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  #41  
Old 12-04-2008, 08:50 AM
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PM Juncker is a great Statesman, coming from a small country he did and is doing a lot for Europe.
It is sad that in his own country they consider that all is his fault.
Grand Duke Henri should make a difference between himself as a Catholic and as a Statesman.
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  #42  
Old 12-04-2008, 11:55 AM
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Firstly, the palliative care approach mentioned above is not always practical / sufficient for the terminally ill - there are a lot worse things to terminal illness than just pain. Pain in a big part, but not the only part, of the suffering of a terminally ill patient. Giving a terminally ill patient lots of morphine isn't necessarily going to make things tolerable for them.

Secondly, having a pro-euthanasia law does NOT mean you can't have effective palliative care as well! As Luxembourg is such a rich country, I'm sure they have an excellent health care system. Certainly more should be done to increase access to good end-of-life care, especially for those who are poor. However, there is nothing to stop Luxembourg from having a good palliative options AS WELL AS the option of euthanasia. It's a fallacy to think they can only have one but not the other - they can have both.

Signing in the euthanasia law will NOT deny anyone the right to good end-of-life care in a country like Luxembourg. Outlawing euthanasia also does not guarantee terminally ill people would get good palliative care. Refusing to sign the law also does not offer any better options for the people. Passing the law will give people a choice in what to do. Blocking it, however, will be a salve on the conscience of those who oppose it but unfortunately will bring zero benefit to the terminally ill. If Henri blocks the law but takes active steps to offer better alternatives to the terminally ill that could eliminate / reduce the need for euthanasia, then I would feel better about this. However, at present medical science does not have such a magic solution - that's why so many people still choose euthanasia for themselves. By blocking people's right to make this choice, Henri is taking away an important option from these people but offering no viable alternatives to them in exchange.

I can understand GD Henri's dilemma over this - a man of faith must stand up for his principles or else he is a hypocrite. I admire the courage of his convictions. However, as a constitutional monarch in a democratic country, he simply cannot allow his personal beliefs to get in the way of a law which has the support of the people. In particular since his beliefs are likely due to his Catholic faith - there are people in Luxembourg who are non-Catholics who may support this law. Should the Catholic beliefs of the GD be allowed to deny the right to euthanasia of those non-Catholics? And should the religious beliefs of the GD be allowed determine what laws may or may not be passed in Luxembourg? I think NO, because I'm personally a big advocate for the separation of church (religion) and state.

Religion aside, the GD's act of vetoing a law which has public support is an attack on the democratic rights of the people. I'm very sure that's not his intention, but I'm afraid that's the result. If he is allowed to have his way despite what the people truly want, it would set a dangerous precedent for future GDs.
In short, I oppose Henri's move in this matter on three grounds: the first, because his objection to the law will provide no real benefit to anyone but could in fact cause untold misery to some. He may salve his conscience doing this, but in reality he will help absolutely no one. The second, because I don't believe a GD should be allowed to impose his religious belief on the people, some of whom do not share those beliefs. The third, because I think a GD should not be allowed to oppose the will of the people as Luxembourg is a democractic country.

On the other side of the coin. The veto power of the GD is there to protect the people from a government that wants to pass an unpopular law. Would stripping the GD's power in this way then cause the people to be more vulnerable to an unscruplous, power-hungry government? Also, I am not clear on Luxembourgian law - I believe GD's powers are enshrined in the constitution. So to strip Henri of his power to oppose the law requires the constitution to be amended. How is this done? Will a referendum be required? In my country, the constitution cannot be amended without a public referendum, this is the main difference between a constitution and an Act of parliament.
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  #43  
Old 12-04-2008, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Nitefeatherz View Post
I don't understand why some people feel it's sign the law or abdicate. Why can't there just be a way to overrule the refusal of the Grand Duke rather than remove his ability to pass all laws completely?

Similar to what we Americans have in our balance of powers....our legislative body can decide to overrule the presidential veto if they want the law passed badly enough it just takes more time to put it through once it's been veto'd.

