(L-R) Luxembourg's Minister of Defence, Yuriko Backes; Belgium's Minister of Defence, Ludivine Dedonder; Credit: MAE

On Tuesday 20 February 2024, the Ministers of Defence of Luxembourg, Yuriko Backes, and of Belgium, Ludivine Dedonder, successfully reached a new stage in the history of Belgian-Luxembourg cooperation in the military field.

The Defence Ministers welcomed the last A400M aircraft from the binational programme and signed the “Ermesinde” technical arrangement, the document governing the creation of the steering committee of the future Belgian-Luxembourgish binational reconnaissance battalion. This double ceremony marks the “excellent” Belgian-Luxembourg cooperation in defence matters, Luxembourg’s Directorate of Defence noted.

A400M binational unit

With the arrival of the eighth A400M aircraft, the Belgian-Luxembourg binational unit, integrated into the 15th Air Transport Wing of the Belgian Defence, is now complete. The unit is made up of seven Belgian A400M aircraft and one Luxembourg aircraft. Its base of operation is at Melsbroek military airport. The planes as well as the personnel of the unit are engaged without distinction of nationality to carry out the different missions. Since September 2021, when the A400M binational unit reached its initial operational capability, it has proven its effectiveness and versatility on numerous occasions, according to the Directorate of Defence.

The A400M military transport aircraft unit is the flagship project of Belgian-Luxembourg cooperation. The extensive integration of members of our two armed forces within a single operational unit is exemplary,” emphasised Minister Backes. She added: “The defence of Europe and the strengthening of the European wing of NATO will be achieved through close cooperation based on mutual trust. Luxembourg and Belgium are already setting an example.

Belgian Minister Dedonder added: “These technical arrangements constitute concrete illustrations of our resolute commitment to strengthening European defence. I am convinced that in the future, the Belgian-Luxembourgish reconnaissance battalion will experience cooperation similar to that which we observe today in Melsbroek, and for which we have taken another important step today. In collaboration with partner countries that share our values, such as Luxembourg, we will continue to work to guarantee the security of our citizens, today and tomorrow.

Technical arrangement “Ermesinde”

The signing of the Ermesinde technical arrangement, concerning the governance relating to the establishment and joint operation of the binational reconnaissance battalion, established the steering committee, in charge of implementation at the practical and operational level of the binational battalion.

The Belgian-Luxembourg battalion aims to serve as a concrete example of the implementation of NATO and European Union concepts aimed at promoting strengthened multinational cooperation. It will meet the capability objectives that both nations have committed to achieving within the NATO defence planning framework, the Directorate of Defence concluded.