Christian Social People’s Party (CSV). The CSV has long been Luxembourg’s dominant political force.
Essentially a re-launch of the Party of the Right (PD) in 1944, the CSV is the continuation of Luxembourg’s dominant political ideology: Christian democracy.
The CSV/PD has been the largest political party in every election since 1919. However the party has only won a majority and formed a single party government once – in 1921.
The CSV has nonetheless been in opposition on only three occasions since then. The CSV’s dominance in government does not just owe to its sheer size, however, but its positioning at the very centre of the Luxembourg political spectrum, enabling it to form coalitions with parties to the left and right alike.
The party’s long stretches in office mean its premiers tend to enjoy long terms. The PM until 2013, Jean-Claude Juncker, was in office for almost 19 years, making him the longest serving head of government in the EU at the time of the 2013 election (when Juncker became PM of Luxembourg, John Major was still PM of the UK, Helmut Kohl was still Chancellor of Germany and Francois Mitterrand was still President of France).
The CSV is the heir of a tradition of political Catholicism and has traditionally been the most socially conservative of the three major parties. The party still favours a strong role for religion in public life and religious classes in school but the party now supports same-sex marriage and euthanasia.
The CSV is relatively centrist on economics; inspired by Catholic social teaching, the party created the basis of the Luxembourg welfare state. The party, shifting tack due to the increasingly secular nature of society, has become a technocratic, centrist beast, a beacon of stability, and sound economic management.
The CSV is resolutely pro-European and easily amongst the most pro-European parties in Europe. The CSV’s recent manifestos have included support for Eurobonds, and the need for ‘solidarity’ by wealthier member states. The party’s platform also speaks of the need for pan-European structural reforms aimed at economic growth and minimum workers’ rights for EU citizens. The party’s 2013 manifesto also included a rebuke to the UK government who, it said, was trying to “empty EU policies of their substance”.
This year the party’s list will be headed by Viviane Reding, the country’s current European Commissioner. Reding, an arch-federalist, has served three terms on the European Commission, and has previously called for a United States of Europe. She has been the nemesis of many Eurosceptics.
The party’s MEPs also include Astrid Lulling, the European Parliament’s oldest female MEP and the only MEP to have served in the European Parliament prior to direct election (she served between 1965 and 1974) when she was the European Parliament’s youngest MEP.
The CSV is a member of the European People’s Party. Juncker is the EPP’s candidate for Commission President. The party retains around an average loyalty to the EPP in the European Parliament, voting with it 96.2% of the time.