King Juan Carlos called for unity and confidence during his Christmas Eve message, an annual tradition that allows the Monarch to speak at length about ongoing problems.
This year’s speech from his office at Zarzuela Palace was notable because it comes amid a secessionist push in Catalonia, ongoing Basque nationalism and a troubled economy.
It’s also the first year the King’s Christmas message is broadcast on YouTube and available in the different languages under the Spanish Crown.
The King said these were “among the toughest moments in recent Spanish history.” Speaking about the economy and politics, he said, “We cannot ignore than pessimism exists.”
Amid ongoing concerns about layoffs and spending cuts, the King said, “Austerity and growth must be compatible.”
Recalling the many tough times lived by Spaniards in the past, he added, “The first stimulus that will get us out of this crisis is confidence.”
His Majesty, treading carefully around the secession issue, he called on politicians to seek policies that unite rather than divide.
Amid concerns about the viability of the Spanish state as it currently stands, King Juan Carlos called Spain a “great nation” that must be part of global solution to economic and social concerns.
The King recognized the plurality of languages, cultures and traditions that have coexisted within Spain for centuries.
“Its necessary to promote values like mutual respect and reciprocal loyalty,” he said, hoping that politicians “do what’s possible to close open wounds.”
Catalonian Republicans and separatists said they wanted more unity, but within Europe and not the Spanish state.
Some who support a unified Spain said the King was not forceful enough in discouraging regional nationalism.
In a recent open letter addressing Catalonian separatism, King Juan Carlos said it was not the time to pursue chimeras.