That allows the Grand Duke to follow his beliefs and allows the legislative body the ability to pass the laws they want without one person holding them back.
It is nice to know that the USA has got such advanced political system. As far as I have understood, a constitutional monarchy is an entirely different system. Grand Duke is required to put his signiture on laws that are approved by Parliament, thereby accepting the will of common people, which is expressed by Parliament members. This has nothing to do with personal religious beliefs. Whether or not Grand Duke Henri likes it, he has to sign this law. Not singing the law has resulted in the crisis that may lead to trimming Grand Duke's veto powers. It is as simple as that.
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  #44  
Old 12-04-2008, 02:42 PM
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The government has changed the article 34 of the Constitution of the rights of the Grand Duke in the Parliament. The Grand Duke doesn't have to approve laws in the future! The text proposition is the following: "Le Grand Duc promulgue les lois dans les trois mois du vote de la Chambre."
("The Grand Duke promulgates the laws in the three months of the vote of the Chamber of Parliament.")
Prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker explains: "The Grand Duke doesn't have to occupy of the content of the laws but only of the implement."

----------------------------------------------------------------------

So basically the powers of the Grand Duke are reduced because of this incidence! It's really strange that they change the law of the constitution so quickly (normally it's taking months before a law is changed). Considering the tone of Juncker's interview on RTL "I'm furious" the atmosphere between the Government and the Grand Duke is far away from being harmonious.

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Originally Posted by Jacknch View Post
This is a very difficult situation and one in which a solution might not easily be found. What is the general consensus on euthanasia in Luxembourg? Does it have much support from the citizens of Luxembourg?
Luxembourg's left orientated newspaper "Tageblatt" made a poll about the Euthenasia on 28.02.2008 and according to them 78,3% of Luxembourg's population is favoring the Euthenasia law.
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  #45  
Old 12-04-2008, 03:08 PM
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Ok I am not politically minded however I do believe that the Grand Duke had every right to say no to the bill, it is his own opinion. It is unfortunate his power has been limited because of the incident. Is there no way of the Grand Duke having a vote and if the majortity of parliament votes in the opposite way then he has had his say and the bill can still be passed?
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  #46  
Old 12-04-2008, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by maria-olivia View Post
PM Juncker is a great Statesman, coming from a small country he did and is doing a lot for Europe.
It is sad that in his own country they consider that all is his fault.
Grand Duke Henri should make a difference between himself as a Catholic and as a Statesman.
Yes Prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker is a great Statesman who has clear visions and is also known to not hide the truth and speak clear words if needed.

Prime minister Jean Claude Juncker explains in the official interview: "A few months ago the Grand Duke had said to me in our regular discussions that he won't promulgate the Euthenasia Law. I've said to the Grand Duke during the past months and days that I don't think based on our Constitution practice that the Grand Duke cannot set against the will of voted Parliament. The whole government has shared this opinion on last Friday. [...] The fact that I'm opposing to the Grand Duke is because we are in an exceptional situation. [...] This disagreement is so serious that I can't hide it in front of the country. We are living in a world which is marked by extreme seriousness. We have a financial crisis, a big economy crises ... and thus we don't need an institutional crisis. In order to respect the freedom of conscience and the opinion of the Grand Duke we have come to the conclusion with the Grand Duke and the chiefs of other parties that we have to change the constitution which will be that the Grand Duke will still promulgate the laws in the future as chief of the executive power but he doesn't have to sanction laws as a part of the legislative power because by the term "sanction" you also consider "aprove" . Considering that the Grand Duke won't approve the content of the law, that we want to avoid an institutional crisis and also give the Grand Duke the rights for freedom of conscience and opinion, we will take out of the article 34 of the Constitution the term that the Grand Duke has to sanction but there will be no changes that the Grand Duke can still promulgate the laws.[...]"
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  #47  
Old 12-04-2008, 04:53 PM
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I don't agree with any one person or one group's religious beliefs dictating public policy. It's not fair to all of the groups that comprise a country especially those groups that do not share the same religious beliefs.

I am Catholic and have many strong opinions and beliefs on many things. But, I realize that not everyone in the U.S. is Catholic and my personal religious beliefs cannot dictate the laws and policies of an entire nation.

