Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg's Christmas Eve Address (2018) - English Translation

Dear fellow citizens,

A few weeks ago, in Luxembourg, in Paris, and in other major cities of Europe, with dignity we remembered the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

11 November 1918 is a very distinctive day, a turning point in the history of our continent. After more than 4 years of horrific war, which cost the lives of nearly 20 million people, the moment of the ceasefire finally came.

But the world was changed. The European "leadership" was always in question. And the fight for peace was, unfortunately, quickly lost: after another twenty-five years, another world war began.

And the end of World War II until today is of great significance because it marked the beginning of a new era. I'm talking about the cooperation between the states and nations.

A new system has been introduced:
- with rules that all nations, whether large or small, must be respected in the same measure
- and also international organizations where collaboration works.

The League of Nations, the forerunner of the UN, was founded. But the crisis [Great Depression] and nationalism in the 30s did not allow this system to develop. Only after World War II did the importance of international co-operation begin to win.

In today's world, multilateralism, meaning the cooperation between several countries on an equal footing, is more important than ever. It fills in the gaps wherever bilateral agreements reach their limits:

  • To organize fair international trade, 
  • bring climate change under control, 
  • find more global solutions to migration issues, and
  • avoid conflict.

Luxembourg's diplomats have been champions for the respect of international law and the furtherance of multilateral cooperation for decades and they are receiving recognition for it.

I was able to see this personally at the COP24 conference in Katowice [United Nations Climate Change Conference in December in Poland]. Let us stick to those instruments and institutions that are available to us. They have done their preliminary work and delivered results, even if their work needs further development.

In a time characterized by national egoism, all international actors must be aware of their responsibility. We have only one world, with challenges that we all work on.

Dear fellow citizens,

The outcome of the elections this autumn allows for the ongoing coalition, to create a further legislature period, and I wish our government the best of luck in their important and noble tasks.

As in our neighboring countries, there are also changes in our political landscape. More parties find a connection among voters, who feel less well-off than before. Specific demands or topics get a greater resonance.

However, I am pleased to note that the good of the party is not being held above the common good.

The exclusionary or simplistic slogan have hardly been found. We must be proud of the diversity and cohesion of our society.

[Switches from Luxembourgish to French]

At this point, I would like to thank the non-Luxembourgers, who live or work in our country, for their valuable contribution to our society. Economic cohesion, but also the social cohesion, of our country are assets which we must defend at all costs. They are at the heart of our projects and our success. It's the common good for everyone.

[Switches back to Luxembourgish]

Today, on this Christmas, I do not just want to limit my speech to the political plan.

A large, deep thanks to the many members of our society, who, both at home or in crises zones, are serving people in emergencies.

Solidarity and social commitment are often the only light that stays on when politics reach their limits.

It is not enough to worry about it, you should have the courage to make the world better.

This help can be done on many levels. The Grand Duchess [Maria Teresa], with heart and conviction, works to call people to action, notably in the fight against any form of sexual violence, particularly in matters that stem from war and conflict. I stand fully behind this initiative of the Grand Duchess. Many others, including 3 Nobel Peace Nobles, will join her and attend the international [Stand Speak Rise Up!] forum in the spring of 2019 here in Luxembourg.

Dear all people,

Many of us celebrate the holidays with their family and friends. But I also think about the sick or those who are alone… Why not just give them a good word or a little time on this Christmas?

In that spirit and together with the Grand Duchess [Maria Teresa], Grand Duc Jean, Prince Guillaume, Princess St├ęphanie and all our children, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and best wishes for a happy New Year.

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