Minister of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Those Luxembourgers who experienced the Second World War do not hesitate
to contrast the pre-war with the post-war period. This does not simply
reflect the trauma caused by the violation of Luxembourgs neutrality
and subsequent occupation and war. It can also be attributed to the external
threat that was felt after 1933 which finally led to the terrible hardships
resulting from the war. Abandoning an unarmed neutrality which twice in
this century proved useless and joining a political and military alliance
the Atlantic Alliance was a real watershed for Luxembourg.
The feeling of no longer being alone while a new balance of power was
emerging and, above all, having the confidence of standing alongside the
United States of America, which paid in blood to give back freedom and
dignity to the oppressed peoples of Europe all this should be recalled
as we mark the 50th Anniversary of our Alliance. On this day, the gratitude
of Luxembourg goes out to all those responsible for ensuring stability
and peace on the Old Continent.
The emergence of the European Communities, transformed in the meantime
into the European Union, and the reunification of Germany, would have
been unthinkable without the protective shield of NATO.
We should recall that already back in the 1960s, NATO offered the hand
of friendship to its adversaries as expressed in the Harmel doctrine.
It is from this policy of firmly defending the essential values of the
Euro-Atlantic community while offering dialogue to the entire European
continent that NATO will draw its resources for the future. This is
the collective ambition of our organisation as we welcome the Czech
Republic, Hungary and Poland into our ranks.
Now we must ask ourselves, should we adapt NATO to the new geopolitical
realities, and if so to what extent? Since the revision of its strategic
concept in Rome in 1991, NATO has entered into partnership with all
the countries of Europe, including Russia and Ukraine, states that naturally
occupy a privileged position.
My first wish is to see this cooperation deepened and enriched with all
our partners. In this regard, the peacekeeping forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina
represent NATOs finest success.
My second wish is to use this experience to clarify the transition from
an Alliance initially conceived for the defence of territory a mission
which is not being put into question to an Alliance defending the values
and interests of its members. In other words, to find a way to help stabilise
an uncertain world facing new risks.
My third desire is that this rejuvenated and renovated Alliance, in the
context of its new strategic concept, make adequate allowance for the
European Security and Defence Identity. Right now the question of defence
is emerging as the next European challenge to be tackled in the wake of
the achievement of Economic and Monetary Union. This innovation is the
best way to ensure more durable, stable relations, because it would mean
a better balance with our indispensable ally, the United States.
In Washington it is my hope that we will inaugurate an era of modernised
atlanticism, respecting the principles that have inspired an exceptional
joint endeavour that remains without parallel in history.