Caution advised concerning provocation of Russia, Georgia not yet ready for NATO

Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Européennes Robert Schuman
In accordance with his friend and colleague, the German Foreign Affairs Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Luxembourg’s Foreign Affairs Minister Jean Asselborn, warns the EU to decide about an isolation of Russia after its invasion of Georgia. He proposes to use the OSCE framework to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.[1] On another occasion, Asselborn considered the NATO-Russia Council to be the right instrument to deal with the crisis. Luxembourg does not oppose the principle of a Georgian NATO membership, but prefers a step-by-step approach in the process leading to membership.[2] In a parliament debate on the aftermath of the Georgian war, speakers of all parties regretted the Russian way of acting. Although they sympathise a little bit with small Georgia, they warn their partners about admitting Georgia into NATO in the near future. The Christian Democrat[3] speaker Laurent Mosar, the Liberal party group[4] leader Charles Goerens and his Socialist[5] counterpart Ben Fayot, supported the Foreign Affairs Minister’s position. Jean Huss, the Green party[6] speaker on foreign affairs, just like his colleagues, acknowledged the quick European response, but blamed the West and especially the Bush administration’s policy: the potential NATO membership of Georgia, the missile defence system in Central Europe and the recognition of the Kosovo independence could only be interpreted as a provocation for Moscow.[7] On the other hand “Luxembourg cannot accept the declaration of independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia recognized by the Russian government”; Juncker tells socialist newspaper “Tageblatt”: “This step does not make life easier for Russia’s friends, and Luxembourg is among them”[8]. The Communist newspaper editorialist seems to build a kind of “unholy alliance” with the Christian Democrat MP Laurent Mosar, who warned Foreign Minister Asselborn in vain in February 2008, when he urged Parliament to recognize the independent Kosovo.[9] The conservative newspaper, “Luxemburger Wort”, seems to express a general feeling of the Luxembourg population: “The laws of geopolitics rule out an extension of the alliance.”[10] But a more active European Neighbourhood Policy is not only acceptable, but a must. The Young Greens[11] regret the passivity of the Luxembourg diplomacy in the Caucasus, which leaves the floor to a ‘hyperactive’ French President.[12]

[1] Lëtzebuerger Journal: EU will Engagement im Kaukasus verstärken, 14 August 2008.

[2] Luxemburger Wort: In beängstigende Spirale geraten, 22 August 2008.

[3] Chrëschtlech Sozial Vollekspartei.

[4] Demokratesch Partei.

[5] Lëtzebuerger Sozialistesch Aarbechterpartei.

[6] Déi gréng.

[7] Chambre des Députés: Compte-rendu des séances publiques, 11 November 2008.

[8] Tageblatt: Für Luxemburg “strikt inakzeptabel”, 27 August 2008.

[9] Zeitung vum Lëtzebuerger Vollek: Retourkutsche Kosovo, 28 August 2008.

[10] Luxemburger Wort: Kaukasische Gretchenfrage, 19 September 2008.

[11] Déi jonk gréng.

[12] Lëtzebuerger Journal: EU will Engagement im Kaukasus verstärken, 14 August 2008.