Economische missie - Gala-avond

  • 24/11/2004
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(Tekst alleen beschikbaar in het Engels)

With my wife, Princess Mathilde, I am delighted to be with you. Tonight, I want to talk to you about cuisine, fashion, and diamonds.

Cuisine is not just about food. It is part of our culture, of how we live together as human beings. It is about people sharing a table, sharing an important moment. It is about togetherness, about bonding, about building bridges and showing that people are important.

Fashion is not just about clothes. It is also about a way of living, a way of having respect for yourself and for others, it is about manners and elegance, about how to deal with people. It is an essential element of civilisation.

A diamond is not just an expensive object. It is concentrated matter, tough but beautiful. It can take many forms, it has many facets.

Of course you realize that in talking about cuisine, fashion and diamonds I have, in fact, been speaking all the time about my country, Belgium. I love my country.

Belgium is like a diamond. Like a diamond, it doesn?t have to be big to shine. It is concentrated, it is strong. Its many facets have been polished over the years. But a diamond can not shine in the dark. It sparkles only when the light of the world hits it.

Tonight, Ladies and Gentlemen, Belgium shines in China. We sparkle like a diamond here in Shanghai. And we sparkle because the famous lights of Shanghai are shining on us. Shanghai?s lights are its people. You, our Chinese guests, are dynamic and ambitious. You are confident in the future. Your city and your country are a land of opportunity and of immense appeal. We want to seize the moment you have created. We want to be partners and friends in your amazing development.

China is big, and it wants strong and capable partners. We have companies who discovered this decades ago. They came here to invest because they believed in China?s potential. How right they were. Tonight, Belgium is back with a big delegation of capable people and strong companies. Many of them are small enterprises, but they sparkle. They are eager to do business, and we have created financial incentives to help them invest here. May I ask our Chinese guests to welcome them as business partners and friends. And here is a message for the Belgians. Let us be ambitious. Let us bring out the best in ourselves. Let?s be confident in the future. Let us shine and sparkle. In fact, I invite us Belgians never again to say that Belgium is a small country.

Let me end with a word of thanks. Thanks to the members of Belgium Team; they are business people who spared no time and no effort to create this spectacular evening. A special thanks to all those who worked behind the scenes to deliver this event on schedule. My warmest thanks also to our many Chinese guests who chose to share this magical moment with us. My thanks to the Belgian federal government and to the Regions of Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels for their valuable contribution to this mission. And finally thank you all, for your presence and your support.

I raise my glass to the friendship between China and Belgium. Let?s enjoy our evening.