King Felipe VI used his traditional Christmas Eve broadcast to send out a conciliatory message to Spain at the end of a year dominated by secessionist threats in Catalonia.
The king called on the nation to live together in harmony, to talk and to respect the laws and diversity of the country.
Referring to the Catalan political crisis, he urged both sides to avoid any further unilateral actions that would only lead, he said, to “exclusion and confrontation”.
The king's message was eagerly awaited, as the last time he appeared in a televised address was in October to directly criticise the Catalan secessionists. This time his speech was more conciliatory, stating that ideas shouldn't “separate or distance families or friends”.
He went on to say that he hoped Catalonia would soon recover its position as a leader of the Spanish economy and that the events of the last year had served to demonstrate “the strong commitment of the Spanish people to the democratic Spain that we've all built together”.
Speaking from the Salón de Audencias at the Zarzuela palace, the king recalled the successes over the last 40 years, including the end of ETA terrorism and the entry into the European Union, urging Spaniards to not stay still and to be “disposed to evolve” and “ to inspire”.