On Monday 21 November 2022, Luxembourg's Directorate of Defence confirmred that the Luxembourg army will participate in two new international missions from 2023.
The two new international missions comprises the allied battle group in Romania as part of NATO's enhanced Vigilance Activities (eVA) and the military assistance mission of the European Union (EU) for Ukraine (EU Military Assistance Mission for Ukraine – EUMAM Ukraine).
On 10 and 21 November 2022, Luxembourg's Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence, François Bausch, consulted the competent committees of the Chamber of Deputies (Luxembourg's parliament) on this subject.
In February 2022, following the start of the Russian aggression war in Ukraine, NATO began to reinforce existing battlegroups in Poland and the Baltic States and agreed to establish four more multinational battlegroups in Bulgaria, in Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. Allies are committed to deploying robust and combat-ready forces on the Alliance's eastern flank. At the Madrid Summit in June 2022, allies agreed to adopt Enhanced Vigilance Activities (eVA) and reinforce multinational battlegroups up to brigade size. The eight battlegroups demonstrate the strength of the transatlantic bond as well as the Alliance's solidarity, determination and ability to respond to any aggression.
Luxembourg's participation in eVA Romania foresees, at this stage, approximately 25 positions per rotation, with a maximum threshold of 30 members of the army, for a period of 28 months. The mission of the members of the army is to participate with a light reconnaissance platoon, integrated into a Dutch or Belgian company, as well as possibly with staff positions or operational, administrative, logistical or medical support.
A grand-ducal regulation, the preliminary draft of which will be submitted for the approval of the Council of Government, will determine the methods of execution of the participation of the army in the Romania eVA.
On 29 and 30 August 2022, six months after the outbreak of the Russian war in Ukraine, EU Defence Ministers gave their agreement in principle during their informal meeting in Prague, on the need to create a defence mission, namely the EUMAM Ukraine. On 15 November 2022, the Foreign Affairs Council of Defence Ministers launched this military assistance mission.
EUMAM Ukraine will build on existing bilateral training initiatives of some Member States, as well as new collective and specialised training modules, and will be closely coordinated with other international partners (e.g. US and the UK). The mission plans to train approximately 12,000 members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine through collective training as well as 2,800 members of the Armed Forces through specialised training by spring 2023. This flexible mission, modular and calibrated according to the evolution of the war and Ukrainian needs, is limited to two years and will operate within two tactical field command centres - one located in Poland, the other located in Germany. In addition, the training which until now has taken place bilaterally between Ukraine and the various Member States, will henceforth be coordinated by the EU Military Staff within the framework of EUMAM Ukraine and "detached" formations.
The participation of the Luxembourg army in EUMAM Ukraine provides for the deployment of a soldier to the position of InfoManager in Germany. The duration of Luxembourg's participation will be 24 months, therefore for the entire duration of the mission. It is also planned to support the training and specialised training offers of the Belgian army, and if necessary of other partner armies, in 2023 by means of the temporary provision (from 1 day to a few weeks) of Luxembourgish specialist instructors. These training courses will take place on Belgian soil or in another Member State.
A draft Grand-Ducal regulation determining the terms and conditions will be submitted for approval by the Council of Government.
Update on Luxembourg's military aid for Ukraine
In the context of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, Luxembourg Defence has so far supplied or ordered lethal and non-lethal equipment worth €74.4 million, which represents more 16% of its defence budget for 2022, to support the Ukrainian authorities.
Very recently, after a precise analysis of the operational needs of the Luxembourg army, Luxembourg Defence decided to supply additional armored vehicles of the HMMWV (Hummer) type, with spare parts.
End of EUTM Mali and NATO Mission in Iraq (NMI) missions
In view of the current security situation in Mali, it has been decided not to extend the mandate for the participation of Luxembourg soldiers in EUTM Mali beyond 31 December 2022. The repatriation of the last Luxembourg soldiers seconded to EUTM is expected no later than 1 December 2022. EUTM Mali positions will be reallocated to eVA.
It was also decided to withdraw the Luxembourg element, with currently a deployed soldier, from the NATO Mission in Iraq (NMI) in December 2022. It is envisaged to reassign the soldier from the NMI to the EUMAM Ukraine mission.