The Second World War led to a change of direction for Luxembourg’s foreign policy. By taking part in the war effort alongside the Allies, Luxembourg abandoned its status of neutrality and ensured its place within the international community that formed after 1945.
The small size of the Grand Duchy has never stopped it from playing an active role in building Europe. Luxembourg is a multicultural and multilingual country due to its history, its geographical location and the composition of its population. The Grand Duchy has continuously based its foreign policy on active participation in multilateral cooperation, both at regional and international level. Over the years, the country has become a member — often a founding member — of many international organisations and institutions
European Union (EU)
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is one of the six founding countries of the European Union, together with France, Germany, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands.
In 1957 these countries signed the Treaty of Rome which founded a European Economic Community. In the negotiations, the government managed to have the principle of legal equality accepted for all states, even the smallest, and obtained direct representation in the European Institutions.
Currently, Luxembourg is one of the capitals of the European Union, together with Strasbourg and Brussels. Many European institutions, including the Secretariat of the European Parliament, the Court of Justice of the European Union and some Directorate Generals of the European Commission are located in Luxembourg.
European institutions located in Luxembourg:
- European Commission
- Court of Justice of the European Union
- European Court of Auditors
- European Investment Bank
- European Investment Fund
- European Stability Mechanism
- Publications Office
- Translation Centre
- Executive Agency for Health and Consumers
- Secretariat General of the European Parliament
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe was founded in 1949 and is the oldest political organisation of the European continent. Luxembourg is one of the ten founding members of the Council of Europe.
The Grand Duchy fervently supports the objectives of this international organisation, which are: the defence of human rights, the guarantee and preservation of parliamentary democracy and the rule of law, the promotion of the development of European cultural identity and tackling problems facing European society.
United Nations (UN)
Since October 1945, Luxembourg has been one of the founding members of the United Nations.
Peace and security, development and human rights are the three pillars on which the United Nations rests. Luxembourg currently has permanent representation at the various United Nations institutions in New York, Geneva, Vienna, Paris and Rome.
Luxembourg shows its commitment to the UN, its goals and principles not only by fulfilling its financial obligations under the charter, but also by contributing to the voluntary financing of United Nations funds and programmes, by participating in peace-keeping operations and pursuing an active development cooperation policy.
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)
On 4 April 1949, Luxembourg was among the ten countries in Western Europe, along with the United States and Canada, to sign the Treaty of Washington, which established the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
This alliance brings together free and sovereign countries in order to create a collective security system. By signing this treaty, the Grand Duchy abandoned its traditional status of neutrality, which had been conferred upon it by the Treaty of London of 11 May 1867.
OSCE — Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe
The mission of the OSCE, which was founded in 1975 following the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), is to promote human security, political-military aspects of security, and economic and environmental matters.
As a founding country, Luxembourg pursues the following objectives: the quest for security in the broadest sense, the deepening of good neighbour relations between states, conflict prevention, reconstruction support for the reconstruction of democratic structures after the resolution of conflicts and the strengthening of trust and security measures based on mutual transparency.
OECD — Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
In 1947, Luxembourg became a founding member of the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC), established to administer the assistance from the United States and Canada under the Marshall Plan, designed to support the reconstruction of Europe after the Second World War.
The OECD was established by the Paris Convention, signed on 14 December 1960 by representatives of the Grand Duchy. The OECD succeeded the OEEC, and aims to reinforce and coordinate the economy of Member States, to improve its effectiveness, to promote the market economy, to develop free trade and contribute to the growth of both industrialised and developing countries.
The Council of the OECD brings together the ministers and leaders once a year to address the major issues of the moment and promote policies that improve economic and social well-being in the world.
Since Luxembourg joined the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD in 1992, Luxembourg's development cooperation policy has substantially evolved.
World Trade Organisation (WTO)
Luxembourg has been a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) since its foundation on 1 January 1995. The WTO is the only international organisation that deals with rules governing trade between countries.