King Philippe

US and UK threaten 'course of history' says Belgian king

Belgian King Philippe and Queen Mathilde on a state visit to Luxembourg
Photo: AFP

(AFP) Belgium's King Philippe warned Tuesday that Britain and the United States had embarked on risky paths that could "reverse the course of history".

The king said 2016 was a year "marked by the decision of two great nations and friends to shift their focus inward," a reference to Britain's vote to leave the EU and initial moves by US President Donald Trump, including an entry ban for people from seven Muslim nations.

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde on Belgium with Luxembourg's Grand Duke Henri
Photo: Serge Waldbillig

"This new attitude seems to seek to reverse the course of history, and goes against their tradition of openness and generosity, and their participation in a common commitment and dream," he told a gathering of top government officials. 

Calling both nations "beacons of democracy and liberty", he warned that "those who disguise the truth or create rifts in our society imperil democracy, because it is based on fundamental values: truth, respect and moderation".

As a response, King Philippe called for renewed efforts to build a united Europe.

"Let us continue to create a Europe that allows our national identities to reinforce themselves through collaboration, instead of weakening each other in confrontations," he said, calling in particular for concrete steps in the areas of security and immigration.

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