King Felipe VI of Spain delivered his traditional Christmas Message from La Zarzuela Palace in Madrid, sharing his reflections for the past year, including the situation in Catalonia.
The King’s Christmas message was broadcasted on 24 December 2017 in Spain, except on public broadcaster TV3 in Catalonia.
Video: Mensaje de Navidad de S M el Rey 2017
The King’s Christmas Message 2017
However, an English translation transcript is available for non-Spanish speakers.
I am writing to all of you to congratulate you on Christmas and send you our best wishes for the year 2018 together with the Queen, the Princess of Asturias and the Infanta Sofía.
And I thank you that in this night of meeting of families and loved ones, allow me to accompany you a few minutes to share with you some reflections when we are about to finish the year.
2017 has been in Spain, without doubt, a difficult year for our life together; a year marked, above all, by the situation in Catalonia, to which I will refer later.
But it has also been a year in which we have verified the very meaningful, firm and sincere commitment of the Spaniards to the democratic Spain we have built together.
Because over the last 40 years, we have managed to make a new and modern country a reality, a country among the most advanced in the world: We have definitely established democracy, even overcoming decades ago an attempt to involute our freedoms and rights.
We are an essential part of a European Union with which we share objectives and the same vision of the world.
In the face of terrorism, we have managed to make life, dignity and freedom of people prevail with the strength of our democratic convictions.
And we have carried out, in short, the most profound transformation of our history in many areas of our life: in education and culture, in health and social services, in infrastructures and communications, or in civil defence and security.
In short, throughout all these years of democratic coexistence, the rights and freedoms, progress and modernization of Spain, and also its international projection and relevance, have gone hand in hand.
And all that great change, all that great jump unprecedented in our history, has been possible thanks to an open and supportive Spain, not closed in on itself; a Spain that recognizes and respects our differences, our plurality and our diversity, with an integrating spirit; a Spain inspired by an irrevocable will of concord.
In the way that we have travelled, of course, we must recognize that not everything has been successful; those difficult and complex situations persist that must be corrected, and that requires a commitment from the whole society to overcome them. In spite of all this, the positive balance of all these years is undeniable. We have to appreciate and value it. It is worth it and we deserve it as a country and as a society.
Because the history of Spain that we have built together is the story of a great triumph of all Spaniards. A Spain that we must not renounce, that must excite and motivate us, and that we must continue to build, improve and update it, on the solid basis of democratic principles and the civic values of respect and dialogue that underlie our coexistence.
Some principles and values that, as we have proven even in this year 2017, are deeply rooted in our society, in the daily life of our citizens, and have deep roots in the consciences and feelings of the Spaniards. Much more than we could imagine.
Spain is today a mature democracy, where any citizen can think, defend and contrast, freely and democratically, their opinions and ideas; But do not impose your own ideas against the rights of others.
Respect and preserve the principles and values of our social and democratic State of Law is essential to guarantee a coexistence that ensures “freedom, equality, justice and political pluralism,” as our Constitution points out. Because when these basic principles are broken, coexistence first deteriorates and then becomes unviable.
A few days ago, the citizens of Catalonia voted to elect their representatives in the Parlament, who now have to face the problems that affect all Catalans, respecting plurality and thinking responsibly in the common good of all.
The road can not lead back to confrontation or exclusion, which–as we already know–only generate discord, uncertainty, discouragement and moral, civic and -of course- the economic impoverishment of an entire society.
A path that, on the other hand, should lead to the coexistence in the heart of Catalan society – as diverse and plural as it is – recovers serenity, stability and mutual respect; so that ideas do not distance or separate families and friends. A path that must also lead to a renewed confidence, prestige and the best image of Catalonia; and to affirm the values that have always characterized her in her own personality and have given her the best moments of her history: her capacity for leadership and effort, her creative spirit and vocation for openness, her willingness to compromise, and her sense of responsibility.
But overcoming the problems of coexistence generated by this situation can not make us forget, of course, other serious concerns and challenges of Spanish society, which also condition our future and to which I will refer very briefly
Our economy and employment have improved substantially, but the creation of stable jobs must always be an essential and priority objective. Just as the obligation and responsibility to face inequality and social differences cannot be forgotten, especially after the consequences generated by the recent economic crisis, which has caused so much damage to many families, and has affected the future so much of many young people.
Jihadist terrorism continues to be a global threat and this year we have suffered directly in Barcelona and Cambrils. We Spaniards know very well that only from the democratic unity, the firmness of the Rule of Law, and the effectiveness of international cooperation, we will be able to defeat and defeat it. And so we will do it, always keeping in mind the memory and the permanent respect for its victims.
Corruption also remains one of the main concerns of society, which demands that the necessary measures be taken for its complete eradication and that citizens can fully trust in the proper administration of public money.
On the other hand, we are Europe, and Europe is currently at a historic crossroads. Spain must recover its leading role in a European project that now requires greater vitality and momentum. Europe – and Spain with it – has to face challenges that are global and to which there is no room for weakness or division but the strength of the union.
The defence of the environment and the fight against climate change are not minor or secondary problems because of the size and the risks they entail and which we are already suffering. We must be very aware of this and involve ourselves much more. And Spain must stand firm in its commitments to a problem that affects the entire planet and requires solutions that are not only global but truly urgent.
We have many other concerns – of course – but tonight I do not want to forget about women who, in a silence so often imposed by fear, suffer gender violence. An inadmissible scourge that hurts us in our deepest feelings and shames us and unworthy. Maintain the firmness and political support to help and defend the victims and conscientize the whole society against that violence, criminal and cowardly, which degrades our coexistence.
2018 awaits us in a few days and we must continue to build our country because history does not stop. And we have not come here to fear the future but to create it.
And I am sure that nobody wants a paralyzed or conformist Spain, but modern and attractive, that hopes; a serene Spain, but in movement and ready to evolve and adapt to the new times.
Let us sit down, without complexes, proud of everything we have achieved because it is the merit of all; let’s trust in what has always united us, in what we are, as we are, and above all in what we can achieve together with a firm faith in our convictions and our abilities. If we continue along this path, if we do so, and with all our energies, I am convinced that next year – and those that will come later – will be much better. Definitely.
That is my wish for everyone on this special night.
Thank you very much. Merry Christmas, Eguberri on, Bon Nadal and Boas festas.
Goodnight. And a happy and prosperous year 2018.