However, the people of Luxembourg live within a constitutional monarchy and seem to accept the things that come with it. Their head of state is chosen by birth, not by election. Their head of state will and must be Catholic, so they should expect to deal with these types of incidents perhaps even more in the future. That is simply the way that things are.
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  #48  
Old 12-04-2008, 05:29 PM
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Bottom line church and state are separate. Agreed.
I've read that not all of Luxembourg is Catholic, it has nothing to do with catholisism exclusively, I don't know of any religion that would have any positive opinion on this matter, not one. If I'm wrong please correct me.
I respect Henri for not being a hypocrite and signing something he flat out opposes. People might lose more respect for him if he just signed to go with the flow.
Minimizing his executive powers? Fine. What then is the purpose of having a Grand Duke and have him look over laws that will pass whether he signs them or not? Is he to become a mere historical symbol? That doesn't seem fair to me either.
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  #49  
Old 12-04-2008, 05:39 PM
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Guillaume and the Euthanasia Law

In light of the controversy surrounding GD Henri's stance on the Euthanasia law and consequently, Parliament's decision to ammend the constitution to minimize the GD's executive power, How might Guillaume's future as a Head of State be impacted by what is going on this week? Would his outlook on his responsibilities change? Would he have signed the law, had his father abdicated in his favor?
What do you guys think?
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  #50  
Old 12-04-2008, 06:50 PM
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I think that all the monarchies should to accept the changes, the democracy. For me, is just that Henri has his points of view, but, he should accept the ideas of his goverment, and of his people, to as others kings and queens. I belive that isnt just that today some countries have kings with many powers, as Juan Carlos of Spain, the king of Swazilandia or the sultan of Brunei. Too, I think that all the monarchies should to pay taxes, and they should to declarate all their buys, as houses, cars, vacations, etc, to the parlament. This that is pass in Luxemburg is good.
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  #51  
Old 12-04-2008, 07:35 PM
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PM Juncker and the Lux. parlament are quick, good that they solved the issue so quickly! Since he can not veto anything anymore does that mean the grand duke now has to sign the law anyway or abdicate? Or will they change another law so he does not has to sign any bills anyway.
All bloody amateurish of the Grand Duke!
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  #52  
Old 12-04-2008, 07:45 PM
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I found all your opinions very interesting to read.

I fully understand when some of you say that personal opinions and constitutional duties are not always going to match up. A King must respect the will of the Parliament, of course. But there are difficult issues where things become complicated to deal with...
I understand his position. He's a Christian and he knows that the Reward from God is better than rewards from men.

The Vatican wouldn't excommunicated him. I believe the Vatican doesn't excommunicate anyone anymore . Here in Portugal, the President (a professing roman catholic) signed the abortion's law and the Pope didn't excommunicated him. I think Grand Duke doesn't fear the Pope, the Pope has not the same power as he had 500 years ago. The Grand Duke just wants to act according to his conscience (IMO). As kyansaunt20 said, yes I also admire him, he is a brave person.

What else can I say? This is indeed a very dificult decision for him... As a Grand Duke of Luxembourg he has to respect and accept what his people want but as a human being he can't do anything contrary to his beliefs. If Luxembourg wants a roman catholic person as their monarch, then there is no other option: people have to accept the roman catholic beliefs. I am an Evangelical, not a Roman Catholic but it seems logical to me that if I had a roman catholic monarch I wouldn't expect from him anything else than acting as a roman catholic.
Of course not everyone living there is a roman catholic. But I guess the majority still is.

If the Grand Duke feels he's being too pressured he can always resign and ask a referendum for monarchy. Then people could say if they prefer a president who sign up all the laws they want, or if they still want a roman catholic monarch.
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  #53  
Old 12-04-2008, 08:23 PM
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As a Grand Duke of Luxembourg he has to respect and accept what his people want but as a human being he can't do anything contrary to his beliefs.
One of his beliefs should be that constitutional monarchs do not set government policy.

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Originally Posted by Regina View Post
If Luxembourg wants a roman catholic person as their monarch, then there is no other option: people have to accept the roman catholic beliefs.
Sure there is another option. Give the Grand Duke a book about constitutional monarchy and tell him to follow it scrupulously or he'll be on the next train out. Unless there's a very, very good reason (i.e. that the law would be unconstitutional; his personal beliefs are not a good reason) to refuse to sign a bill, he should not do it.

Other countries have monarchs with strong personal religious convictions and they manage to separate their duties from their personal lives (and they manage to not even give off hints about their views on such matters, which is ideal). Henri can do it too.
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  #54  
Old 12-05-2008, 08:38 AM
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Grand Duke Jean once signed the law of abortion in 1978 against his own will!

