Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The King avoids talk about the political crisis in his speech

Much had been expected of the speech the King traditionally has on the eve of the National Holiday, most probably because the TV broadcast of this had been postponed by one day due to the political crisis. However, the King only briefly referred to the political crisis in Belgium.
‘As you all know, we have been experiencing political problems for some time. However, I would like to remind you that problems and crises can lead to revitalisation and quietness. The separation of minds is not a fatality. Unity and tolerance, with a respect for the identity of each federated entity, is the only way out in our democratic society.
We must consider new forms of living together in our country.’ That was all the King had to say after a year-long political crisis. Het laatste Nieuws, however, reminded its readers that the government is actually writing the speech of the King. The King used the rest of his speech to the legacy of his brother, who died 15 years ago. King Albert reminded his people that poverty, human trafficking and juvenile violence were topics that were particularly close to Baudouin’s heart, and which today are still topical.
The King paid specific attention to poverty. He pointed out that one out of seven Belgians (or 14,7%) in our country may be seen as poor today. ‘This percentage is higher than in our neighbouring countries, and we have to steadfastly continue with our efforts to get it significantly lower.’

According to Royalty watcher Jan Van den Berghe, it is noticeable that Albert referred to the deceased King Baudouin. ‘His speech seemed like a desparate message by someone can't cope with the whole political situation any longer. It was a kind of ode to his brother, who had more moral authority and had been able to closely follow the political situation and control it,’ according to Van den Berghe.

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