L-R: Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs; Vincenzo Amendola, Italy's Minister of European Affairs; Credit: MAEE

On 23 and 24 November 2020, Luxembourg's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean Asselborn, paid a working visit to Rome in Italy.

As part of the institutional dialogue established between Italy and Luxembourg in 2019, Minister Jean Asselborn had a working meeting with his Italian counterpart, Luigi Di Maio, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The two ministers took stock of bilateral relations between Luxembourg and Italy and explored their development prospects, particularly in the area of ​​space.

In this regard, Minister Jean Asselborn welcomed the historically close ties between Luxembourg and Italy, two founding members of the European Union (EU). These bonds of friendship and cooperation are also consolidated by the presence of a strong Italian community in Luxembourg, which has contributed for decades to the cultural and social wealth of the Grand Duchy.

The two foreign ministers particularly welcomed the very good cooperation between the Luxembourg and Italian authorities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Minister Jean Asselborn thanked his Italian counterpart for Italy's excellent cooperation in delivering equipment from NATO to Luxembourg during the first wave of the pandemic.

Moreover, Ministers Jean Asselborn and Luigi Di Maio discussed international news and fully agreed on the need to achieve an effective policy on migration at the European level, one that is based on respect for human dignity and a fair distribution of the burdens linked to the management of this crisis between European partners. They ministers also agreed on the need to further strengthen coordination within the EU in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and to achieve swift implementation of the EU recovery plan. In this context, they both recalled their fundamental attachment to the rule of law as an essential EU value. Discussions also touched on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and Libya as well as on the Italian Presidency of the G20 in 2021.

As part of his working visit, Minister Jean Asselborn also met with Italy's Minister of the Interior, Luciana Lamorgese. The ministers exchanged in particular on the different aspects of the pact on migration and asylum, presented by the European Commission in September. They reaffirmed the attachment of both Luxembourg and Italy to the development of a more effective, coherent and humane European migration policy. After sharing Italy's experience in this area as a country particularly faced with migratory flows, Minister Luciana Lamorgese thanked Luxembourg's Foreign Minister for his continued help in the relocation of migrants from Italy.

Finally, Minister Jean Asselborn met with Italy's Minister for European Affairs, Vincenzo Amendola, on the main topics of current European affairs. The two ministers focussed in particular on the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the period 2021-27 and the European recovery plan. Despite welcoming the agreement reached at the European Council on the Next Generation EU recovery plan, the ministers deplored the current blocking of the adoption of this package, which is considered to be of crucial importance for the future of Europe. They also reaffirmed the importance of respecting the rule of law within the EU. The two ministers then discussed the importance of more effective coordination at the EU level of the measures to be taken to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.