Speech at the High-Level Meeting of Speakers of Parliaments of NATO member countries

Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues,

As a member of our NATO PA delegation I’m happy to see so many colleagues whom I last saw 2 weeks ago for our spring session in Luxembourg. Our speaker Fernand Etgen told me he genuinly wanted to attend but that the political calendar of Luxembourg prohibited him from doing so.

Luxembourg has always been a reliable ally, embodying the principles of unity and solidarity upon which the transatlantic organization was founded. However, there are certain factors that prevent Luxembourg from meeting the 2% threshold of defense spending. Today, I will outline these factors and explain why a broader approach to security is necessary.

First and foremost, it is important to understand that the 2% threshold is not an end in itself. Luxembourg has consistently met every NATO-assigned national target within the framework of the NATO defense planning process. We prioritize achieving the Alliance’s common planning objectives and are committed to supporting our allies when needed. While we engage in discussions on the future of the Alliance’s Defense Investment Pledge, we hope for understanding regarding national specificities.

Furthermore, Luxembourg advocates for a broader security policy that goes beyond military instruments alone. We firmly believe that non-military tools such as diplomacy, development, and civilian crisis management are essential for fostering stability across the Alliance’s broader neighborhood, especially when it comes to our southern flank as our colleague Augusto SANTOS SILVA from Portugal rightly said. Defining targets solely on defense expenditure terms can be short-sighted and may hinder the allocation of resources to non-military stabilizing efforts. Luxembourg is dedicated to financing both military and non-military instruments, as evidenced by our substantial commitment of 1% of our national GDP to development and humanitarian aid.

Moreover, the socio-economic specificities of certain allies must be taken into consideration. Currently, defense efforts are calculated as a share of national GDP, but this methodology fails to account for the realities on the ground. Luxembourg’s GDP per capita is above average due in part to the economic contributions of more than 180.000 cross-border workers. 

Increasing military spending to meet the 2% threshold would require a significant financial commitment that exceeds our absorption capacity. Nevertheless, Luxembourg has taken substantial steps to enhance its defense efforts, investing in military capacities beyond NATO’s requirements.

In terms of investments, Luxembourg exceeds NATO’s 20% guideline and focuses on acquiring state-of-the-art capabilities to strengthen its armed forces. We prioritize projects and capabilities that add value to the Alliance as a whole or fill capability gaps. Our voluntary contributions to programs like Allied Ground Surveillance, Allied Future Surveillance and Control, and the Multi-Role Tanker Transport program go above and beyond NATO’s demands. These investments benefit not only Luxembourg but also NATO and its partners, primarily within the European Union.

Other examples include the acquisition of the A400M aircraft and the provision of pilots and loadmasters within the framework of the Belgian-Luxembourg A400M fleet, the very significant participation in the multinational MRTT programme and the acquisition of satellites. Even when taking these initiatives into account, and all the while doubling its defence budget, Luxembourg does not meet the 2% threshold. Nevertheless, internationally, Luxembourg ranks 8th in terms of defence expenditure per capita. 

In conclusion, Luxembourg stands as a steadfast ally, embodying the principles of unity and solidarity within the North Atlantic Alliance. We remain committed to the common objectives of the Alliance, despite our inability to meet the 2% threshold. By advocating for a broader security approach, understanding socio-economic specificities, and investing in valuable capabilities, Luxembourg contributes to the strength and resilience of the Alliance. Let us continue to work together in the spirit of unity and solidarity to ensure a peaceful and secure Euro-Atlantic area. A NATO including as soon as possible Sweden as its 32nd member and an area where Ukraine has won control over its internationally recognized territory!

Thank you.

This speech has been delivered at the High-Level meeting of speakers of Parliaments of NATO member countries in Vilnius from June 1-3 2023. The document represents the prepared statement, please check against the delivered version.