"We can overcome the toughest crises provided we do it together", says Belgian King Philip
"History teaches us that we can overcome the toughest crises, provided we do it together," King Philip of Belgium said on Saturday during his Christmas speech. Traditionally, the monarch looked back at 2022, in which Ukraine, the energy, and climate crisis were the main issues.
"This year has severely tested us all. It turned our existence upside down", King Philip began his Christmas message. To this end, he referred to the war in Ukraine. "After the COVID crisis, we hoped to return to our former life. But then the conflict in Ukraine erupted, a cruel and senseless war." The King stressed that this brutality, which claims so many innocent victims, touches him deeply.
Drawing a parallel to Belgium's war past, the King stressed that the people of Ukraine could continue to count on the nation's support. He also praised the commitment and solidarity of Belgian citizens who have provided shelter to Ukrainian refugees over the past year.
On top of this tragedy came the energy crisis and high inflation. "Many of our fellow citizens wonder daily whether they will be able to pay their electricity, heating and food bills. This uncertainty brings great concerns," the King said. "This is also true with climate change," referring to the recent unprecedentedly dry summer after the unseen and deadly floods in 2021.
"There are no easy answers to our challenges, but we will find answers"
"All these crises can lead to discouragement, to a sense of powerlessness and fear," the monarch realises. "There are no easy answers to our challenges, but we will find answers. Thanks to our creativity and perseverance."
"There are good reasons to believe in the future", the King continued. He pointed out that people in Belgium are lucky to live in a democratic, solidly based society and country. King Philip referred to support measures the Belgian government gradually introduced, like "safety nets for those who need them most".
The King also pointed to the great sense of responsibility in our society. "I am impressed how much this is also true among young people," he said. "Many of us have adapted our behaviour to reduce our energy consumption and carbon footprint."
"Finally, history gives us a message of confidence. It teaches us that we can overcome the toughest crises - provided we do it together. Because the bonds we forge with each other are our greatest wealth."
"More than ever, every act we do makes a difference, no matter how small. Every kind, kind-hearted gesture, every act of caring for the planet. That should give us courage and hope," King Philip concluded his Christmas speech.
Prince Emmanuel, Queen Mathilde, King Philippe, Crown Princess Elisabeth and Princess Eleonore of Belgium pose during the annual Christmas Concert at the Royal Palace in Brussels on December 20, 2022, held in public for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic. Brussels, Belgium, on December 20, 2022.
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