King Philippe: Coronavirus 'ordeal has revealed our finer qualities'
The coronavirus crisis presents "a unique opportunity to rethink our economy and our society", King Philippe has said in a televised message to mark Belgium's national day.
The king said the pandemic had caused "great suffering" and praised the people of Belgium for their "courage and creativity".
"The coronavirus crisis that strikes us is unprecedented," he said. "It has had and will have serious consequences. It has exposed the weaknesses of our society. It has also aggravated existing social injustices, severely affecting those who were already in a precarious situation."
But he added: "The ordeal we are going through together has revealed our finer qualities. In recent months, we have shown that, faced with urgency and necessity, we can decide and act quickly together. Admittedly, everything was not perfect, but we held on."
Looking to the future, the monarch said the crisis had "opened our eyes ... It forced us to think about our way of life, our work, our way of teaching, our methods of consumption and the way we travel."
King Philippe also used his traditional 21 July message to call for the speedy formation of a "determined and stable" federal government.
"There are times when history does not wait," he said. "To succeed in the vast challenge of recovery, we need a clearly defined trajectory."
It is interesting to know that in Belgium, the King doesn't read a text written by the government, but writes his own speeches (OK, yes, I guess he has some people who advise him, but still...). The prime minister has to give her okay to it, but that's the extent of government's "control" over the speech.