In a note published in October 2022 and remained confidential until then, the association “beyond the borders” makes the fierce demonstration that in the agglomeration of Thionville (Moselle) border works have destroyed local jobs for fifteen years.
He doesn’t talk much about her. Her site is no longer up to date, her mailbox is broken, her Facebook poorly stocked, yet the association beyond the borders it regularly distills some summaries suitable to relaunch the debate on the perverse effects of cross-border work in Luxembourg.
Chaired according to its website by Dominique Gros, the former socialist mayor of Metz, it also counts among its members André Rossinot (former centrist mayor of Nancy) and Alain Casoni, honorary communist mayor of Villerupt.
The more cross-border commuters there are, the fewer jobs there areAssociation “beyond the borders”
The note entitled “Community of Agglomeration of Thionville-Portes de France, Growth of population, frontier workers and number of housing units but decrease in jobs“, which we have obtained, contains statistical elements that go largely against the tide with respect to the dominant discourse on Luxembourg and its economic model.
Dated October 2022, in the introduction it punishes our Luxembourg colleagues from Le Quotidien, who estimated on September 27 that “the economic dynamics had never known such growth in the areafrom Thionville.
Press on an INSEE study dated February 2, 2022and in “Observing the employment data from the NACE code of the Community of Agglomeration of Thionville-Portes de France since 2006, in fact, a sharp decline in jobs is observed“.
The document offers a radical reading of the phenomenon of the border, and lists its deleterious effects. If the population, the number of cross-border commuters and housing increased, 2,198 jobs would have been lost in the period 2006-2020, or 13.5% of the active population. Temporary employment agencies would have suffered the heaviest losses, with a thousand fewer jobs.
More surprisingly, rail transport would also suffer drainage, going from 711 to 325 jobs, as well as “the slowness of the wholesale food sector (which) does not fail to question the good health of restaurants and supermarkets and hypermarkets. The Luxembourg distribution company Provençale is easily identifiable in this sector“. It is not uncommon to meet her in Nancy too. With a frontier worker behind the wheel …
Among the sectors that are doing well, traditional and fast food, which earns 150 jobs. Some businesses are also experiencing phenomenal development. According to the association, the sector “hairdresser and beauty treatments“in the Thionvillois conurbation has seen its workforce increase from 6 to … 146 jobs in fifteen years!
But cosmetic magic badly hides a reality that the elected can no longer put under the carpet: Luxembourg is deeply destabilizing the border territories, because “it is not certain that the extension of the number of tax tolerance days for teleworking or the secondment of French frontier workers working in Luxembourg represents excellent news for the level of employment and the budgetary income of the French frontier territories concerned. But this is certainly excellent news for Luxembourg’s revenue and the future growth rate of cross-border workers.“.
The association also points the finger at posted workers, of which Luxembourg would be the European champion: “in 2018, therefore, 4,500 cross-border commuters were carrying out an activity in the French border territory on behalf of a company based in Luxembourg. However, these postings, 90% of which are carried out in the neighboring border countries of Luxembourg, correspond to the sectors of activity whose jobs have decreased the most in the agglomeration of Thionville“. In other words, it seems that the majority of frontier workers”start with the work under the arm“: we will work in Luxembourg … to be posted to France.
In conclusion, the association believes that “the more cross-border commuters there are, the fewer jobs there are“:”Of course, from the point of view of the inhabitants, the main thing is undoubtedly to find the service they need, be it provided by Thionville or Luxembourg. Of course, whether the plumber or bricklayer has a Luxembourgish paycheck is of little importance to the project owners and can even be a cost advantage. But from the point of view of the territory and its resources, photography is less beautiful. It must be said that, while the growth in the number of cross-border commuters generates growth in the population and its standard of living and stimulates the real estate market, it does not allow the economic fabric of the Porte de France – Conurbation of Thionville to be fed. On the contrary, everything shows that this border dynamic has contributed to the disintegration of its economic fabric since 2006, in line with INSEE studies.“.
Alain Casoni, mayor of Villerupt for forty years, vice president of beyond the borders specifies that “the association is not against cross-border work, it is part of the history of our territories“. It makes the observation of a”inequity between border territories … because the path currently undertaken is not good: wealth must be distributed in order to no longer be just a dormitory city“. He’s still campaigning for a tax demotion because”the six Franco-Luxembourg intergovernmental commissions have never produced anything in terms of co-development“.
The retrocession of part of the taxes paid by the Lorraine cross-border commuters in Luxembourg remains a chimera. While the Grand Duchy has signed agreements to this effect with Belgium and Germany, France has achieved nothing of the kind. However, according to the association, this financing would make it possible to offset part of the negative effects of Luxembourg’s attractiveness on Lorraine. But according to Isabelle Rauch, MP Horizons of the Moselle, the measure would be counterproductive. Do you believe that “the territory of the northern Moselle has a dynamic with the installation of Knauf or Kubota and the multimodal project of Illange“. According to the elected representative, the extension of teleworking in Luxembourg, imposed in France”will report taxation to Lorraine “:” we must be realistic and continue to discuss with our Luxembourg partners. We are getting results, we have the ear of the government, we have to move forward. “
The association was made up of Christian Eckert, former secretary of state in charge of the budget and public accounts under François Hollande beyond the borders in its beginnings. She left her last year: “my position is no longer that of the majority“. The former mayor of Trieux, a mining town in the Pays-Haut where most of the active population works in Luxembourg, has never believed in tax relegation to balance economic relations with the neighbor:”he does not want it, and probably will never want it, on the other hand he is in favor of co-financing projects in the border area, with them we have managed to bypass Audun-le-Tiche, relay car parks, co-work spaces“.
The math associate recalls trying to establish a special tax zone for the Pays-Haut and the Moselle: “it was called a free zone, even if it was not. It was a question of adjusting taxation over five years to facilitate the establishment and development of businesses in our sectors.Made in 2017 for the 2018 financial law, the project disappeared with the victory of Emmanuel Macron.
Since then, the former minister has retired from political life, but gladly gives his opinion on the phenomenon of the border, which fascinates him. He shares the observation of a pronounced economic drying up, due “to the tax dumping of companies that settle in Luxembourg only to pay less charges, even cross-border commuters find themselves there with wages and family allowances, must be recognized“. He is in favor of a dialogue with Luxembourg on training and development issues,”But it is useless to try to twist their arm“.