After World War II, institutions like the European Union, the NATO and the UN were built to reinforce common values, to emphasize working together instead of against each other, and help each other out.

We are approaching the anniversary of Russia's invasion in Ukraine. It has been a year of destruction and fear, of economic challenges, but also a year of change and remembering our European and democratic core values.

In the past year, Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO and the EU has approved candidacy for both Moldova and Ukraine. All this in light of the Russian invasion, with the war highlighting solidarity towards our neighbouring countries and allies.

Being such a small country, Luxembourg has always understood the value of international cooperation, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that our Grand Duchy has been a founding member in each of the before-mentioned institutions.

It's time to take a brief look at the international institutions Luxembourg's been a part of for decades.

United Nations (UN)

The United Nations  is an international and intergovernmental organisation that has its origins in World War II. Its aim is to prevent war and conflict, with the mission to ensure international peace and security. It does so by promoting cordial relations between nations by promoting cooperation.

It's by far one of the largest and most powerful organisations, with 193 countries being represented.

The UN officially came into existence on 24 October 1945 when the five permanent members of the UN Security Council ratified the United Nations Charter. The permanent members are China, France, Russia (Soviet Union at the time), the UK and the US and are supported by ten non-permanent members that are elected every 2 years.

Luxembourg was among the 51 countries to sign the UN Charter. Headed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Jopseh Bech, a delegation from Luxembourg attended the conference in San Francisco to sign the charter. This made Luxembourg the UN's smallest founding member.

In 2001, the Grand Duchy presented it's candidacy for the UN Security Council seat for 2013 and 2014. The country was elected and served its first term on the Council.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)

The NATO is a political-military alliance that was founded a few years after the Second World War in April 1949 by the USA, Canada and ten European countries, with Luxembourg among them.

At that time there was one important goal: the communist states were to be prevented from waging war against the Western states. After the end of the Warsaw Pact in 1991, which was the Eastern equivalent, NATO's goals changed.

But one obligation is still valid today: All NATO members have to help each other in the event of a military threat.

Luxembourg is NATO's smallest army, yet has participated in many operations and missions around the world.

Right now, Luxembourg is participating in a mulitnational NATO Battlegroup in Lithuania. The unit works together with troops from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway.

European Union (EU)

On 9 May 1950 Luxembourg-born Robert Schuman, then French foreign minister, presented the Schuman declaration, a plan he developed together with Jean Monnet.

The idea behind the plan was to unite the German and French coal and steel productions under one authority and therefore keeping peace.

The cooperation was a success and more European countries were encouraged to join, with Luxembourg among the firsts.

The European Coal and Steel Community was formally established in 1951 by signing the Treaty of Paris, creating the foundations of the European Union we know today.

In case you want to know more about Robert Schuman and the beginnings of the EU, I recommend clicking here.

The organisation founded in 1957 which is now known as the European Union, originally had six members: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

An additional 22 countries have since joined the EU, including a historic expansion in 2004 marking the re-unification of Europe after decades of division.

Luxembourg's ties to the EU are particularly strong, it being one of the three officials seats of the European Union.

Ukraine War

Luxembourg, as well as all three institutions, have condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The United Nations considers this attack to be a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. It is contrary to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

During the time of the Cold War, the UN was largely paralyzed by the veto of the Soviet Union when dealing with the Cold War.

History is repeating itself because of one key reason which limits the UN from intervening in the war in Ukraine, namely that Russia remains a permanent member of the UN Security Council and can veto any resolution dealing with the conflict if it does not support its own interests.

NATO also condemns "in the strongest possible terms Russia's brutal and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine - which is an independent, peaceful and democratic country, and a close NATO partner."

NATO is not directly involved in the war, nonetheless the organisation and their allies are providing Ukraine with support, helping the country to uphold its fundamental right to self-defence.

It's nice to know that Luxembourg has always been a key part of institutions that emphasize cooperation, peace and democratic values.

Zelensky's historic speech at the European Parliament is a good reminder of that.