His Majesty King Felipe of Spain called for unity and focused heavily on the Catalonia situation going on in the country during his Christmas Eve address last evening.
The King of Spain began his speech wishing all Spaniards a happy Christmas and 2018 on behalf of Queen Letizia, Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofía. The address then turned to speaking about events within the country over the past year, including the Catalonian crisis and the tragic terror attack in Barcelona and Cambrils.
He first spoke about the Spanish people’s commitment to democracy stating, “We have permanently established democracy, even including decades ago defeating an attempt to overturn our freedoms and rights. We are an essential part of a European Union with which we share goals and the same worldview.” His Majesty later called Spain “a mature democracy, where citizens can think freely, and defend and argue their opinions and ideas in a free and democratic way.”
The King briefly inferred about the conflicts revolving around the Catalonian referendum saying, “On the path we have taken, of course, we must recognise that we haven’t got everything right; that there are still difficult, complex situations to be corrected, which require the commitment of all society to overcome.”
Highlighting the positives in Spanish society, His Majesty remarked that the country must value and appreciate those positives, adding, “It is worth the effort, and we deserve it, as a country and as a society. Because the history of the Spain we have built together is the history of a great triumph for all the Spaniards.”
The speech then turned directly to Catalonia with the King citing the Spanish Constitution to express the need to keep freedom, equality and justice flowing in the country. He acknowledged that Catalonians had recently elected representatives now tasked with the job of tackling “the problems facing all Catalans while respecting pluralism and thinking responsibly of the common good.” He added that their path could not “lead back to confrontation or exclusion” saying that they only “create discord, uncertainty, discouragement, and the moral, civic, and of course, economic impoverishment of an entire society.”
His Majesty then highlighted the path that Spain should go down instead – being that of peaceful coexistence in Catalan society, calling it “diverse and plural,” requesting “the recovery of calm, stability, and mutual respect.”
He began the end of his speech mentioning the improvement in the economy and economic stability of Spain, adding that creating jobs must still be a priority and the necessity of dealing with inequality. Remembering the terror attack earlier in the year, King Felipe stated that Spain will keep a united democracy and always remember the victims.
Spain’s monarch also touched on climate change, corruption, and the crossroads of the European Union. He made sure to mention one group that he was remembering this holiday season – women who have and still are suffering gender violence. For 2018, he hopes that Spain will continue to build their country “because history does not stand still” and not fear the future but to create it instead.
King Felipe concluded by expressing that the Spanish people should all be proud of what the nation has achieved and that the years ahead will only get better for Spain.