Grand Duke’s speech ‘opening and welcoming’

Grand Duke Henri gave his traditional Christmas speech.

This is one of the rare times when the sovereign addresses the Luxembourg population and shares his opinions on the key topics of the year.

How important is it? What is the Grand Duke talking about in this speech?

We’ll try explain this to you, with the help of Stéphane Bern, a French journalist.

Personal message

“This speech is important because it is a personal message of the sovereign,” he said.

“The sovereign’s Christmas speech is a tradition in every monarchy, depending on how deeply the country is involved in a religion,” he said.

“This type of speech has existed since the advent of radio and television,
a way for monarchs to invite themselves into people’s homes for a short time. The English monarchy has been practicing this kind of speech since the 1930s. The same goes for the Grand Ducal family,” he said.

For Stéphane Bern, these speeches are of “important value”.

Grand Duke Henri’s is “written personally and not countersigned by the prime minister.

It gives him great value, it is a very personal message that the sovereign addresses the Luxembourgers, he says.

This Christmas speech can have as much, if not more importance, than a speech of Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, Bern says.

“Everyone is in his role.The Prime Minister must be accountable to the nation while the Grand Duke is there to talk on the longer term, it is not related to time,” he said.

The Grand Duke can’t during the year comment on the government and its decisions and actions.

This Christmas speech allowed him to give his opinion on what is happening in his country and thus draw “a philosophy programme” for the following year, Bern said

He talked about the non-Luxembourgers who contribute to the country.

Foreigners an asset

Foreigners are an “asset for the country” the Grand Duke said.

Often the sovereign makes an allusion every to the plurality of Luxembourg, and to how many foreigners populate his country.

He has often talked on the subject.

2007 – “Our country attracts tens of thousands of people from the greater region who contribute to the success of the national economy.”

2008 – “On behalf of the Luxembourg people, I would like to express our gratitude to all those who live and work in the Grand Duchy, and your number continues to grow from year to year”

2009 – “Our current difficulties will not make us deviate from our tradition: Luxembourg will remain open to others, welcoming and tolerant”

2010 – “The presence of so many communities is and remains indispensable for the well-being of our society and must encourage us to work together for a promising future”

2014 – “The narrowness of our territory and our turbulent history have made us fully aware of our dependence on those around us.”

2015 – “There is almost 50% of non-Luxembourgers in our country: it is therefore essential that we achieve integration”.

“The Grand Duke’s speech is very often focused on welcoming, opening up to others and going far beyond Christian values, and he wants to bring everyone together,” Bern said.