Political relations and latest visits
Luxembourg, which widely shares its culture, history and language with the Germanic world, is also very close to France. There is regular contact at ministerial, prime ministerial and Head of State levels.
In October 2000, Grand Duke Henri and his wife made an official visit to France. This was their first visit abroad following their accession to the throne. Mr Bettel, who had just been sworn in as Prime Minister, visited France on 16 December 2013, as his first foreign visit. The President of the French Republic made an official visit to Luxembourg on 6 March 2015. The two Prime Ministers, Mr Valls and Mr Bettel, met on 20 April 2017. The two countries’ Foreign Ministers, Mr Jean Asselborn and Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault, who met previously in April 2016 and March 2017, took part at Mr Asselborn’s invitation in a public debate on the future of Europe at the Pierre Werner European Cultural Institute in Luxembourg on 3 April 2017. the French President visited Luxembourt on 29 August 2017 and on 6 September 2018 for a meeting with the Prime Ministers of the three Benelux countries. The French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, received his counterpart Mr Jean Asselborn in Paris on 13 October 2017. The Grand Duke of Luxembourg and his wife made the first State visit to France in 40 years from 19 to 21 March 2018, which involved a France-Luxembourg intergovernmental seminar.
Luxembourg is a strategic trading partner for France given its geographical proximity and the strength of its economy. Our bilateral trading relationship represented a surplus for France of €573 million in 2017. France is Luxembourg’s second-largest customer and third-largest supplier (our market share does, however, remain smaller than Germany’s). Approximately 900 French companies have subsidiaries in Luxembourg, primarily in the banking and insurance sectors. Moreover, some 90,000 French people, mostly living in Lorraine, commute to Luxembourg daily.
Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation
Our cultural ties are governed by an agreement dating back to 1954. There are numerous cultural institutions, some founded or led by French figures (Pierre Werner Cultural Institute, Luxembourg Museum of Modern Art (MUDAM), Philharmonie). The European (French-German-Luxembourgish) Pierre Werner Cultural Institute, inaugurated on 13 October 2003, dedicates most of its research and reflection activities to European themes.
Action in support of Luxembourgish (close to German) as a language promoting integration and social cohesion is a political priority, and it has become the main teaching language in primary schools. The December 2018 coalition agreement includes provisions conducive to the teaching of French (teaching of the language focused on communication and oral expression in the first and second cycles, introduction to writing in the third, then consolidation and improvement during secondary exucation, with widened French sections in general secondary education). A partnership agreement on teacher training was signed between Luxembourg’s Ministry of Education and the Lorraine School of Teaching and Education (ESPE) in May 2015. A French section has been put in place in a State school in Differdange, based on the European schools model. On 16 July 2012, a convention was concluded between our respective national education and vocational training ministries creating a preparatory class for grandes écoles – an economics course – in a Luxembourgish secondary school at Echternach. Lastly, Luxembourg has made a major contribution to the building of the new Vauban school (opened in September 2017 for the middle school and February 2018 for the high school).
The University of Luxembourg and the University of Lorraine cooperate under a number of agreements, including within the Great Region University (fields of energy efficiency, IT security, materials physics, systems biology and European law). An agreement also exists between the French National Research Agency and the Luxembourg National Research Fund to better network French and Luxembourgish researchers, particularly in fields of research that are shared priorities.
Scientific and academic cooperation was been strengthened through the signing of an additional protocol during the France-Luxembourg intergovernmental seminar on 20 March 2018. It seeks to further and develop existing cooperation while expanding partnerships in the medical field (university hospital cooperation).
Our cross-border cooperation, which plays a major role in our bilateral relations, draws on the Franco-Luxembourgish Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) that was created in 2011 and involves all stakeholders in cross-border cooperation, including ministers, the local prefect and local elected officials. The IGC’s fifth meeting took place in Luxembourg on 21 November 2016 and was chaired by the French Minister of State for European Affairs, Mr Harlem Désir, and the Luxembourgish Minister for Family, Integration and the Great Region, Ms Corinne Cahen. In 2018, the cross-border cooperation subjects discussed in the IGC format were incorporated into the France-Luxembourg intergovernmental seminar held in the margins of the State visit of the Grand Duke and his wife, on 20 March 2018.
Given the proximity of the Cattenom nuclear power plant to Luxembourg, our cooperation on nuclear safety and security is intense and carried out in the framework of the joint commission on nuclear security created in 1994 and the involvement of experts from Luxembourg and Germany in the security checks carried out in the plant.
In the security field, a bilateral agreement between France and Luxembourg on police and customs cooperation was signed in Luxembourg on 25 October 2001, enabling cross-border pursuit and establishing a joint police and customs centre in Luxembourg that later merged with the Belgian-German-Luxembourgish police cooperation centre to create an original quadrilateral body. A cooperation convention was signed between the two countries in Luxembourg on 26 January 2016 on joint controls at the Dudelange-Zoufftgen Motorway border post.
Updated: January 2019