In his annual Christmas speech, Belgium’s King Philippe looked to the future with hope, but also addressed the various crises affecting the world, including poverty, migration, climate change and the coronavirus pandemic.
“We had all hoped that by this year’s end, we would have contained the pandemic that is hitting us so hard. Unfortunately, this is not yet the case,” he said.
“There seems to be no end to this crisis. It sometimes makes us impatient, discouraged and annoyed. That is understandable,” Philippe said. “But these feelings should not prevent us from also seeing what we have achieved in the last almost two years.”
He praised the efforts of the population to keep the country running in the past two years. The government’s measures also played a large part in that, the King stressed. “And yes, since the situation is constantly changing, it is not without trial and error. But still, in the end, we are achieving concrete results.”
Additionally, the Belgian economy has held up, with Belgium reaching the “historic” milestone of 5 million jobs.
In the meantime, science is getting to grips with the virus. “The work of researchers is bearing fruit. Today, we are better equipped to fight the virus than last Christmas, thanks in part to vaccines.”
However, all of today’s challenges are interconnected: the pandemic, economic recovery, the fight against poverty, migration issues and climate change.
“This summer, our country felt the effects of climate change,” Philippe said, referring to the floods in July. “The scale of the floods was unprecedented, prompting us to act, each according to our possibilities and powers.”
Queen Mathilde and King Philippe very recently spoke to the victims of the cities and towns affected, who are still fighting every day against the concrete problems they face, he said.
“We also saw mayors who, with determination and patience, have begun reconstruction work, with the support also of the competent authorities. We join them in expressing the wish that work on the ground will progress more quickly. So that each victim can find a safe and warm home again as soon as possible.”
King Philippe stressed that we live in a time that fundamentally questions our way of life. “Our certainties prove to be fragile,” he said. “We are increasingly aware that much is beyond our control. As a result, we have learned to trust our intuition more. And to be more flexible in our thinking and acting.”
“We will not get out of this by trying to control everything. Neither will we get out of it if we distrust each other, if we are divided,” the King stressed. “We will get out of this if we show that we are worthy of the trust of others, if we act responsibly, steadfastly in the long term.”
“Let us not fear the future. Let us face it with confidence.”