Xavier Bettel

Xavier Bettel (Luxembourgish pronunciation: [ˈksɑvieː ˈbətəl]; born 3 March 1973) is a Luxembourg politician who has been Prime Minister of Luxembourg since 2013. He has previously served as Mayor of Luxembourg City, and was also a Member of the Chamber of Deputies.[1][2]

His Excellency

Xavier Bettel
Bettel in 2017
25th Prime Minister of Luxembourg
Assumed office
4 December 2013
DeputyFrançois Bausch
Dan Kersch
Preceded byJean-Claude Juncker
Minister for Communications and Media
Assumed office
4 December 2013
Preceded byFrançois Biltgen
Mayor of Luxembourg City
In office
24 November 2011  4 December 2013
Preceded byPaul Helminger
Succeeded byLydie Polfer
Personal details
Born (1973-03-03) 3 March 1973
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Political partyDemocratic Party
Gauthier Destenay
(m. 2015)
Alma materAristotle University of Thessaloniki
Nancy 2 University

Bettel is a member of the Democratic Party.[3] Following the 2018 Luxembourg general election he became the first openly gay Prime Minister in the world to be re-elected for a second term.[4][5]

Early life

Bettel was born on 3 March 1973 in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg Canton, Luxembourg. His father, Claude Bettel, was a wine merchant and his mother, Aniela, is of French-Russian descent and a grandniece of the composer Sergei Rachmaninoff.[6][7][8] After completing his secondary school studies at the Lycée Hélène Boucher in Thionville,[9] Bettel obtained a master's degree in Public and European Law and a DEA in Political Science and Public Law from Nancy 2 University in Nancy, France.[10][11] He also studied maritime law as well as canon law at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece, where he was studying thanks to the Erasmus Programme.[12] For four years in the early 2000s he hosted Sonndes em 8, a weekly talkshow, on the now-defunct private T.TV television network.[13][14] In 2017, he also received an Honorary doctorate from Sacred Heart University Luxembourg.[15][16]

Political life

Municipal politics

In the 1999 communal elections, Bettel was elected to Luxembourg City's communal council, finishing sixth on the DP's list. Two years after his election to the local Council, on 12 July 2001, he was certified as a lawyer.[2] By the time of the 2004 legislative election, Bettel had significantly consolidated his position, and finished fourth (of the five DP members elected), assuring him a seat in the Chamber of Deputies.[17] On 28 November 2005, after the communal elections in which he was placed fourth on the DP list, Bettel was appointed échevin in the Council of Luxembourg City.[2]

Following municipal elections on 9 October 2011, Bettel was sworn in as Mayor of Luxembourg on 24 November 2011.[18][19]

National politics

Bettel ran for the Chamber of Deputies in the 1999 legislative election, and finished 10th amongst DP candidates in the Centre constituency, with the top seven being elected.[20] However, the DP overtook the Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP) as the second-largest party, and its members formed the majority of the new government as the Christian Social People's Party's (CSV) coalition partners. Thus, with Lydie Polfer and Anne Brasseur vacating their seats to take roles in the government, and Colette Flesch not taking her seat so as to focus on her role as Member of the European Parliament, Bettel was appointed to the Chamber, starting 12 August 1999.[2]

First term

In 2013, Bettel was elected leader of the Democratic Party, and in the 2013 election, led the party to a third-ranked position in parliamentary seats. On 25 October, Bettel was designated by Grand Duke Henri as the formateur for the next government.[21] He assumed his post as Luxembourg's Prime Minister on 4 December 2013. In the government's coalition of the Democratic Party, Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party and The Greens, he leads the cabinet with Co-Deputy Prime Ministers Étienne Schneider and Félix Braz. In his first term, he also holds the functions of Minister of State, Minister for Communications and the Media, Minister for Culture and Minister for Religious Affairs.[2]

Second term

Following the 2018 Luxembourg general election, he became the first openly gay prime minister in the world to be re-elected for a second term. He began his second term when his government was formed on 5 December 2018.,[22] which he currently leads with Co-Deputy Prime Ministers François Bausch and Dan Kersch. The government is a continuation between the Democratic Party (DP), the Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP), and The Greens from the Bettel I government, with minor changes.

