King Filip said that for most of us Christmas and the New Year’s festivities are a time of joy and of seeing people again in warmth, but urged us all to spare a though for those in suffering or loneliness for whom the festivities weigh heavily. The king expressed his gratitude for those who give their all to break this solitude.
The monarch spoke of a turning point: “Our social economic model and our approach to the environment are being questioned. Many are losing their grip. We mustn’t stand on the side-lines. This isn’t the time to give up.”
The king insisted that we are all aware of the challenges that face society and the planet. “We keep on saying they need to be addressed. Largely, we know how to tackle them, but how we can turn this into action remains a question.”
King Filip urged us not to be satisfied by short-term action and to act in favour of the long term. “Go for solutions the fruits of which we may not see, but which will benefit future generations.”
“We cannot remain indifferent to injustice, poverty and exclusion or to the violence that surrounds us in its many forms, hidden in the family, in growing alcohol and drug abuse.”
The king also urged us to be aware of our collective strength: “the strength of people who are not satisfied with things the way they are.”
King Filip also called on the energy and creativity in Belgium, especially with regard to the political crisis.
“We need a constructive approach that brings us together around joint projects. It is essential that a fully-fledged federal government that can take balanced decisions is formed ASAP, a government that can count on united and steadfast support”.
The monarch also spoke of his 18-year-old daughter, Crown Princess Elisabeth, who is studying at the Atlantic College in Wales, and her peers. As they turned 18 they spoke of their faith in the future. “Together with them” the king said “I believe in the potential of our country, in our joint ability to meet the challenges that face us on condition we combine our powers and bring unity in diversity and respect everybody’s conviction.”