The Holy See

Capital Vatican City

Time Zone CET (GMT+1)

Country Code 39

ccTLD .va

Currency Euro

Land Area 0.44 sq km

Population 836

Language Latin, Italian

Major Religion Roman Catholicism

Key Data

Notable Public Figures

Francis I - Jorge Mario Bergoglio,

Pietro Parolin,
Cardinal Secretary of State

Giovanni Angelo Becciu,
Substitute for General Affairs

Paul Richard Gallagher,
Secretary for the Relations with States

Antoine Camiller,
Undersecretary for the Relations with States

Luciano Suriani,
Delegate for Pontificial Representations

Peter Brian Wells,
Assessor for General Affairs

José Avelino Bettencourt,
Head of Protocol

Domenico Giani,
Chief of Vatican Gendarmerie

Luxembourg and The Vatican’s Challenges in the Balkans

The wealthy tax haven of Luxembourg, the world’s last-surviving grand duchy, has played an important – though discreet – role in financing Catholic Church activity and development in the Balkans.The Vatican challenges in the Balkans Bolstering the Catholic Church in 2015 and beyond Its peculiar politics, deep Catholic roots and development funding programs all combine to influence Catholicism in the contemporary Balkans.


Luxembourg has been vital to the Catholic development agenda in the Balkans, through its LuxDev state agency. As revealed for the first time in the book, Luxembourg’s donation of millions of euros in aid since the late 1990s has been influenced by the Catholic orientation of the country’s leaders and influential persons.

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Luxembourg has concentrated its aid on Muslim-majority areas that include Kosovo, Novi Pazar and the Serbian Sandzak, and neighboring northeastern Montenegro. The Western concern for poverty and low education creating the conditions for radical Islamist development are seldom articulated, but Luxembourg’s financial donations speak louder than words in affirming the theory.

Much of the Luxembourg financial aid has been routed through the Catholic charity, Caritas Luxembourg, which itself cooperates on ground level with other foreign Catholic NGOs and grass-roots organizations. Evangelization and education in a Catholic mold are associated with some of these. In the final analysis, it is clear that the ultra-wealthy statelet wedged between Germany, France and Belgium has played a crucial – though totally overlooked – role in funding important social and religious development projects in the Muslim Balkans.

Other important Luxembourg-related issues discussed in the book include the relationship between the Vatican and Grand Duke Henri, the Juncker government, and the general orientation of Luxembourg diplomacy towards EU, NATO and US interests.

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