The US and UK are pursuing a risky path that could “create rifts in our society” and “reverse the course of history,” Belgium’s King Philippe has warned.
Philippe said Tuesday that 2016 was a year marked by the decision of two nations to “shift their focus inward,” a reference to Britain’s vote to exit the European Union and US President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies, including an entry ban for people from seven Muslim-majority countries.
“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 in Brussels.
The king 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, he urged 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 immigration and security.
Tens of thousands of people have demonstrated in streets and airports of major cities across the US since Friday after Trump signed an executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Trump’s order halted travel by people with passports from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia for 90 days, and suspends the resettlement of refugees for 120 days.
The move has also provoked a global backlash, including criticism from American allies who view the move as discriminatory.
Rallies were held across the UK on Monday in protest against Trump’s order as wells as British Prime Minister’s decision to invite the US president to visit London.
By Africafrique and agencies