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Spring Session - Luxembourg, 17-20 May 2013

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MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE NATO PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the Spring Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly hosted by the delegation of Luxembourg.  The Assembly last met in Luxembourg in 1997 so for many of the participants this will be their first opportunity to explore and enjoy this delightful and historic city.

In his visionary speech held on 9 May 1950, Robert Schuman, former French Foreign Minister, one of the founding fathers of the European Union and a native of Luxembourg, warned that “[w]orld peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it”. He went on to stress that “[t]he contribution which an organised and living Europe can bring to civilisation is indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations.”

The world has changed profoundly since 1950, but Schuman’s statement remains true today. Europe and North America face complex challenges that, more than ever, require us to work together and seek solutions which are both bold and “creative”. The call for a “living Europe” also resonates strongly today, as our governments continue to wrestle with a financial and economic crisis which is putting European and Euro‑Atlantic solidarity to the test.

These challenges will be at the heart of our discussions over the next few days. Our Committees will look at how NATO and the European Union are adapting to address the security threats of the 21st century, and striving to maintain the capabilities needed to respond to future crises. They will also review the evolution of the Alliance’s role in Afghanistan, as we reach the final stages of transition to a full Afghan lead in security. They will examine ongoing political, economic and security developments in North Africa, the Sahel region and the Middle East, and consider possible avenues for strengthening NATO’s partnerships, particularly with Asia. Discussions will also take place on many other key issues on the Alliance’s agenda.  

As a founding member of the EU and NATO, Luxembourg has played, and continues to play, an active part in the evolution of both organisations. It is host to a number of EU and NATO institutions, including the European Parliament’s Secretariat, the European Court of Justice, the European Court of Auditors, the European Investment Bank and the NATO Support Agency. It contributes to several EU and NATO operations, including KFOR and ISAF.

Luxembourg also provides a valuable example of the type of creative cooperative solutions Schuman called for. The cooperation established between Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands is one of the oldest and most successful models of regional cooperation within the broader EU and NATO frameworks. Today, Benelux countries are building upon these achievements and strengthening defence cooperation. Luxembourg is also one of the participating nations of the Eurocorps, a prime example of a multinational European force available to both NATO and the EU, and which has been deployed as part of ISAF and KFOR and contributed to the NATO Response Force.

I would like to pay tribute to Luxembourg’s unwavering commitment and active contribution to European and Euro-Atlantic cooperation as a means of strengthening security on our continent and beyond. I would also like to extend my gratitude and thanks to the organizers and hosts of this session, particularly Norbert Haupert, Head of the delegation of Luxembourg to the NATO PA.

I wish you all a pleasant and productive session!

 

Mr Hugh Bayley

 

WELCOME MESSAGE FROM THE HEAD OF THE LUXEMBOURG DELEGATION 

 

Wëllkomm zu Lëtzebuerg!

On behalf of the Luxembourg Delegation, it is an honour, and a great pleasure, for me to bid you a very warm welcome to Luxembourg for the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s 2013 Spring Session.

A former fortress city, of which some of the remains feature on the UNESCO World Heritage List, Luxembourg has been at the centre of many international conflicts. It finally demolished its ramparts pursuant to the Treaty of London in 1867.

Luxembourg has a long record as a privileged forum for dialogue and cooperation. As a founding member of NATO and the European Union, the Grand Duchy attaches great importance to the building of Europe and to efforts to secure peace in Europe and around the world.

It is in this spirit of commitment to peace and democracy that I would like to welcome you to our meetings, which I hope will again be fruitful and the bearer of messages for the future.

The members of the Assembly, well aware of the Atlantic Alliance's successes and of its international responsibility, and vigilant towards the ever-changing risks constantly facing our security community, are helping to forge transatlantic solidarity that enables us to safeguard a very precious asset: an international environment of freedom and democracy.

Both the stakes in international security, as well as the composition and missions of the Alliance have undergone profound changes since the last Spring Session held in Luxembourg in 1997.

The transition in Afghanistan, the consolidation of democracy in North Africa, continuing tensions in the Near and Middle East, the war against terrorism and even cybersecurity are all challenges that the Atlantic Alliance still has to continue to address.

The parliamentary discussion on internal developments in NATO, on its strategic direction, on the interoperability of its forces or on the impact of the economic crisis on its collective defence capabilities, is a factor in democratic legitimacy, essential to the process of cooperative security of which the Alliance is an element.

I hope that our discussions and the proposals that will be drafted during the Luxembourg session will help to reinforce the strategic cultural characteristic of NATO and to strengthen our friendship ties.

I wish you a fruitful session and a pleasant stay in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

Mr Norbert Haupert

                                                                                               

 

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