How a moribund steel region has found a lifeline – and jobs – in Luxembourg


Town after town looks on in horror and dismay as the furnaces close down in the Fensch Valley in Lorraine in north-east France. The only lifeline left to the locals is the nearby Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in the shape of its banks and its factories. Nearly 80,000 workers from the Lorraine region now make the daily commute to tap the growth and higher pay on the other side of the border. Rachida El Azzouzi reports.

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Doris is a waitress at one of the last remaining restaurants in Hayange, a factory town next to Florange and just a few miles away from Thionville, the main city in this part of the Moselle département in north-east France. Hayange is home to P3 and P6, the most famous blast furnaces in the country. Doris doesn’t generally “talk politics with customers”. But on this particular day, when she heard the news she is incensed. “[Actor Gérard] Depardieu has cleared off to Belgium, budget minister [Jérôme] Cahuzac had a bank account in Switzerland and [steel firm Arcelor]Mittal is killing off the region with the government’s help,” rails the young woman while passing out plates of pasta.