'Everything is different': World leaders reflect on pandemic year
Updated 03:05, 26-Dec-2020
Edna Mohamed


Heads of states and political leaders all focused on the pandemic in their annual Christmas messages. In what has been a turbulent year for the world, they took the time to reflect on its challenges. 

Pope Francis delivered his traditional Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world) message virtually this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic. In it, he called for global unity and solidarity from nations to help those less fortunate. 

"At this moment in history, marked by the ecological crisis and grave economic and social imbalances only worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, it is all the more important for us to acknowledge one another as brothers and sisters," he said. 



In the UK, Queen Elizabeth II also focused her speech on this year's pandemic and community support. "In the United Kingdom and around the world, people have risen magnificently to the challenges of the year, and I am so proud and moved by this quiet, indomitable spirit," she said.

"Good Samaritans have emerged across society showing care and respect for all, regardless of gender, race or background, reminding us that each one of us is special and equal in the eyes of God," she added. 

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in the aftermath of negotiating a Brexit deal with the EU, said that while the government has had to place large areas of the country under tighter COVID-19 restrictions, there's still "hope."

Holding the 600-page Brexit deal, Johnson said: "I have a small present for anybody who may be looking for something to read in that sleepy post-Christmas lunch moment."

He added: "I believe it will be the basis of a happy and successful and stable partnership with our friends in the EU for years to come."


Pope Francis asked the world 'to acknowledge one another as brothers and sisters.' /Vatican Media/AFP

Pope Francis asked the world 'to acknowledge one another as brothers and sisters.' /Vatican Media/AFP


Spain's King Felipe VI used his annual Christmas Eve speech to make a call to the leaders of his nation to display exemplary behavior after the financial scandal concerning his father, the previous monarch. He cited "Principles that apply to everyone, without exception, and that are above any other considerations, including personal or family (bonds)."

Belgium's King Philippe spoke of how different this year's Christmas celebrations are, due to COVID-19. Like other leaders, he spoke of the hope we have for the future. 

"This year, everything is different," he said. "Tonight we celebrate Christmas in our bubble, or alone, because we have to keep it safe. Fortunately, love and friendship can bridge any distance.

"The challenges remain enormous, but the end of the crisis is really within our grasp in the coming months. We can gradually make new plans and have confidence in the future. But without a doubt, we come out differently."

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