The last time a sovereign of Luxembourg refused to sign a law has been in 1912 when GD Marie-Adelaide refused to sign a new school law which was critisized by the Catholic Church. She was only 18 years old at the time.

Overall I think Grand Duke Henri could have done better. First of all he should have been better adviced. In our times of financial crisis where the citizens are lacking money the monarchies are more and more critisized and with such actions he is just giving oil to the fire.
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  #55  
Old 12-06-2008, 12:05 AM
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A poll done by a right-wing newspaper using different questions might have come up with the opposite, or at least, different results. I don't agree with government by pollsters.

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Originally Posted by drimal View Post
Luxembourg's left orientated newspaper "Tageblatt" made a poll about the Euthenasia on 28.02.2008 and according to them 78,3% of Luxembourg's population is favoring the Euthenasia law.
So am I. I don't believe that anyone should be forced to do something by the state that's contrary to his religious beliefs.

People often think of the division of church and state in terms of the state being sovereign over one's conscience, but the division should work the other way as well.


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I'm personally a big advocate for the separation of church (religion) and state.
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  #56  
Old 12-06-2008, 02:12 AM
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So am I. I don't believe that anyone should be forced to do something by the state that's contrary to his religious beliefs.
It's not force. It's consequences, which are a part of making decisions. Henri chose to violate his trust with the people of Luxembourg to suit his personal religious persuasion. He's not going to be able to do it again, at least, it looks like.
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  #57  
Old 12-06-2008, 12:57 PM
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So am I. I don't believe that anyone should be forced to do something by the state that's contrary to his religious beliefs.
People often think of the division of church and state in terms of the state being sovereign over one's conscience, but the division should work the other way as well.
Mermaid, I wasn't actually saying that Henri had to allow the state to be 'sovereign' over his religious beliefs simply in the interests of separation of church and state (SoCS). I was actually trying to say that his public duty should be sovereign over his religious beliefs.

Guarding SoCS may not necessarily be a duty of the GD, but supporting the people's will and doing what is best for THEM, regardless or personal preference, is. In this case, Henri's failure to fulfill his public duty would have led to violation of SoCS, a very serious consequence. My first objection here is his failure to fulfill his duty. My second objection is that additionally, this failure results in violation of SoCS.

I wonder though how he feels about the amended constitution and his place in it. Relieved because he can now follow his conscience without worrying about failing his duty? Or sad because he has diminished the power of the Grand Ducal office? Or frustrated because now that icky law will pass despite his protest and he can't do a thing to stop it anymore?

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Originally Posted by drimal View Post
In order to respect the freedom of conscience and the opinion of the Grand Duke we have come to the conclusion with the Grand Duke and the chiefs of other parties that we have to change the constitution which will be that the Grand Duke will still promulgate the laws in the future as chief of the executive power but he doesn't have to sanction laws as a part of the legislative power because by the term "sanction" you also consider "aprove" . Considering that the Grand Duke won't approve the content of the law, that we want to avoid an institutional crisis and also give the Grand Duke the rights for freedom of conscience and opinion, we will take out of the article 34 of the Constitution the term that the Grand Duke has to sanction but there will be no changes that the Grand Duke can still promulgate the laws.[...]"
Thanks for posting this, drimal. I admit this is the first I've ever heard of Juncker but I'm impressed. Amazing how he managed to spin it so that it seems like the government is not stripping GD of his power, in fact they are protecting his "rights for freedom of conscience and opinion". And they came to this decision "with the Grand Duke and the chiefs of other parties" - in other words, everyone agreed! And it's not that the GD can't sanction laws anymore, he just "doesn't have to".

Wow.

The PM seems to have handled this horrible situation extremely well.
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  #58  
Old 12-06-2008, 11:13 PM
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I like that Grand Duke Henri is standing up for his beliefs. I admire that, but it becomes a "problem when you are involved in politics. I think that him bringing his belief into the public (if it was him that did it - I don't know) probably was not the smartest thing to do. I give my praises to PM Juncker for handling the situation well and fast.
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  #59  
Old 12-06-2008, 11:48 PM
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I admire the Prime Minister for handling this situation with such diplomacy. This is one of the quickest and most thoughtful solutions to a political issue that I have ever seen in any country on earth. The PM is truly impressive.
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  #60  
Old 12-11-2008, 04:05 PM
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The Grand Duke has Earned my respect by this Action.
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