As Pastore (2013), and many others, such as Panke, have noted, the leaders of small states can influence the policies of the European Union (EU), even its foreign policies. This said, this often only occurs once organisational learning has occurred. Moreover, this influence is often done to serve objectives that are largely based on geopolitical considerations. In other words, when small states are not limited by their size, they are the prisoners of geography.
The case of Luxembourg, however, tells a different story. The Government of Luxembourg (GOL) is not very active in security matters. It has a small army, three pilots, and no security attachés in its embassies. In fact, former Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker, (who is now the President of the Commission of the EU) cared so little about security issues that he did not manage his state’s intelligence agency, resulting in illegal phone tapping, the misuse of public funds, corruption, blackmail, etc. He even said “the intelligence service was not my top priority. Moreover, I hope Luxembourg will never have a prime minister who sees SREL as [his or her] priority”.
Such a stance can be explained by the duchy’s location, at the centre of the EU, far from non-EU states and non-EU citizens. It can also be explained by the fact that the state is not really of great strategic interest to large non-EU states, and if it is, it will be as a location for indirect and direct investment. One can note, however, that crime has slightly risen in Luxembourg (and the number of people in prison has also increased), and that with it population growing at more than two percent per year, crime, including trans-frontier organised crime, is likely to increase even more.
As is well known, the GOL is very active in other EU policy sectors, and can be considered one the most ‘federalist’ EU member states. The love of the EU can partly be explained by Luxembourg’s national interest, but also by the ‘national’ identity of many Luxembourgers, who see themselves as Europeans, or at least see their culture as a mix of many neighbouring cultures (nb. many foreigners, i.e. non-citizens, work in Luxembourg). So one must not assume that the GOL is not active in EU politics. To the contrary, GOL officials are very active, with their pronouncements often being cited in the press and many summits and meetings being held in Luxembourg Ville (nb. Some EU and NATO organisations and agencies are also ‘seated’ in Luxembourg – the EU Court of Justice, for example).
Even when the GOL does engage in EU foreign policy, it seems to do so for ulterior motives. This is to say that its activities can be seen as a form of bargaining and trade, of buying favours. Thus, the GOL invests in military equipment, cooperates with Europol, exchanges intelligence on third-parties, etc., but rarely are any of these forms of cooperation directly related to Luxembourg’s interests. So beyond questions of EU identity and EU solidarity, or simple habit, one can also seen such actions and manoeuvres as a means of accumulating what Pierre Bourdieu called ‘social capital’, of currying favours.