Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, alongside his wife, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, hosted the 14th gathering of German-speaking heads of state and their spouses on 27 September at the Centre Culturel de Rencontre Abbaye de Neumünster in Luxembourg City.
The themes of the meeting were immigration and integration. According to the Grand Ducal Court, the discussions focused on these topics and their challenges in the scope of society and culture.
A press release from the Court stated, “The Heads of State focused on the phenomenon of immigration in Europe, and more specifically in Luxembourg and the other German-speaking countries. Key points of integration such as language, formation, or access to jobs were analysed…” This was done in the presence of two professors from the University of Luxembourg: Helmut Willems and Birte Nienaber.
The Grand Duke and Duchess were not the only royals in attendance, as King Philippe of Belgium (and wife Queen Mathilde) was in attendance as the head of state of Belgium while Liechtenstein’s Hereditary Prince Alois (and wife Hereditary Princess Sophie) attended as the head of state of their small principality. Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie of Luxembourg also participated in the lunch in the afternoon at the Grand Ducal Palace.
Other German-speaking heads of state included those from Germany (Frank-Walter Steinmeier), Austria (Alexander Van der Bellen) and Switzerland (Doris Leuthard).
After working meetings for the heads of state and spouses that took place separately, the programme included a speech by the Grand Duke, a visit to Philharmonie and the Musée d’art moderne Grand-Duc Jean, as well as a reception in the evening.
Grand Duke Henri told his fellow heads of state and their spouses that meetings like these were “a great opportunity to strengthen the links with the different states and increase exchanges between the countries in the sphere of a German-speaking space.” He added that he selected the themes of immigration and integration because, for him, they are emotionally charged topics which require “a rational way of thinking in order to find solutions that work.”
Last year, the gathering was hosted by King Philippe and Queen Mathilde in Eupen, Belgium. Next year it is expected to take place in Switzerland.