In his Christmas Eve address – delivered in Luxemburgish – Grand Duke Henri talked a lot about democracy and the tense international political climate and encouraged all global leaders to “be aware of their responsibilities”.
Grand Duke Henri started his speech by talking about the ceremonies held across Europe to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War noting that even though a new war started 20 years later, 11 November 1918 was still a very important date today as “it started a new era. I am talking about cooperation between states and nations.”
“In today’s world, multilateralism – co-operation and equality between states- is more important than ever. It bilaterally sets its boundaries: to organise international trade; to fight climate change; to solve the challenges of global migration and to avoid conflicts.”
Grand Duke Henri also encouraged people to support the international institutions and their work “Luxembourg’s diplomacy has for centuries respected international laws and supported the enhancement of multilateral cooperation. I personally experienced that at COP24 in Katowice. Let us stick to the instruments and institutions that are available to us. They have done their preliminary work and delivered results, even if their work needs to fit the developments. In a time often expressed by national egoism, all international actors must be aware of their responsibility. We have only one world, with challenges.”
The Grand Duke talked about Luxembourg’s diverse society and took a moment to thank – in French – the foreigners (often French) working or living in Luxembourg and thus contributing to the Luxemburgish’s society on many levels. He noted that despite a difficult political climate, the most essential questions about diversity and cohesion are not being debated between political parties.
He praised Grand Duchess Maria Teresa’s work in the fight against the use of sexual violence as a weapon during wars and conflicts and publicly supported the international forum the Grand Duchess will be hosting on the subject in Luxembourg in 2019. Continuing on the social theme, Grand Duke Henri praised the work of emergency and social services saying: “Solidarity and social commitment are often the only light that remains when politics come to their limits. It is not enough to recognise suffering; you need to be brave enough to tackle the world.”
After sparring a thought for those who will spend Christmas alone or those who are sick, Grand Duke Henri finished his Christmas Eve address with greetings from his family: “In that spirit and together with the Grand Duchess, Grand Duke Jean, Prince Guillaume, Princess Stéphanie and all our children, I wish you all the best of Christmas and all the best for a happy New Year.”