King Felipe highlighted Spain’s role in the international arena and called for unity amid strong divisions at home, particularly from Catalan separatism.
Don Felipe, speaking at the United Nations last week, noted the soon to be celebrated 40-year anniversary of the Spanish transition.
The King said the transition “allowed us to pass from a dictatorship to a politics of freedom and human rights, marked by a commitment to historic reconciliation and a spirit of coexistence.”
King Felipe, marking the first address to the General Assembly of his young reign, said Spain had a “profound sense of equality, and rejects fanaticism, violence, intolerance and loves piece.”
Even though the King’s speech as international in nature, it’s hard for observers not to attempt ties to the current controversy in Spain.
The Spanish government either helps write or approves His Majesty’s messages. It’s the same government calling for unity amid separatism, and rejecting the Catalan Government’s planned referendum on statehood or independence.
Noting a version of Pablo Picasso’s famous painting Guernica, which shows the horrors of the Spanish Civil War, which was particularly harsh on Catalonia and is seen as the true beginning on World War II, King Felipe called for “more unity against fanaticism, intolerance and barbarism.”
He called for “more unity to fight poverty, misery and marginalization. More unity for education and health care for all. And more unity to defend with resolve the dignity of all human beings.”
Their Majesties have several more trips planned, including to Catalonia and abroad to countries including Mexico.
King Felipe met with U.S. President Barack Obama in New York City while both leaders were attending the United Nations Climate Summit.
Spanish Royals have worked to strengthen relations with the U.S. and have invited President Obama to Spain numerous times.
King Juan Carlos met with the U.S. President at the White House in 2010 and Fist Lady Michelle Obama has visited the royals at Zarzuela Palace in Madrid and Marivent Palace in Mallorca. But no formal state visit has been planned on either side of the Atlantic.
During his speech at the climate summit today, Don Felipe spoke about the need to tackle climate change and Spain’s efforts at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
He said countries could not afford to wait because a small rise in global temperatures could put human lives and societies at risk.
Yesterday King Felipe, who studied international relations at Georgetown University, met with Fulbright Scholars at the Institute for International Education.
He spoke about U.S. political and historical ties with Spain, and about shared values of freedom and Democracy. Plus, he highlighted economic ties amid the ongoing crisis in Europe.
Don Felipe also met with King Hussein of Jordan to discuss ongoing troubles in the Middle East.
He and Queen Letizia atogether met with Spaniards working at the U.N. and Spanish scientists working in the U.S.
Queen Letizia took some time yesterday to visit the Dos Puentes School in Harlem to promote bilingual education.
Queen Letizia also met with the heads of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization.
Tomorrow King Felipe will deliver remarks at the opening of the new session of the U.N. General Assembly.