The traditional televised speech on Christmas Eve that King Felipe VI does every year was highly anticipated this time due to the situation in Spain.
The attack by Pedro Sánchez's government on the rule of law a few days before Christmas has generated great tension in Spain and has shown us the risk that our democracy result in an authoritarian regime like that of Venezuela. In his speech, H.M. the King has warned of three risks facing democracy in Spain: "division is one of them. The deterioration of coexistence is another; the erosion of institutions is the third." This mention of the erosion of institutions comes at the height of the government's coup against the rule of law. A mention that is not accidental.
Felipe VI also recalled that the obligation of these institutions is "that they respond to the general interest and exercise their functions with loyal collaboration, with respect for the Constitution and the laws, and be an example of integrity and rectitude. And this is a daily purpose with which the Institutions must always be committed". H.M. the King added: "I believe that, at this time, we should all exercise responsibility and reflect constructively on the consequences that ignoring these risks may have for our union, for our coexistence and our institutions."
The King of Spain has also firmly defended the Constitution, just when the government and its parliamentary partners are dedicated to trampling it: "Almost 45 years have passed since the approval of the Constitution and of course Many things have changed, and will continue to change. But the spirit that gave birth to it, its principles and its foundations, which are the work of all, cannot be weakened nor should they be forgotten. They are a unique value in our constitutional and political history that we must protect, because they are the place where we Spaniards recognize and accept each other, despite our differences; the place where we have lived together and where we live together in freedom."
The Head of State also had words in defense of Spain and its unity: "We are one of the great nations of the world, with many centuries of history, and we Spaniards have to continue deciding all together our destiny."
Philip VI also had words of support for the Ukrainian people in the face of the Russian invasion: "To the Ukrainian refugees in our country and to all their compatriots we send, especially today, our memory and affection Thus, we are facing a new war in Europe, on the borders of some of our European partners and allies, and therefore close to us, and which not only affects Ukraine, but has global significance."
You can listen here to the speech of H.M. the King (does not have subtitles):
And here you can see the English translation of the transcription of speech published by the Royal Household:
I am very happy to be in your homes and continue to comply with this tradition of transmitting my best wishes, especially for peace, on this Christmas Eve; and also to share with you some reflections on the most relevant events of the year that is now ending.
2022 has been −it is still being− complicated and difficult. As the last few years have not been easy at all. Just when we thought we were past the worst of the pandemic - certainly the best news - in February Russia invaded Ukraine and, since then, we have witnessed 10 months of war that has already caused a difficult level of destruction and ruin. to imagine in our daily reality. We have lived through the suffering of the Ukrainian people and continue to feel, with deep sadness, the loss of thousands of human lives.
To the Ukrainian refugees in our country and to all their compatriots we send, especially today, our memory and affection.
Thus, we are facing a new war in Europe, on the borders of some of our European partners and allies, and therefore close to us; and that not only affects Ukraine, but also has global significance.
Therefore, our security has also been affected. Spain, in addition to strengthening our collective defense capacity with our allies, has joined the vast majority of the international community in supporting Ukraine; and to reaffirm its commitment that the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of States are inalienable principles of an International Order based on rules and that it must always seek peace.
In this sense, the NATO summit that was held in Spain, in Madrid, served to reinforce the unity of all the members of the Alliance, and also of the European Union.
This war, together with the effects of the pandemic, is also having, as is evident, a profound impact on the economy; It has caused an energy crisis with serious consequences for industry, commerce, transport and particularly for family economies.
The rise in prices, especially food, causes insecurity in homes. Having to deal with daily tasks, such as turning on the heating or the light or filling the gasoline tank, ends up being a source of of concern and implies –in many cases– important personal and family sacrifices. Because, in fact, there are families that cannot face this situation for a long time and need the continuous support of the public authorities to alleviate its economic and social effects.
The whole new scenario we are living through –war, the economic and social situation, instability and tensions in international relations– is logically causing great concern and uncertainty in our society. We cannot ignore the seriousness of these problems, but we cannot ignore the fact that things can change and improve.
