Xavier Bettel
Bettel in 2023
14th Deputy Prime Minister of Luxembourg
Assumed office
17 November 2023
Prime MinisterLuc Frieden
Preceded byFrançois Bausch
Paulette Lenert
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Assumed office
17 November 2023
Prime MinisterLuc Frieden
Preceded byJean Asselborn
24th Prime Minister of Luxembourg
In office
4 December 2013 – 17 November 2023
DeputyFrançois Bausch
Paulette Lenert
Preceded byJean-Claude Juncker
Succeeded byLuc Frieden
Minister for Communications and Media
In office
4 December 2013 – 17 November 2023
Preceded byFrançois Biltgen
Succeeded byLuc Frieden
Mayor of Luxembourg City
In office
24 November 2011 – 4 December 2013
Preceded byPaul Helminger
Succeeded byLydie Polfer
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
13 July 1999 – 4 December 2013
Succeeded byFrank Colabianchi
Personal details
Born (1973-03-03) 3 March 1973 (age 50)
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Political partyDemocratic Party (1988–present)
(m. 2015)
Alma materAristotle University of Thessaloniki
Nancy 2 University

Xavier Bettel (Luxembourgish pronunciation: [ˈksɑvieː ˈbətəl]; born 3 March 1973) is a Luxembourgish lawyer and politician who serves as the 14th deputy prime minister of Luxembourg and as the minister for Foreign Affairs since 2023. He served as the 24th prime minister of Luxembourg from 2013 to 2023. He was a member of the Chamber of Deputies (1999–2013) and Mayor of Luxembourg City (2011–2013).[1][2]

Bettel is a member of the Democratic Party (DP).[3] Following the 2013 general election, he took office as Prime Minister and succeeded Jean-Claude Juncker of the Christian Social People's Party (CSV). Bettel became the first openly gay prime minister in the world to serve a second term in 2018, when his mandate was renewed. He was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in 2023 in the Frieden-Bettel Government.[4][5] He remains incredibly popular,[6] and received the most votes in the 2023 elections.[7]

Early life

Bettel was born on 3 March 1973 in Luxembourg City. His father, Claude Bettel, was a wine merchant.[8] Bettel said he has an Orthodox Russian grandfather and a Polish-Jewish grandfather, while his parents were Catholics.[9] His mother Aniela is a grandniece of the Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff.[10] After completing his secondary school studies at Lycée Hélène Boucher in Thionville,[11] 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.[12][13] 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.[14] For four years in the early 2000s he hosted Sonndes em 8, a weekly talkshow, on the now-defunct private T.TV television network.[15][16] In 2017, he also received an Honorary doctorate from Sacred Heart University Luxembourg.[17][18]

Municipal politics (1999-2013)

In the elections of 1999, 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] On 28 November 2005, after the municipal elections in which he was placed fourth on the DP list, Bettel was appointed échevin (alderman) 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. He resigned from his position as DP leader in the Chamber of Deputies, which he had held since 2009.[19][20]

Chamber of Deputies (1999-2013)

Bettel ran for the Chamber of Deputies in the 1999 general election; he finished tenth amongst DP candidates in the Centre constituency, with the top seven being elected.[21] However, the DP overtook the Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP) as the second-largest party; 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, as well as Colette Flesch not taking her seat so as to focus on her role as Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Bettel was appointed to the Chamber of Deputies, starting 12 August 1999.[2]

By the time of the 2004 general election, Bettel had significantly consolidated his position; he finished fourth (of the five DP members elected), assuring him a seat in the Chamber of Deputies.[22]

Premiership (2013-2023)

First term

Xavier Bettel with Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas in Tallinn on 29 September 2017
Xavier Bettel with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov in Sofia on 16 May 2018

In 2013, Bettel was elected leader of the Democratic Party. In the 2013 general election, he 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.[23] He assumed his post as Luxembourg's Prime Minister on 4 December 2013. In the government's coalition of the Democratic Party (DP), Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP) and The Greens, he led the cabinet with co-Deputy Prime Ministers Etienne Schneider and Félix Braz. In his first term, he also held the functions of Minister of State, Minister for Communications and the Media, Minister for Culture and Minister for Religious Affairs.[2]

Xavier Bettel and President Vladimir Putin (October 6, 2015)

Second term

Bettel and US Ambassador Randy Evans at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial, for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, on 16 December 2019
Xavier Bettel with Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob in Ljubljana on 22 February 2023

Following the 2018 election, he became the first openly gay prime minister in the world to be reelected for a second term. He began his second term when his government was formed on 5 December 2018,[24] which he currently leads with co-Deputy Prime Ministers François Bausch and Dan Kersch. The government is a continuation between the Democratic Party, the Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party 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.[25] 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 wished to replace.[26] This being despite the public pronouncements of Prime Minister Johnson and the UK's departure date from the EU fast approaching.[26] Pro-Brexit UK media reported the matter as an ambush,[27] whilst other UK and international media outlets largely saw the incident, as well as the reaction of pro-Brexit UK media outlets to it, as confirming the increasing hypersensitivity of pro-Brexit pundits and politicians to criticism.[25][26][28][29][30][31]

Xavier Bettel with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on 21 June 2022

On 29 February 2020, all of Luxembourg's public transport became free of charge as a result of the Bettel II government coalition agreement.[32]

Deputy premiership (2023-)

Bettel was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in the Frieden-Bettel Government, after the coalition lost the 2023 election and only gained 29 seats.[33] A new coalition government emerged between the CSV and DP, in which Luc Frieden is the Prime Minister.

