L-R: Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs; Tanja Fajon, Slovenia's Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General; Credit: NATO

On Tuesday 29 and Wednesday 30 November 2022, Luxembourg's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, participated in the meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Bucharest, Romania.

The first working session, dedicated to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, was held in the presence of the invited countries, Finland and Sweden, and was followed by an informal dinner with Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba.

After recalling the support provided by Luxembourg to Ukraine to date, Minister Asselborn highlighted the importance for NATO "to preserve unity and cohesion within it", as well as to "support Ukraine by all our means and for as long as necessary", particularly in view of winter which promises to be particularly difficult.

With regard to the enlargement of the Alliance, Luxembourg's Foreign Minister expressed his hope that the procedure for ratifying the accession of Finland and Sweden would be quickly completed, stressing that we should not "leave aside and delay the yearning for more security by millions of Finns and Swedes".

The NATO Foreign Ministers then addressed issues related to the operationalisation of the Strategic Concept, China and the resilience of the Alliance. Regarding China, Minister Asselborn expressed concern about the drift internally in terms of respect for human rights.

"Luxembourg is also keen to learn the right lessons from our disproportionate dependence on Russia in terms of energy. We cannot afford to make such a miscalculation a second time. We need to reduce our strategic dependencies on China, identify and reduce our vulnerabilities, and ensure the integrity of our supply chains", Minister Asselborn noted.

While resilience issues remain a national responsibility, NATO can play an important role as a platform for exchanging best practices to set common goals. In this context, Minister Asselborn also highlighted the great added value that in-depth cooperation with the European Union (EU) could have in the field of resilience.

The last working session was devoted to NATO partnerships and was held in the presence of the Foreign Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and Moldova. In this context, Luxembourg's Foreign Minister declared: "We have a common objective: security, peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region. Considering the impact of the Russian aggression against Ukraine on your countries and its malevolent influence and coercion in your countries, the time has come to intensify our cooperation".

Welcoming from this perspective the efforts undertaken by the Alliance to strengthen its support through the Defence and Related Security Capacity Building (DCB) Initiative, Minister Asselborn announced that Luxembourg will provide an additional €1 million to each of the three partners present.

On the sidelines of this NATO ministerial meeting, the Luxembourg BeNeLux presidency organised a joint meeting between BeNeLux and the Nordic countries, bringing together for the first time Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.