Asselborn’s Candid Take on EU Foreign Policy

Hey Europe, what are you up to? The podcast that takes us into the kitchens of European politics. Each episode is a meeting with a personality who drives the European debate. For this first issue, it is the former Luxembourg minister Jean Asselborn who opens his door to us. With one constraint, that of preparing (or having someone prepare) their “signature” dish, their national specialty or their culinary Proust madeleine.

Because cuisine, it is well known, is a cultural marker. What we put on our plates gives a pretty good indication of who we are, where we come from… and above all, meals are generally an opportunity for unfiltered discussions. That’s the whole promise of this podcast.

EU foreign policy on the menu

Jean Asselborn is a notable figure in European diplomacy. For 19 years, from 2004 to 2023, he was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. A small country of 650,000 inhabitants, but which has managed to find a place within the European Union. “We are Europeans because we must be Europeans,” explains the former head of Luxembourg diplomacy. “What would be the importance of Luxembourg’s foreign policy if we were not in the European Union? Nothing! Nothing at all !”

A frankness that contrasts with the traditional diplomatic tongue-in-cheek. “In the European Union, there are 27 Member States, well sometimes only 26 and a half [Jean Asselborn refers to the Hungarian lone rider on certain European issues – Editor’s note]. There are times when “large” countries, at because of their History, cannot always say what they think or what should be done. A country like Luxembourg needs to be a little clearer to explain what works and what does not work. C “This is how I have seen my role as Minister of Foreign Affairs over the last 20 years. A “small” country can therefore become less hesitant than a “large” country” argues Jean Asselborn.

In this portrait of a no-nonsense politician (he received us around a plate of fries and a salad), convinced of the importance of the need for a common foreign policy for the 27, you will also discover why the lack of unity of the 27 in foreign policy (where unanimity is the rule for making a decision), is detrimental to Europe and can have serious consequences in the rest of the world.

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