The United States and Luxembourg, steadfast allies, and strong economic partners, worked together in both new and existing areas in 2021 to advance our shared prosperity, common values, and global security. Despite the ongoing challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, our relationship enters the new year strengthened by bilateral successes over the last year which brought new benefits to our people and created new opportunities for our nations.
Working together to support Human Rights
The year began with the U.S. Embassy’s strong and active support in concluding the historic agreement on Holocaust remembrance and restitution signed between the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Jewish Community of Luxembourg, together with the World Jewish Restitution Organization and the Luxembourg Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah. Later this year, President Biden and Prime Minister Bettel joined more than one hundred other world leaders at the U.S.-hosted Summit for Democracy, where Luxembourg pledged to continue its financial support to the Lifeline Embattled CSO Assistance Fund and announced the appointment of a national coordinator of policies combating racism, antisemitism and hatred towards LGBTQI+ people. President Biden announced the establishment of the Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal, a landmark set of policy and foreign assistance initiatives which includes plans for $424.4 million of funding in the coming year. This year, the United States and Luxembourg were also elected together to serve three-year terms on the United Nations Human Rights Council as of January 2022.
Cooperation in space
The Embassy continued to pursue opportunities with Luxembourg in the frontier of space, where Luxembourg has proved itself a true global leader. High-level visits to Luxembourg by U.S. Space Force General John W. “Jay” Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, as well as the Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs, Kelli L. Seybolt, allowed for a series of meetings with Luxembourg government and industry leaders to discuss new projects in the space sector.
The Embassy was also pleased to host Dr. Joel Kearns and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) team who visited to learn more about the commercial space sector in the Grand Duchy. In addition, 2021 saw the Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Francois Bausch visit Los Angeles, California to continue discussions with the Space Force and United States space-sector companies including SpaceX and Boeing.
U.S. space companies with a strong Luxembourg footprint had a very successful year in 2021. Spire Global Inc., a space-to-cloud data and analytics company, became a publicly listed company in August and Bradford Space, a high-tech global developer and manufacturer of satellite control sub-systems and components, received support from the Luxembourg Space Agency, and pledged to establish a manufacturing unit in Luxembourg, tripling its staff count.
Combatting Climate Change
President Biden and Prime Minister Bettel, among other world leaders, attended the Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Glasgow in November. The United States and Luxembourg, along with many other countries, put forward bold, ambitious commitments in line with the Paris goal of pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Luxembourg announced increasing its greenhouse gas reduction objective by 55% in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and pledged €220 million to “international climate finance”, half of which will be dedicated to climate change in the world’s most vulnerable countries. The United States, among other ambitious goals, set a target to further reduce emissions 50–52% below 2005 levels by 2030 and pledged to achieving a carbon-pollution free power sector by 2035 (80% by 2030) and net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions economy-wide by no later than 2050.
Resuming Business and Tourist Travel
As the pandemic spread across the world in 2019, Luxembourg and the United States, like most countries, restricted non-essential travel. With vaccination rates increasing, the U.S. Embassy worked together with the Luxembourg government to help reopen Luxembourg’s borders to vaccinated American travelers. In November, U.S. residents could start once again travelling from the United States to Luxembourg. The Embassy was equally glad to announce that the United States also reopened air travel to vaccinated Luxembourg residents.
Continuing to honor the past
Each year, the Embassy is proud to organize, support and participate in events that pay tribute to the military history of Luxembourg and the United States and honor those American troops that fought in the liberation of Luxembourg in World War II. The Embassy supported the visit of the U.S. State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary, Molly Montgomery, who paid her respects at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial honoring the Americans who gave their lives in defense of freedom and democracy. The Embassy hosted a Memorial Day Ceremony attended by the United States Army Africa Command, General Stephen J. Townsend and the Luxembourg Minister of Education, Children and Youth, Minister for Higher Education and Research, Claude Meisch, and a Veterans Day ceremony with representation from the Luxembourg Army. The Embassy was also honored to once again support regional Battle of the Bulge commemorations across the country, in Osweiler, Hoscheid, Beaufort, Parc Pescatore and several other locations of historical importance. Together with our Luxembourg partners, we will always remember.