Personal life

Bettel, who is openly gay,[34] has stated that increasingly in Luxembourg "people do not consider the fact of whether someone is gay or not". Bettel was Luxembourg's first openly gay Prime Minister. Worldwide, he was 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).[35] He was one of four openly gay world leaders in office, the other being Ana Brnabić, the Prime Minister of Serbia, Leo Varadkar, the Taoiseach of Ireland, and Edgars Rinkēvičs, the President of Latvia.

Bettel has been married to Gauthier Destenay since 2015,[36] the same year that same-sex marriage was introduced in Luxembourg.[37][38]

COVID-19 hospitalisation

On 4 July 2021, Bettel was admitted to hospital following a COVID-19 diagnosis on 27 June. The move was initially described as precautionary and for tests. It was reported that he experienced "mild symptoms" such as high temperature and headache.[39] The following day, it was reported that he was in a "serious but stable" condition and would remain hospitalised.[40] On 7 July 2021, the government said that Bettel would remain hospitalised a "little bit longer" due to low saturation of oxygen in his blood and that he was recovering "little by little".[41] On 8 July 2021, Bettel was discharged from hospital. It was announced he would resume activities soon via remote work for the rest of his isolation period. Bettel thanked health authorities for the treatment during his hospitalisation period.[42][43]

Honours and awards

Award or decoration Country Date
Ribbon Name
Order of Civil Merit  Spain 2007[citation needed]
Order of Orange-Nassau (Knight Grand Officer)  Netherlands 2012[citation needed]
Order of the Oak Crown (Knight Grand cross)  Luxembourg 2014[44][45]
Order of the Legion of Honour (Commander)  France 2015[citation needed]
Order of the Crown (Knight Grand Cross)  Belgium 2017[46]
Order of Prince Henry (Grand Cross)  Portugal 2017[47]
Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana (Grand Cross)  Estonia 2018[48]
Order of Orange-Nassau (Knight Grand Cross)  Netherlands 2018[citation needed]
Order of the Republic of Serbia (Grand Cross)  Serbia 2020[49]
GRE Order of Honour Grand Cross BAR Order of Honour (Grand Cross)  Greece 2023[50]

Allegations of plagiarism

"In [Bettel's] thesis at the University of Nancy there is not one correct reference," wrote Pol Reuter with reference to research by Reporter.lu. The master's thesis, submitted in 1999, is dedicated to the topic of electoral reform at the European Parliament. Allegedly, only two of the total 56 pages were free of plagiarism. The plagiarism findings are said to have been confirmed by several independent researchers.[51] Bettel stated he wrote this thesis with a clear conscience, although "from today’s standpoint, it could have – yes, maybe should have – been done differently." He also stated he would accept the findings of the University of Lorraine on the matter.[52]

