Tuesday, 24 December 2019

King Philippe of Belgium's Christmas Eve Speech (2019) - English Translation

Ladies and gentlemen,

For many of us, Christmas and the New Year are a time of joy and reunion. The Queen and I are delighted for those who can share these moments of true happiness with their loved ones. But our thoughts also go out to all those who are suffering or who are lonely and who feel this particularly strongly during these holidays. And we thank those who give their time and their hearts to support and encourage them.

We live in a time of change. Our social and economic model and our dealings with the environment are questioned.  A time when many have lost their bearings. That is why we cannot just stand back and watch. We must get more involved. This is not the time to give up.

We know only too well the challenges we face for our society and our planet. We keep saying how urgently we have to address them. For the most part, we also know what the solutions are. But, how can we put this into practice?

It's all about attitude.

To change things, you must first be convinced, and act accordingly. We are responsible for our actions. Our actions have consequences for others. We must be more aware of this. Let's not focus on short-term solutions. Let's think long term by investing in solutions, the results of which we will not necessarily see for ourselves. But which will benefit the generations to come.

It is also about seeing and hearing. We cannot remain indifferent to injustice, poverty, and exclusion. Not even against the violence that is around us in many forms: hidden in the home, creeping in the abuse of alcohol and drugs, especially among young people, insidious in gossip and suspicion, but also clearly visible in the language that judges and the gesture that destroys.

Let us also be aware of our collective strength. The power of all those who are committed because they don't want to put up with things as they are. It is also the quiet power, the discreet and powerful action of so many of our fellow citizens who are committed to a more humane society.

After all, we need a basic constructive attitude to steer all the energy and creativity in our country in the right direction and to unite around common projects.

Now is the urgent time for us to form a fully functioning federal government as quickly as possible that can make balanced decisions that are carried out in a consistent and determined manner. This is what we are all counting on, without further delay.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have a future in which to believe in.

For her eighteenth birthday, our daughter Elisabeth was surrounded by young people of her generation. They have all expressed their faith in the future. We have seen a clear-sighted youth who is ready to get fully involved.

With them, I believe in the enormous potential of our country, in our shared ability to meet the challenges. Provided that we join forces and strive for unity in diversity, with respect for everyone's beliefs.

The Queen and I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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