On 20 December Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met his Luxembourg counterpart Jean Asselborn for talks at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. Asselborn was the new German Foreign Minister’s first official visitor since assuming office on 17 December.
Visit of a good friend
Foreign Minister Steinmeier was clearly delighted to see his Luxembourg counterpart and welcomed him as an “old friend who’s well known in Germany”.
At a working breakfast the two ministers first amicably discussed the development of bilateral relations over the years ahead as well as European affairs and current issues on the international agenda. Foreign Minister Steinmeier reported, among other things, on his recent visit to Poland and the situation in Ukraine. Another topic they discussed was relations with Russia. The two ministers also exchanged views on the latest developments in the Middle East peace process and the negotiations with Iran on its nuclear programme. After their talks Steinmeier and Asselborn gave a joint press conference.
We want to be a people of good neighbours
When Willy Brandt explained that Germans wanted “to become a people of good neighbours”, he was also talking about relations with Luxembourg, the German Foreign Minister pointed out. In the same vein Foreign Minister Asselborn emphasized what close and friendly relations Germany and Luxembourg enjoyed.
Overcoming Europe’s crisis
In his statement Foreign Minister Steinmeier also made clear that the two ministers had discussed ways to overcome the current crisis in Europe. This was “of course not just an economic crisis,” he explained, adding:
It’s sad to see that right now in Europe’s Mediterranean countries young people appear to associate Europe more with crisis than with anything else. Europe is viewed as a threat rather than as a hope for a better future. To dispel this fear is our common goal and we’ll work together closely to this end.
We must join forces, the German Foreign Minister continued, to make Europe once again what over the past 20 to 30 years it has clearly been for our generation: an expression of hope, of confidence in the future we are building together and which has driven the European integration process forward. Asselborn added that he greatly appreciated the importance the German Foreign Minister attached in European affairs to respect, solidarity and friendship with Germany’s neighbours.