King Felipe VI has told the European Parliament that it can count on the support of a united Spain. The promise came in a speech to delegates in Strasbourg just days after elections in Catalonia gave a majority to parties which ultimately favour independence from the rest of Spain.
Felipe VI was invited to speak to the European Parliament by its President, Martin Schulz. The king was given a warm welcome by delegates but several Spanish MEPs refused to attend the session to hear Felipe VI’s speech.
And the king made indirect reference to the issues being hotly debated in Spanish politics at the moment by telling his audience that “Europe has been built on the basis of adding rather than deducting, of uniting rather than dividing and the ability to share and be supportive.”
He also made reference to the ongoing refugee crisis affecting many countries in the European Union with many member states taking in hundreds of thousands of people in the past few months. King Felipe said that the response to their plight must be compassionate before adding ”We can’t let them down”.
The king received several rounds of applause during his address and was given an ovation afterwards. Following his speech he went on to a meeting with the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, and the President of France, Francois Hollande.
The visit came six months after Europe’s newest monarch visited Brussels. It also co-incided with reports of a possible official trip to the UK for Felipe and his wife, Letizia. The Times has reported that the couple could make a State Visit to London in 2016 – this would be a much more formal occasion than the introductory visit that the new king made to several European countries in the months after his accession. The reports came just a few weeks after other reports that Madrid may be one destination for a State Visit by The Queen in the coming year.
Photo credit: European Parliament via Flickr