Belgian king speaks out against Russian nuclear "blackmail"
In his speech one day before the Belgian national holiday, King Philippe expressed Belgium's solidarity with the Ukrainian people. "We will not let ourselves be divided by the blackmail of a nuclear power which wants to break our solidarity with Ukraine. We will continue to support the Ukrainian people", the king said. He did express the hope that the steep increase of fossil fuel prices would "contribute to an acceleration of the energy transition".
In his speech, king Philippe looked back on two years of fighting the coronavirus. According to the Belgian monarch, our country "stood its ground" in the pandemic. "The fact that we were able to manage a crisis such as the pandemic within our democratic system" can be attributed "to our social cohesion", he said.
This cohesion and solidarity were the common thread running through the monarch's speech. There is solidarity not only with the Ukrainian people, but also within our society itself to cope with the impact of rising prices and the increased cost of living. "Our model of society, based on inclusion and solidarity, can absorb these new shocks. But it will not happen by itself. High energy costs have made difficult choices inevitable."
The monarch also expressed hope that "the rise in the price of fossil fuels will help to speed up the energy transition".
Unity, inclusion and cohesion, according to the king, are also the key words in the fight against an increasingly "aggressive discourse" and against the "resurgence of authoritarian regimes and reflexes".
The monarch also drew attention to global warming, expressing the hope that "the rise in the price of fossil fuels will help to speed up the energy transition".
At the end of his speech, the king looked back on his visit to Congo. This trip "enabled us to turn over an important page in our common history with the DRC". "By looking at our common past in a serene way, we can build the future together. The Congolese people have high expectations of our country. Let us work together to help them move forward towards more security, justice and democracy," the monarch concluded. In a strongly-worded speech in front of a Congolese crowd during his recent visit, king Philippe lamented the racism meted out in the Democratic Republic of Congo under the colonial rule of his ancestors. "This regime was one of unequal relations, unjustifiable in itself, marked by paternalism, discrimination and racism", he said. The monarch expressed his "deepest regrets" for the actions of the Belgian colonial regime, becoming the first Belgian head of state to do so. Belgium's colonial record in DR Congo is widely known to have been one of the bloodiest in Africa.
Photo shows queen Mathilde of Belgium and king Philippe - Filip of Belgium © BELGA PHOTO BENOIT DOPPAGNE