King Felipe arrived at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, yesterday and already made news.
In remarks, the King promoted a global Spain committed to innovation. He also touched on the Catalan crisis.
I don’t wish to conclude this part of my speech without addressing the recent crisis in a truly fundamental part of our country’s soul and diverse identity: Catalonia; where we have seen an attempt to undermine the basic rules of our democratic system.”
A lesson to be learned from this crisis — a lesson not only for Spain, but for democracies in general — is the need to preserve the rule of law as a cornerstone precisely of democracy, and to respect political pluralism and the basic principle of national sovereignty that -in fact- belongs to all citizens. Political disagreements and disputes must be resolved in accordance with the democratic rules and values laid down in our Constitution and legal framework.
Spain’s Constitution, as you can all well understand, is no mere ornament. It is, rather, the very expression of the will of our citizens and the key pillar of our democratic coexistence. As such, it deserves the utmost respect from each and every one of us. My country is a law-abiding State where legal certainty prevails and therefore the Constitution and the laws are effectively enforced.
-King Felipe VI
The King also met with corporate and world leaders, including Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, and Spaniards participating at the conference.
U.S. President Trump is also due in Davos this week. But King Felipe has a public event back home tomorrow. It doesn’t seem the two will meet.
The Spanish Royal Family will retake its agenda over the weekend with the annual Pascua Militar ceremonies at the Royal Palace in Madrid.
Last month, King Felipe closed the year by taking on — once again — the separatist threat in Catalonia during his Christmas Eve address.
After elections there before Christmas, in which pro-independence parties lost the majority of votes but won the most seats, the King warned against efforts to break away.
“The path cannot take us again to confrontation or exclusion that, as we know, only generate discord, uncertainty and poverty — moral, civic and of course economic — for an entire society,” said the King.
Catalan nationalists accused the King of not softening his tone from an earlier speech on the crisis and for siding with the conservative ruling party.
Mainstream commentators, however, noted that conservatives were not happy with the King’s remarks either because it appeared to accuse them of not seeking a negotiated settlement.
The King also encouraged Spaniards to be confident in their Democracy and — while addressing corruption and the economy — to be more proud of their achievements.
The Royal Household released the Christmas cards below last month. The King and Queen and their daughters featured a family picture.
King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia’s card featured, as is tradition, an image of Spanish art.
The Pascua Militar, which coincides with the Christian celebration of Epiphany, is one of the year’s most important military-related events.