On the evening of December 24, 2012, His Royal Highness Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg delivered his traditional Christmas speech from the Grand Ducal Palace.
Rough translation (sorry about that):
“Dear fellow citizens,
When today we take a look back at the year 2012 while looking towards the future, many of us do with feelings mixed. Once again, this is an eventful year that is about to end, a year that has seen moments of happiness alternated at a rapid pace with events much less encouraging. The news has been dominated by the economic crisis and, unfortunately, a number of indicators suggest already think that 2013 will not be an easy year. Nevertheless, I hope that each of us will always remember a lot of positive moments. So, make sure that the bad news is we do not forget the positive events.
For us personally, it is with great joy that the Grand Duchess and myself we remember the wedding of our eldest son. The warm welcome reserved for the Prince William and Princess Stéphanie us greatly affected. A big thank you also on behalf of the couple, for your sympathy, your participation in the festivities and all your acts of kindness. We would like to especially thank those who, through this marriage, have distinguished themselves by their work deeply committed. The many positive reactions in our country and the positive feedback from abroad are all tokens of appreciation for their tremendous work.
I want to especially thank all our citizens who have joined enthusiastically in the festivities of the wedding of Prince William and Princess Stephanie who were willing to share with us these moments for my family and for the country.
A few days ago, we announced another good news that the engagement of our son, Prince Felix, and Claire Lademacher. It is with great pleasure that we present our best wishes to the young couple.
Unfortunately, joys and sorrows often coexist in life. The wedding took place at a time when the good news is now rare. For us too, the economic crisis has left deep scars: closures, firing workers, questioning of social benefits and the need for conservation measures. All these ads do not remain without consequences, and primarily for those involved personally. This is a situation that none of us should be accommodated and that is a challenge for all of us.
Tonight, I would think especially for families in our country suffer from the crisis and are facing increasing financial problems. They need more than ever to us and support the welfare state!
In our society, a crisis can be an opportunity to demonstrate unity and solidarity. Fortunately, Luxembourg can boast a long tradition of solidarity in our country, in Europe, but also vis-à-vis less developed countries. Today we have more than ever, need the solidarity practiced at all levels.
It is often said that the crisis is an opportunity that allows for changes and reforms. It is possible that this is indeed the case, it remains that, first of all, the crisis is what it is: an illustration of a failure which, for each individual and for the whole country, is synonymous huge losses. It is the responsibility policies and to each of us to learn from the current situation, to opt for a rational management of resources and now reduced to rethink our priorities.
In this context, accountability is a key concept. I fear that in recent years we have unlearned partly responsible for our actions. One who acts must always be aware of the consequences of their decisions for the company. In all areas of the economy to social engagement through the world of finance and environmental protection, it is first of all to ourselves the responsibility for our actions. You can not transfer responsibility to others pointing abroad or system.
The weakening of the sense of responsibility and the common good, the general refusal to take responsibility and the predominance of research alone personal profit go hand in hand with an emphasis on indifference and risk appetite. When the simple relationship between “receiving” and “giving” is corrupt, it will follow inevitably injustices.
In a game where almost everything is possible and much is allowed, there is little limit to creativity, with all the positive or negative consequences that entails. However, the limits and rules are necessary, not to restrict individual freedom, but to protect society as a whole.
Acting responsibly is, for me, the first response to any kind of crisis, whether it is an economic crisis or a crisis of confidence, and can help us avoid a very large extent that such a situation does not recur.
Acting responsibly means being honest, tell the truth, even if it is unpopular, respect others, decide and consume consciously avoiding making profits at the expense of others, and therefore of society.
Finally, acting responsibly means not stop to consider the future of the country and its people with foresight.
The communication society in which we live now invites us to act ever more quickly. The time we have to act and for which we are invited to respond continually to shorten. However, I believe that it is essential not to let ourselves be driven exclusively by emergencies and quick decisions, but must, instead, think about all the consequences of our decisions. Our aim should be not to take without thinking of any rumor, but to serve the truth in a spirit of objectivity and fairness without forgetting the people who are behind the news.
In these uncertain times, who seem marked by disorientation, I plead for a sense of normalcy. We again need reference points, we need time and quiet to make decisions and get to the bottom of things for the information we receive. And we need people who, in a pluralistic context, defending values. Society requires tolerance, but at the same time, the individual need guidance. Values such as respect, responsibility, honesty, love of neighbor and good living together can serve as orientation and guide us in our actions.
I am convinced that you, dear fellow citizens, are ready to do everything possible to help shape the future of our country. Luxembourg tomorrow will be different from the one we know. However, it will also depend on our willingness to assume responsibility, to develop new opportunities for our country and focus on solidarity. Note this challenge together looking to the future with courage and confidence.
On this Christmas eve, I wish you all and your families with the Grand Duchess, my father, Grand Duke Jean, the grand-ducal couple heir and the whole family a Merry Christmas and a very happy new year!”