The mines have long since closed, the blast furnaces too. In the Ardennes, the industrial crisis affected demography: the department has lost 20,000 inhabitants in twenty years. The Moselle, a little further east, has gained as much. After coal and steel, a new miraculous mineral has been found there: cross-border employment.
Every day, 112,000 French people cross the border to go to work in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. They were only 77,000 ten years ago. Luxembourg’s economic dynamism also benefits the Belgians and the Germans. All nationalities combined, in twenty-five years, the number of workers domiciled abroad has increased from 58,000 to 211,000 in Luxembourg.
What drives the French to cross the border? Highly qualified positions in banks, audit firms or European institutions. But above all much higher salary levels than in France. “The day I signed my contract in Luxembourg, I had the feeling of hitting the jackpot, testifies Céline Meducin, 49, nurse at the Luxembourg Red Cross. I was a pharmacy preparer in France and I earned around 2,000 euros per month. I made a professional retraining to become a nurse. In France, I was offered a position at the public hospital for 1,500 euros per month, with a fixed-term contract to start. In Luxembourg, I was offered a CDI at 4,000 euros net, to which must be added very favorable family allowances and a company car. “
Jérôme Nimeskern, he claims to have multiplied his salary by 2.5 by changing country. In France, this 36-year-old coach driver worked in the family business. “We could not match Luxembourg salaries, he said. So I did like the others, I left. I have never regretted it. “
These large salaries irrigate the French economy. In the car parks of shopping centers in Metz or Thionville, there are no longer any company cars used by cross-border workers, often German SUVs bearing a yellow plate.
“Without Luxembourg, the Moselle would be completely impoverished, notes François Grosdidier, president (Les Républicains) of the Eurometropolis of Metz and mayor of the city. Luxembourg is the least taxed country in Europe while we are the most taxed country in the world. This creates a call for air. We can deplore it as a Frenchman, but for our department, it is an incredible opportunity. “
You have 76.2% of this article to read. The rest is for subscribers only.