On 16 September 2019, following a short bilateral meeting on the status of Brexit negotiations, Bettel continued a press conference without British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, after Johnson abruptly pulled out due to an anti-Brexit protest held by British citizens living in Luxembourg.[23] Bettel gestured towards Johnson's empty podium and confirmed that the UK government had not tabled any concrete proposals for amendments to the UK's Withdrawal Agreement, particularly the "Irish backstop" that Johnson wishes to replace.[24] This being despite the public pronouncements of Prime Minister Johnson and the UK's departure date from the EU fast approaching.[24] Pro-Brexit UK media reported the matter as an ambush,[25] whilst other UK and international media outlets largely saw the incident, and the reaction of pro-Brexit UK media outlets to it, as confirming the empty bravado and rhetoric of Johnson's premiership, the reduced status of the UK post-Brexit, and the increasing hypersensitivity and aversion of pro-Brexit pundits and politicians to criticism.[26][23][24][27][28][29]

Personal life

Bettel is gay,[30] and has stated that increasingly in Luxembourg "people do not consider the fact of whether someone is gay or not". Bettel is Luxembourg's first openly gay Prime Minister and, worldwide, the third openly gay head of government following Iceland's Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir (2009–2013) and Belgium's Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo (2011–2014).[31] As of 2020, he is one of two openly gay world leaders in office, the other being Ana Brnabić, the Prime Minister of Serbia.

Bettel has been married to Gauthier Destenay since 2015,[32] the same year that same-sex marriage was introduced to Luxembourg.[33][34]

Honours and awards

Award or decorationCountryDate
Order of Civil Merit Spain2007
Order of Orange-Nassau (Grand Officer) Netherlands2012
Order of the Oak Crown (Knight Grand cross) Luxembourg2014[35][36]
Legion of Honour (Commandeur) France2015
Order of the Crown (Grand Cross) Belgium2017[37]
Order of Prince Henry (Grand Cross) Portugal2017[38]
Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana (Member 1st Class) Estonia2018[39]
Order of Orange-Nassau (Knight Grand Cross) Netherlands2018
Order of the Republic of Serbia[40] (Grand Collar, Serbia's highest award) Serbia2020

See also

  • Bettel–Schneider Ministry I (2013–2018)
  • Bettel–Schneider Ministry II (2018–)
  • List of openly LGBT heads of government
  • List of the first LGBT holders of political offices


