Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel have emphasized the need for open internal borders within the EU, also for the future. Steinmeier said in Luxembourg that the agreement on a new migration policy that was blocked by Hungary and Poland at the EU summit must come. This is "centrally important".
The stronger control of the external borders is planned "because you want to keep the internal borders free in accordance with the tradition of the European Union". Bettel added: "If the EU's external borders work, then we don't need internal borders."
Steinmeier had arrived in Luxembourg with his wife Elke Büdenbender for his first official visit. Numerous onlookers had gathered to welcome Luxembourg's Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa in the palace.
Among other things, Steinmeier visited an exhibition on the 175th anniversary of the 1848 revolution and constitution in Luxembourg and spoke to members of the Luxembourg youth parliament. While walking through the city, he kept stopping and talking to passers-by.
Appreciation of cooperation in times of crisis
During the corona pandemic, there were repeated controls at the German borders with Luxembourg and France, and some border crossings were temporarily closed. Steinmeier said he noted the excitement about it. "More important than now asking whether that was a mistake is the reminder that we managed to rectify the difficulties that actually arose."
Steinmeier emphasized: "Luxembourg is actually the heart of the European Union and lives this Europe like hardly any other country in Europe." Germany could "take an example from the openness of the people in Luxembourg". He also thanked the Luxembourg rescue workers who helped Germans in the Ahr Valley during the 2021 flood disaster. "What shows up in times of crisis is the value of cross-border collaboration." During the visit, the Federal President was accompanied by guests from Luxembourg, including science journalist Ranga Yogeshwar and actress Vicky Krieps.
Steinmeier praises Luxembourg's openness and multilingualism
At a state banquet with the Grand Duke, Steinmeier said that Luxembourg "can be taken as a role model: a country that lives multilingualism and openness". About half of the approximately 660,000 inhabitants of the Grand Duchy are foreigners. "People from more than 170 different nations live here, more than in any other European country," said the Federal President.
A visit to the birthplace of Robert Schuman (1886-1963), one of the founding fathers of the European Union, is planned for Tuesday. Luxembourg is the second smallest country in the EU after Malta. As foreign minister, Steinmeier used to be in Luxembourg.