On Thursday 30 November 2023, Yuriko Backes, Luxembourg's former Minister of Finance and new Minister of Defence, Minister of Mobility and Public Works and Minister of Gender Equality and Diversity, visited Berlin in Germany.
At the Federal Ministry of Finance, Minister Backes received the Grand Cross (Großes Verdienstkreuz mit Stern und Schulterband) of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany from German Finance Minister Christian Lindner. During the ceremony, Minister Lindner expressed his gratitude to Minister Backes for her commitment at European level, her "thoughtful" and "future-oriented" financial policy as well as "excellent" bilateral cooperation, particularly in the interest of cross-border workers.
Minister Backes commented: "It is with great joy that I received the insignia of the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. I am fully aware of the value of this distinction and I would like to express my deep gratitude."
The trip was also an opportunity for the minister to meet her German counterpart, Volker Wissing, Federal Minister for Digital Affairs and Transport. During their bilateral exchange, the two ministers addressed current and future mobility challenges, with particular emphasis on the importance of continued cooperation on a transnational and large-regional scale. The ministers also discussed the European issues on the agenda of the next Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council in Brussels on Monday 4 December 2023.
Minister Backes also had a meeting with Boris Pistorius, Federal Minister of Defence. Their discussions focused on bilateral and multilateral military cooperation, particularly in terms of capability development, as well as collective efforts to defend the Euro-Atlantic area. Luxembourg's Ministry of Mobility and Public Works and the Directorate of Defence reported that, in this context, the significant contribution of Luxembourg's defence capabilities in the field of satellite communication were highlighted. Regarding the international security environment, the defence ministers exchanged views on the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, emphasising the importance of sustained military support for Ukraine in the exercise of its right to self-defence. Discussions also focused on the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza and the deterioration of the security situation in Africa, particularly in the Sahel region. The defence ministers also discussed the next NATO summit in Washington in July 2024, as well as the strengthening of European defence.