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Yuriko Backes: Finance and Diplomacy  


In January 2022, Yuriko Backes became the first woman in the history of Luxembourg to hold the office of Minister of Finance. She took over from Pierre Gramegna who also brought a strong diplomatic dimension to this key position for an international financial center. At almost 52 years, Yuriko Backes takes up the challenge. Portrait. 

 

Very strong ties with Japan

The career of Yuriko Backes may seem atypical: Born in Japan to Luxembourgish parents, the Minister of Finance and mother of two teenage boys maintains close ties with her childhood country. After graduating with the International Baccalaureate from the Canadian Academy International School in Kobe in 1989, Yuriko Backes obtained a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1992. She then continued her university studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, where she obtained a master's degree in Japanese studies in 1993. Yuriko Backes completed a second master's degree in European political and administrative studies from the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium, in 1994. 

 

A woman making decisions 

Gradually, Yuriko Backes made her mark in the political sphere. In 1994, she began her career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she held different positions, which include the Permanent Representation of Luxembourg to the United Nations in New York, the Permanent Representation of Luxembourg to the European Union in Brussels, and the Luxembourg Embassy in Japan. From 2008 to 2010, she was deputy head of the Directorate for International Economic Relations. In 2010, Jean-Claude Juncker, then Prime Minister, promoted her to become his diplomatic adviser and Sherpa. When Xavier Bettel became Prime Minister in 2013, she continued to serve him in the same functions before becoming the representative of the European Commission in Luxembourg from 2016 to 2020. This European role allowed her to gain further experience and consolidate her network by being in contact with European Commissioners and Directors General. From June 2020 until her entry into the government, she was Marshal of the Grand-Ducal Court. As a Minister of Finance, she wants to give confidence to women who are still reluctant to take up jobs with responsibility.   

 

Climate and business support: major challenges 

The career diplomat became Minister of Finance on January 5th, 2022. She has joined the Democratic Party (DP), a decision that she says has been carefully considered as she shares the values ​​of this political party. Since taking up office, Yuriko Backes is facing several major challenges at the national and European level, especially the consequences of the war in Ukraine. 


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