Spain
King of Spain Calls for "Respect for the Constitution" as President Sánchez Negotiates with Independence Supporters
Felipe VI cited the crisis in Catalonia as one of the greatest "concerns" for the country and recalled that the Magna Carta " recognizes the territorial diversity that defines us".

Speaking for the fifth time as King, Philip VI addressed the Spanish people, recalling that he had been at the head of the State for five years and reaffirming his commitment and vocation to serve the country "with loyalty, responsibility and total dedication". He also welcomed the holidays on behalf of Queen Letizia, Princess Leonor, and Princess Sofia.

His first message was to the families and people affected by the raging floods of recent days. He then acknowledged that "the world is not going through easy times", and listed a number of global challenges and concerns, such as the direction of the EU, migrations, gender inequality in the workplace, as well as climate change.

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In addition, and already referring to problems that particularly affect Spain, he cited the unemployment rate, the economic difficulties faced by families, the deterioration of citizens' confidence in institutions... and "of course, Catalonia". The monarch defined all these issues as "serious concerns that we have in Spain".

The word "Catalonia" was not mentioned again by Philip VI throughout the speech, but it was always present. He also referred to the presidential investiture process, when he recalled that the Congress has the last word: "After the elections held on November 10 [...] it is up to the Congress, in accordance with our Constitution, to take the decision it considers most convenient for the general interest of all Spaniards".

In spite of "the difficult times" the country is going through, the king appealed for "a firm confidence in ourselves". He highlighted, in this sense, the "disposition to help others, and to put the common good before individual interests" of the 41 Spanish citizens whom he decorated, last June, with the Order of Civil Merit.

The values of these Spaniards, which Philip VI granted in his speech to the whole of Spanish society, "feel deeply European and Ibero-American; and are not isolated, but very open to the world and fully integrated in global society".

King Felipe VI of Spain

The king took the opportunity to highlight "what we have built together, what we have advanced together", in another nod to Catalonia. He added, in this sense, that "I think it is important to say this, not because of a misunderstood self-esteem, but because it is a contrasting reality that we must put into value". However, he added, "we must not fall into extremes", nor "into a self-criticism that is destructive and denies the great civic heritage".

In reference to this heritage, Felipe VI firstly highlighted the "desire for harmony" which, thanks to "generosity, dialogue and respect between people of very different ideologies, has broken down walls of intolerance, rancor and incomprehension".

He also appealed to "the will to understand and integrate our differences while respecting our Constitution, which recognizes the territorial diversity that defines us and preserves the unity that gives us strength.

Finally, he reminded everyone that "time does not stand still" and that "the challenges ahead of us are not simple". Despite this, he assured that "we have great potential as a country", and encouraged the Spanish to "think big", "move forward with ambition" and "all together".

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The king closed his speech, one of the most political of the last five years and clearly marked by the imminent inauguration once the pact between the PSOE and the independence group ERC is closed, congratulating the festivities once again in the name of his family in Spanish, Basque, Catalan and Galician.

Felipe VI's Christmas message was recorded on Monday in the audience hall of the Palacio de La Zarzuela. The king chose a navy blue suit for the occasion, with a light blue shirt and blue tie with polka dots. The only two flags that accompanied the monarch during his speech were the Spanish and EU flags.

In several shots, other details could also be seen, such as the Bethlehem painting from the Royal Family's private collection, and the photograph of Philip VI, and the rest of the Royal Family, in the ceremony of decorations to civil society that the monarch spoke about during his message.

In addition, two outstanding books appear in the recording: a Spanish Constitution and a historical volume on 'La Insigne Orden del Toisón de Oro', a National Heritage book.


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