  1. "Xavier Bettel". Ville de Luxembourg. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013.
  2. "Xavier Bettel". Bettel, Xavier: Biographie. Gouvernement du Grand Duché de Luxembourg. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  3. Reuters (4 December 2013). "Xavier Bettel Is Luxembourg's First Gay Prime Minister". Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  4. Anderson, Emma (16 October 2018). "Xavier Bettel asked to form next Luxembourg government". POLITICO.
  5. "Bettel appointed 'formateur' of new government". luxtimes.lu. 16 October 2018.
  6. "Xavier Bettel, un jeune libéral pressé". Le Républicain Lorrain. 26 October 2013.
  7. "Vielleicht nicht der beliebteste Premier". revue.lu. 18 December 2013. Archived from the original on 12 August 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 August 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. Brach, Jean-Luc (25 October 2016). "Quand l'IT rencontre l'espace" [When IT meets space]. www.itone.lu (in French). Retrieved 18 July 2019. Le Lycée Hélène Boucher de Thionville est LE lycée de la Grande Région. Grand nombre d’élèves Luxembourgeois et Belges y font ou y ont fait leurs études. Xavier Bettel, entre autre, a été l’un d’entre eux.
  10. "Xavier Bettel, un "fêtard" qui se remarquait". L'Essentiel Online. 5 November 2013.
  11. "Wie Xavier Bettel als Student Party machte". L'Essentiel Online. 5 November 2013.
  12. "Well-known Erasmus students – inspiring careers" (PDF). Programma LLP. p. 7.
  13. "TV Talkshow "Sonndes em 8" [1/2] (2005)". chienguidelux via YouTube. 2005.
  14. Strätz, Susanne (21 March 2007). "Luxemburg:Finanzmetropole im Modellbahn-Look". Der Spiegel.
  15. "Luxembourg's Prime Minister becomes "Doctor" - Delano - Luxembourg in English". Delano. 16 June 2017.
  16. Bettel, Xavier (15 June 2017). "Honoured that I have been awarded Doctor Honoris Causa by the Sacred Heart University Luxembourg on their 25. anniversarypic.twitter.com/i5RbQynZzo".
  17. "2004: Circonscription Centre". Service Information et Presse. 7 April 2009. Retrieved 10 April 2009.
  18. "Xavier Bettel - Luxembourg City's new Mayor", Wort.lu, 10 October 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  19. "Xavier Bettel sworn in as capital's mayor", Wort.lu, 24 November 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2011
  20. "1999: Circonscription Centre". Service Information et Presse. 7 April 2009. Retrieved 10 April 2009.
  21. "Xavier Bettel officially in charge of forming new Luxembourg government". Luxemburger Wort. 25 October 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  22. "Luxembourg PM Bettel begins second term of coalition government". Reuters. 5 December 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  23. Boffey, Daniel (17 September 2019). "Boris Johnson humiliated by Luxembourg PM at 'empty chair' press conference". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  24. Fleming, Sam; Brunsden, Jim; Parker, George (16 September 2019). "Boris Johnson frustrates EU with dearth of fresh Brexit detail". Financial Times. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  25. Rayner, Gordon; Yorke, Harry; Rothwell, James (16 September 2019). "Brexit latest news: Boris Johnson walks into ambush as Luxembourg's PM holds press conference next to empty podium". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  26. Smyth, Patrick (25 September 2019). "What the Boris-Bettel show said about European discourse | Europe Letter: To the British, last week's podium moment was a humiliation – but they misread the signals". The Irish Times. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  27. Fuentes, Ángel Gómez (16 September 2019). "Johnson forzado a huir de los abucheos en Luxemburgo". abc (in Spanish). Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  28. Peeperkorn, Marc (16 September 2019). "Brexitlunch met Juncker loopt uit op koude douche voor Boris Johnson". de Volkskrant (in Dutch). Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  29. Skarżyński, Stanisław (17 September 2019). "Premier Luksemburga brutalnie zadrwił z Borisa Johnsona [BREXIT Z BLISKA]". wyborcza.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  30. "Je suis surpris de devenir bourgmestre". L'essentiel. 11 October 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
  31. "Leo Varadkar, gay son of Indian immigrant, to be next Irish PM." The Guardian. 2 June 2017 Retrieved 2017-06-03.
  32. "Luxembourg PM first EU leader to marry same-sex partner". BBC News. 15 May 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  33. "Luxembourg Prime Minister engaged to be married". Luxemburger Wort. 21 August 2014.
  34. "Xavier Bettel and Gauthier Destenay say 'I do'". Luxemburger Wort. 15 May 2015.
  35. Publié le samedi 14 juin 2014 à 11:45 (14 June 2014). "Luxemburger Wort - Xavier Bettel honoré par le Grand-Duc". Wort.lu. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  36. Published on Saturday, 14 June 2014 at 08:31 (14 June 2014). "Luxemburger Wort - Bettel receives Grand Ducal order". Wort.lu. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  37. Remise de la grand-croix de l'ordre de la Couronne à Xavier Bettel par Charles Michel Archived 2 February 2018 at the Wayback Machine on www.gouvernement.lu
  38. GouvernementLU [@gouv_lu] (23 May 2017). "Dîner de gala au palais grand-ducal" (Tweet) via Twitter./photo/1
  39. "Vabariigi President".
  40. Serbia, RTS, Radio televizija Srbije, Radio Television of. "Одликовања за заслужне појединце и институције – захвалност онима који се боре за животе грађана". www.rts.rs. Retrieved 11 November 2020.

Corine Cahen

Political offices
Preceded by
Paul Helminger
Mayor of Luxembourg City
Succeeded by
Lydie Polfer
Preceded by
François Biltgen
Minister for Communications and Media
Minister for Religious Affairs
Preceded by
Jean-Claude Juncker
Prime Minister of Luxembourg
Party political offices
Preceded by
Claude Meisch
Leader of the Democratic Party
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