02 September 2022

While I – like probably many – have been able to enjoy a holiday, the world around us has unfortunately not stood still. Where at the beginning of this year we thought we were free of the coronavirus and hoped to finally enter the realm of freedom, today the world is on fire more than ever. And that on a scale that seems unprecedented in modern history. A long winter is just around the corner.

Admittedly, crises are of all times and occur regularly in all forms and capacities. Sometimes of short, painful duration, sometimes more persistent over a longer period of time. Today, we are not only facing a war on Europe's borders. There is also the economic and social impact that is more acute than we could have feared six months ago. With runaway inflation, negative economic growth (economists then speak of 'stagflation'), perhaps imminent restructurings and redundancies in sectors and companies.
In that respect, 2022 could also be a turning point in history. The end of an era of abundance and carefreeness, as the French president put it sharply. But doomsday thinking does not take us any further. 'Hope for the best, prepare for the worst', has long been my mantra to get through a crisis. Let me be clear: this crisis will not be over tomorrow, and the impact will be felt in many areas of society for many years to come. Prime Minister De Croo talked this summer about a crisis that we will feel for 5 to 10 years. It will take courage and perseverance from each of us to get through this crisis. There is no one big miracle solution. And above all, we must guard against prophets of doom who claim otherwise. Their intentions are rarely noble or sincere. This is also how the past has taught us.
The way out of this crisis will have to be a cocktail of many large and especially small measures. A long sustained effort. Not an intermediate sprint, but a marathon with many obstacles along the way. It will require great efforts and sacrifices, appealing to the sense of responsibility of every citizen, every community. And that worldwide. Above all, it will also require a joint effort and effort. Because if there is one thing that the people of Ukraine have taught us in recent months, it is that we will have to go for it together, shoulder to shoulder, with trial and error, and sometimes also with going backwards. But with the determination to reach the other bank together. Without leaving anyone behind. Every crisis is also an opportunity for a different and better world. 

I wish it to all of us.