At the invitation of the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation, Ignazio Cassis, the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, participated in the meeting of German-speaking foreign ministers, which took place on April 16, 2021 in Lugano in Switzerland. Also attending the meeting were Foreign Ministers of Germany, Heiko Maas, Austria, Alexander Schallenberg, and Liechtenstein, Dominique Hasler.
The exchanges between the ministers made it possible to take stock of the major European current affairs issues. In particular, the ministers were able to have an in-depth discussion on cross-border cooperation as well as the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Minister Asselborn underlined the importance of cross-border cooperation for Luxembourg: “There is a real economic and social interconnection of cross-border living areas in Europe that must be preserved”.
In this context, the head of Luxembourg’s diplomacy also highlighted the crucial importance of freedom of movement, in particular for frontier workers and cross-border students. Knowing that students are particularly suffering from the constraints linked to the pandemic, Minister Asselborn called for closer coordination in order to improve the situation of students in the German-speaking area, in particular by exempting them from quarantine obligations.
The meeting was also an opportunity to discuss the topic of digitization in foreign policy. In this context, the ministers discussed scientific diplomacy and good practices, the opportunities as well as the risks associated with digital communication.
Finally, the visit to Lugano was also an opportunity for Minister Asselborn to have a bilateral meeting with his Swiss counterpart, Ignazio Cassis, in order to take stock of bilateral relations between Luxembourg and Switzerland, as well as relations between the European Union and Switzerland.
Communicated by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs