Saturday, 24 December 2022

Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg - 2022 Christmas Speech (English Translation)

(Translation by Gert's Royals based on both the Luxembourgish & French Text. [Notes added by Gert's Royals are in brackets])

My fellow citizens,

After a difficult 2021, 2022 will not have been an easy year either.

The environment remains under intense pressure. The results of the recent COP in Egypt are disappointing for many of us. The final agreement helped to mitigate the damage caused by climate change for the most vulnerable countries, but it was not possible to achieve concrete progress in terms of reductions in CO2 emissions and the renunciation of fossil fuels.

["COP in Egypt" refers to the UN Climate Change Conference. COP stands for "Conference of the Parties" and is attended by all the countries that have signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.]

Furthermore, military conflicts around the world have increased in intensity; millions of people continued to flee their countries in search of refuge.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, a brutal war of aggression, calls into question everything on which we, since 1945, have built our peaceful coexistence: resolving conflicts through dialogue and not through violence. The consequences of this war have a negative impact worldwide.

[1945 refers to the end of WWII]

At the same time, in Iran as in Afghanistan, women and young girls are mistreated, mercilessly repressed, and sometimes even murdered. Particularly in Afghanistan, they remain the victims of a societal conception desperately rooted in the Middle Ages. 

Helping them, giving them a voice, and supporting them, is a cause that is very close to my heart as well as the Grand Duchess.

What does all this mean?

Are we just going through a tough time, or do we need to prepare to change our ways?

It is legitimate to ask the question because, rarely in our recent history, have we found ourselves faced with so many worrying developments.

My Fellow Citizens,

Despite everything, I am convinced, after all the years I have served this country as head of state, that Luxembourg has the means to cope in these difficult times. From experience, I know that we have the ability to use our strengths to adapt to a new situation.

Our constant commitment to peace in Europe is one of our main strengths. As difficult as it was, we drew a line during the Second World War to build a peaceful Europe and a fairer world order through the establishment of the United Nations.

We also very quickly acquired the certainty that the defense of our interests and our security would be infinitely better ensured as a member of the European Union as well as of NATO, rather than having to assume them alone.

Luxembourg is an open country that has been able to offer a stable living environment to a considerable number of people, thanks to the close cooperation that we have established with Germany, Belgium, and France within the framework of the Greater Region.

Our society works according to the principle of coexistence. Coexistence, in this case, means a peaceful coexistence of people from over 170 countries.

[Recent census data shows there are people living in Luxembourg from over 170 different nationalities.]

But living together is also based on an equitable distribution of national wealth, and constant attention to prevent the gap between rich and less rich from widening, particularly in times of crisis.

Nevertheless, there are many people in this country who are not doing well economically and who risk falling into poverty. The current situation makes it more and more difficult for many people to make ends meet. They need further support.

It is all the more important that our social model is inclusive, offering everyone their rightful place to flourish and find their way.

We have the privilege of living in a democratic country that calls on its citizens to express themselves regularly and vote and thus help shape our society.

The Luxembourg economy is based on private initiative, supported and regulated by our institutions and the law. The government, the trade unions, and employers work together, on how the various interests they represent, can come together in a compromise to ensure social peace in our country.

All over the world, we are fighting for more democracy and greater respect for human rights. We make every effort to promote the development of less fortunate countries. We welcome many people seeking refuge, threatened in their countries of origin. It is our duty as a society and as a country.

We are a forward-looking nation that enshrines respect, respect for our fellow citizens, for fundamental values and rights, and for the environment. These are not empty words, old clichés, but the pillars on which our future rests.

And if we succeed in promoting this state of mind beyond our borders as the key to our success and to the friendship that binds us to our neighbors, then I believe that we will have made a concrete contribution to a world more human.

My Fellow Citizens,

A new year is coming. We don't know what it will be made of. But I am sure that all of us, Luxembourgers, our foreign fellow citizens, and all those who, from our neighboring countries, come to work daily in the Grand Duchy, we will continue together to defend our model of society. This is our duty and also a commitment to future generations.

In this spirit, the Grand Duchess, Prince Guillaume, and Princess Stéphanie with Prince Charles and all our children join me in wishing you all a Merry Christmas and our warmest wishes for 2023.

1 comment:

  1. A great speech. Best one of the royals in Europe I have read.