regional role of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and said that Iran plays an important role on the regional equations. Speaking at a meeting with the Iranian Ambassador to Brussels Mahmoud Barimani in Luxembourg on Friday, King Henri said that "Iran plays an important and influential role in the political equations of the region".

Iranian Ambassador Barimani, for his part, underlined the importance of enhancement of bilateral ties during a ceremony held for delivering his credentials as new accredited ambassador to Luxembourg. Barimani stressed the effective role of the Islamic Republic of Iran on regional stability and Iran's efforts for bringing about reconciliation and understanding among the neighbouring countries.

The Iranian ambassador also explained about Iran's determination to its right to peaceful nuclear energy and its commitment to the duties included in the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) within the framework of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Barimani also conferred with Luxembourg foreign minister, the country's parliament speaker, the head of parliament's foreign policy commission and also deputy foreign minister.

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