See also


  1. ^ "Xavier Bettel". Ville de Luxembourg. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Xavier Bettel". Bettel, Xavier: Biographie. Gouvernement du Grand Duché de Luxembourg. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  3. ^ "Xavier Bettel Is Luxembourg's First Gay Prime Minister". Huffington Post. 4 December 2013. 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 3.0 –et le Luxembourg évolue – Forum.lu" (in French). Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  7. ^ "Election data analysis: Who received the most personal votes?". today.rtl.lu. Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  8. ^ "Luxembourg's PM refuses to see European values 'erased with tipp-ex'". 11 October 2016.
  9. ^ Marion Van Renterghem (2019). Mon Europe, je t'aime moi non plus: 1989-2019. I have an Orthodox Russian grandfather, a Polish Jewish grandfather, Catholic parents,[...]
  10. ^ "Like his tiny country, Xavier Bettel has learned to pick his shots". Politico. 2019.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ "Xavier Bettel, un "fêtard" qui se remarquait". L'Essentiel Online. 5 November 2013.
  13. ^ "Wie Xavier Bettel als Student Party machte". L'Essentiel Online. 5 November 2013.
  14. ^ "Well-known Erasmus students – inspiring careers" (PDF). Programma LLP. p. 7.
  15. ^ "TV Talkshow "Sonndes em 8" [1/2] (2005)". chienguidelux via YouTube. 2005. Archived from the original on 20 December 2021.
  16. ^ Strätz, Susanne (21 March 2007). "Luxemburg:Finanzmetropole im Modellbahn-Look". Der Spiegel.
  17. ^ "Luxembourg's Prime Minister becomes "Doctor" - Delano - Luxembourg in English". Delano. 16 June 2017.
  18. ^ 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".
  19. ^ "Xavier Bettel - Luxembourg City's new Mayor", Wort.lu, 10 October 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  20. ^ "Xavier Bettel sworn in as capital's mayor", Wort.lu, 24 November 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2011
  21. ^ "1999: Circonscription Centre". Service Information et Presse. 7 April 2009. Retrieved 10 April 2009.
  22. ^ "2004: Circonscription Centre". Service Information et Presse. 7 April 2009. Retrieved 10 April 2009.
  23. ^ "Xavier Bettel officially in charge of forming new Luxembourg government". Luxemburger Wort. 25 October 2013. Archived from the original on 19 March 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  24. ^ "Luxembourg PM Bettel begins second term of coalition government". Reuters. 5 December 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  25. ^ a b Boffey, Daniel (17 September 2019). "Boris Johnson humiliated by Luxembourg PM at 'empty chair' press conference". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  26. ^ a b c 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.
  27. ^ 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. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ Fuentes, Ángel Gómez (16 September 2019). "Johnson forzado a huir de los abucheos en Luxemburgo". abc (in Spanish). Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  30. ^ Peeperkorn, Marc (16 September 2019). "Brexitlunch met Juncker loopt uit op koude douche voor Boris Johnson". de Volkskrant (in Dutch). Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  31. ^ Skarżyński, Stanisław (17 September 2019). "Premier Luksemburga brutalnie zadrwił z Borisa Johnsona [BREXIT Z BLISKA]". wyborcza.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  32. ^ "Un an de gratuité des transports publics au Luxembourg", lequotidien.lu (in French), 28 February 2021.
  33. ^ "DP gain two seats in Luxembourg elections". ALDE Party. Retrieved 21 January 2024.
  34. ^ "Je suis surpris de devenir bourgmestre". L'essentiel. 11 October 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
  35. ^ "Leo Varadkar, the gay son of an Indian immigrant, to be next Irish PM." The Guardian. 2 June 2017 Retrieved 2017-06-03.
  36. ^ "Luxembourg PM first EU leader to marry same-sex partner". BBC News. 15 May 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  37. ^ "Luxembourg Prime Minister engaged to be married". Luxemburger Wort. 21 August 2014. Archived from the original on 4 May 2017. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  38. ^ "Xavier Bettel and Gauthier Destenay say 'I do'". Luxemburger Wort. 15 May 2015. Archived from the original on 1 February 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  39. ^ Henley, Jon (5 July 2021). "Luxembourg prime minister admitted to hospital with Covid". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  40. ^ "Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel 'seriously ill' with COVID-19". BNO News. 5 July 2021. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  41. ^ Hennebert, Jean-Michel (7 July 2021). "Xavier Bettel restera hospitalisé «encore un peu»" [Xavier Bettel will remain hospitalized "a little longer"]. Luxemburger Wort (in French). Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  42. ^ "Xavier Bettel quitte l'hôpital" [Xavier Bettel leaves the hospital] (in French). Government of Luxembourg. 8 July 2021. Retrieved 8 July 2021.
  43. ^ AFP (8 July 2021). "Xavier Bettel leaves hospital after Covid case". RTL Today. Retrieved 8 July 2021.
  44. ^ 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.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  45. ^ Published on Saturday, 14 June 2014 at 08:31 (14 June 2014). "Luxemburger Wort - Bettel receives Grand Ducal order". Wort.lu. Archived from the original on 27 October 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2016.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  46. ^ 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
  47. ^ GouvernementLU [@gouv_lu] (23 May 2017). "Dîner de gala au palais grand-ducal" (Tweet) – via Twitter./photo/1
  48. ^ "Vabariigi President".
  49. ^ 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.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  50. ^ "Friendship and Solidarity: Xavier Bettel honoured by Greece for exceptional contributions". today.rtl.lu. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  51. ^ Reuter, Pol (27 October 2021). "Der Copy-and-Paste-Premier". Reporter.lu. Archived from the original on 27 October 2021. Retrieved 27 October 2021.
  52. ^ "'Only two pages' of Luxembourg PM's university thesis were not plagiarised". the Guardian. 27 October 2021. Retrieved 21 April 2022.
Political offices Preceded byPaul Helminger Mayor of Luxembourg City 2011–2013 Succeeded byLydie Polfer Preceded byFrançois Biltgen Minister for Communications and Media 2013–2023 Succeeded byLuc FriedenElisabeth Margue Minister for Religious Affairs 2013–2023 Preceded byJean-Claude Juncker Prime Minister of Luxembourg 2013–2023 Succeeded byLuc Frieden Preceded byJean Asselborn Minister for Foreign Affairs 2023–present Incumbent Party political offices Preceded byClaude Meisch Leader of the Democratic Party 2013–2015 Succeeded byCorinne Cahen