A wild ride

By Pascal SteinwachsLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

Somehow he has always been around: first as mayor, then as MP, LSAP parliamentary group leader, party president, deputy prime minister and chief diplomat. After more than 40 years, the eternal Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn has retired from politics with a heavy heart. A home visit to Steinfort.

As we flick through the TV channels at the beginning of the week and, for better or worse, come across the Rose Monday parades, we suddenly remember a long-ago afternoon in the carnival stronghold of Cologne. That day, we struck up a conversation with the owner of a second-hand shop, who told us that she had often been to Luxembourg in the past: "I bought petrol, cigarettes and once I was in the old town. It's a beautiful city, but unfortunately also expensive. And you have a nice foreign minister in Luxembourg, the one with the moustache. I know him from the talk shows."

Together with Jean-Claude Juncker, Désirée Nosbusch, Thierry van Werveke and, more recently, perhaps also Vicky Krieps, Jean Asselborn definitely belongs to the very illustrious circle of Luxembourgers who are also well-known abroad. A film has even been made about Jean Asselborn (Foreign Affairs by Pasha Rafiy), and there is also a political biography about him: Merde alors!, written by the Austrian journalist Margaretha Kopeinig. What's more, Asselborn has topped the hit parade of the country's favourite politicians almost without interruption in polls since 2013.

The former – in years of service – oldest foreign minister in the EU and third-oldest chief diplomat in the world has certainly had an extraordinary career: Employee at the tyre manufacturing company Uniroyal in Steinfort, employee at the City of Luxembourg, employee at the municipality of Steinfort, baccalaureate via the second educational path, head of administration at the inter-municipal hospital of Steinfort, law degree and final diploma at the University of Nancy, mayor of his home municipality of Steinfort, MP, LSAP parliamentary group leader, party president, deputy prime minister and foreign minister.

In the past, we have accompanied Jean Asselborn abroad from time to time. For example, to Kabul in Afghanistan, where we stopped off at a pizzeria, or to Chile, where we happen to be in the minister's room when he is desperately looking for his socks.

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