First of all –and once again–, we must have confidence in ourselves, as a Nation. The transformation and modernization of Spain in the last 4 decades, thanks to the success of our transition to democracy and the approval of our Constitution, guarantees this confidence. Just as it is also justified by overcoming other economic, social or institutional crises that we have experienced; the most recent, that of Covid. We are a country that, as now, has always known how to respond – not without difficulties or sacrifices – to all adversities, which have not been few throughout these years.
In addition to believing in ourselves, in our ability,we need –always, but even more so in difficult times– everyone's greatest commitment to our democracy and to Europe, to the European Union, which are the two vertebral columns on which our present and our future are based.
Democracies around the world are exposed to many risks that are not new; but when they suffer them today, they acquire a particular intensity. And Spain is no exception. But there are three that I want to focus on because they seem very important to me: division is one of them. The deterioration of coexistence is another; the erosion of institutions is the third.
A country or a society divided or in conflict does not advance, it does not progress or solve its problems well, it does not generate trust. Division makes democracies more fragile; the union, quite the opposite, strengthens them.
In Spain we know this from our own experience. Our Constitution, the result of dialogue and understanding, represents the union achieved among Spaniards, as a commitment to the future, diversity and harmony, for a young democracy. Today, after all these years, our constitutional values are rooted in our society; and for this reason they are the reference where we Spaniards must continue to find the union that ensures stability, cohesion and progress. And that guarantees us a coexistence that, as I have often emphasized, is our greatest heritage.
A coexistence that requires in our collective life the full recognition of our freedoms, along with respect and consideration for people, their convictions, and their dignity. That you need to be guided by reason; which demands putting the will to integrate before the desire to exclude.
In this task,we need to strengthen our Institutions. Solid Institutions that protect citizens, attend to their concerns, guarantee their rights, and support families and young people in overcoming many of their daily problems. Institutions that respond to the general interest and exercise their functions with loyal collaboration, with respect for the Constitution and the laws, and are an example of integrity and rectitude. And this is a daily purpose to which the Institutions must always be committed.
I believe that, at this time, we should all exercise responsibility and reflect constructively on the consequences that ignoring these risks may have for our union, for our coexistence and our institutions.
We cannot take everything we have built for granted. Almost 45 years have passed since the approval of the Constitution and of course many things have changed, and will continue to change. But the spirit that gave birth to it, its principles and foundations, which are the work of all, cannot be weakened or forgotten. They are a unique value in our constitutional and political history that we must protect, because they are the place where we Spaniards recognize each other and where we accept each other, despite our differences; the place where we have lived together and where we live together in freedom.
Europe is the second commitment to which I referred earlier. Europe represented and still represents freedom for Spain. He contributed to consolidating our democracy, boosting our economic growth and our social development.
Today, we share many of their problems and contribute to their decisions with our own personality and interests. The common challenges we face, from healthcare to financial or those related to our energy model or environment receive integrated solutions within the common framework of the European Union. For this reason, what is decided every day in the Union affects –and a lot– the daily life of all Spaniards. That is the reality.
We are Europe, but we also need Europe, which is our great political, economic and social frame of reference and, therefore, offers us certainty and security. I am sure that Spain's commitment will be reinforced with the rotating Presidency of the Union that it will assume next year.
I said at the beginning that we live in times, without a doubt, of uncertainty. But if the success of a nation depends on the character of its citizens, and on the personality and spirit that moves its society, we must have reasons to look to the future with hope.
We are one of the great nations of the world, with many centuries of history, and we Spaniards have to continue deciding our destiny together, our future. Taking care of our democracy; protecting coexistence; strengthening our institutions.
We must continue to share objectives with a permanent spirit of renewal and adaptation to the times. With confidence in our country, in a Spain that I know well, brave and open to the world: the Spain that seeks serenity, peace, tranquility; responsible, creative, vital and supportive Spain. That Spain is the one I see, the one I hear, the one I feel in many of you; and the one that, once again, will come out ahead. It is in the hands of all of us.
And finally, on this very special night, I thank you very much for your attention and together with the Queen and our daughters Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofía, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and New Year.
Eguberri On, Bon Nadal, Boas Festas".
Photo: Casa Real.
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