King Philipe gave his Speech the night before Belgium’s National Day on Tuesday, 21 July 2020.

The King gave his speech in three languages: French, Dutch and German whilst standing in front of a portrait of his paternal grandmother, Queen Astrid (former Princess of Sweden).

English Translation

We have translated King Philippe’s speech in French into English.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The coronavirus crisis that is hitting us is unprecedented. For many of us, this pandemic has caused great suffering. It has had and will continue to have serious consequences. You who have lost a loved one, without having been able to accompany him in his last moments and to mourn so much necessary, I wish to address you to tell you how the Queen and I, and the whole country, are in union of heart with you.

Our thoughts are also with you who lost your job, saw your income drop sharply or saw your business go bankrupt, you who had to give up your plans or saw your dreams shattered.

This crisis has exposed the weaknesses and weaknesses of our society. By first reaching the most vulnerable. Elders, whose dignity I would like to salute in the face of danger and loneliness. Children, from whom a part of carelessness has been taken away. Young people, whose educational path has been seriously shaken.

The crisis also worsened existing social injustices, severely affecting those who were already in a precarious situation, less well housed or trained. The confinement has caused tensions, in homes, in our working relationships, in the streets. More than ever we must listen to those who suffer in silence.

But the ordeal we are going through together has also revealed our fine qualities. At the heart of the difficulties, we saw the strength of mutual aid and concern for others at work. I am thinking first of all of the nursing staff but also of the teachers. And in reality, it is the whole of Belgium that has shown courage and creativity. I was able to realize this during our many contacts and visits, and I am very impressed.

We have rediscovered the importance of the general interest, the role of the State and the public service. We have seen how fruitful collaboration can be between the private and public sectors, between experts and governments, between universities, between research centres, between the different levels of power in our country. Let us continue on this beautiful dynamic.

In recent months, we have shown that, faced with urgency and necessity, we can decide and act quickly together. Of course, not everything was perfect, but we held on. We have allocated immense resources to preserve our economic and social fabric and to overcome the difficult caps that still await us.

It is now a question of rebuilding and relaunching our activities with a long-term perspective. By putting all our energy and all our inventiveness into it. 

The crisis has opened our eyes. She woke us up and brought us out of the comfort of our certainties. It forces us to think about our way of life, our organization of work, our way of teaching, our modes of production and consumption, the way we move and how we travel.

We now have a unique opportunity to rethink our economy and our society. By building on the human values ​​that we have lived so intensely. By opting for more equitable and sustainable solutions. With ambition and confidence in the future.

Ladies and gentlemen,

There are times when history doesn’t wait. To succeed in the gigantic challenge of recovery, each of us is essential. To mobilize all our strength, we need a clearly defined trajectory.

The whole country is now calling for a determined and stable government. Let’s not let him down. We will only succeed by going beyond our own horizons and showing courage and daring.

The Queen and I wish you a beautiful National Day.

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