As Belgium undergoes “strong political tensions”, King Philippe said on Monday that he trusted in the “sense of responsibility” of its leaders to “act in the interest of the country and the population.” Inequality, poverty, intolerance and climate change are issues that “require exhaustive responses,” he added in his annual Christmas message, issued on Monday from his office in Laeken Castle.
In a departure from his usual practice, he referred to the recent political crisis affecting the Federal Government. “Our country is going through a turbulent period. Important issues rightfully worry our fellow citizens,” King Philippe said. “Today we are faced with strong political tensions. I place trust in the sense of responsibility of our leaders to act in the interest of the country and the population.”
With elections looming in the next few months, the king called for dialogue and mutual respect. “Democracy demands listening and dialogue,” he stated. “Let’s prepare for federal, regional and European elections by having open and true debates in which we respect each other, for the time of the vote must be the result of mature reflection.”
A few hours ahead of Christmas and with the New Year a few days away, the Head of State stressed that this was a suitable time to “take a step back”, “stop rushing after time”, “take stock” and “remember that life is a path we do not travel alone, but with travelling companions who, like us, need a presence, an ear and advice.”
This festive period “is an opportunity to pay particular attention to the most fragile in our society” and those who surround and accompany them “with care and devotion,” the Belgian monarch added.