On Friday, in his traditional Christmas Eve speech, King Felipe VI of Spain once again reaffirmed his commitment to "be an example of public and moral integrity" at a difficult time for the institution he represents.
Although the reigning monarch did not directly mention his father it appeared to reference his father, Juan Carlos I, who left Spain for Abu Dhabi in August 2020, to try to mitigate the damage that his son was suffering from various scandals involving the king emeritus. The expected decision of the Supreme Prosecutor's Office to close the proceedings against Juan Carlos in the coming weeks without opening a criminal case would pave the way for his return to Spain. The Government has left the matter in the hands of Felipe VI, who is going through a painful crossroads but who continues to distance himself from his father.
"We must be in the place that constitutionally corresponds to us; and assume, each one of us, the obligations that we have been entrusted with; respect and comply with the laws and be an example of public and moral integrity," said the King in his 14-minute address from the Palacio de la Zarzuela in Madrid.
He stressed, "we must always bear in mind the interests of the general public, bear in mind their concerns, be permanently at their service and attend to their needs."
It is a responsibility that extends to the political leaders whom he appealed on Christmas Eve to "collaborate" and reach an "understanding" because, he said, they "dignify" and "strengthen" the institutions, and also generate "the trust of the public”. Felipe VI insisted that differences of opinion "should not prevent a consensus that guarantees greater stability, greater well-being in homes and give families the necessary peace of mind about their future."
The monarch focused a good part of his speech on talking about the pandemic, as he did last year, and on conveying a message of encouragement and hope to beat it and consolidate the recovery phase, started with vaccination and European funds. Although he acknowledged that "we have made substantial progress" in the fight against the coronavirus, the head of state warned that we must not lower our guard yet because "the risk has not disappeared."
"We must continue to be careful, protect ourselves and act with the greatest individual and collective responsibility," he warned, before remembering all the victims of Covid-19 and recognising the fundamental role that health personnel have played in the health crisis.
Felipe VI also addressed the social and economic consequences derived from the pandemic and expressed his concern at the increase in the number of people "in a situation of vulnerability", due to the escalation in the price of electricity and the difficulties in finding a stable job, " especially for young people”.
In his speech, the monarch had a special message for the islanders of La Palma. “Our hearts and our thoughts continue to be with you. We feel very close," he said and insisted on the commitment of all Administrations so that the thousands of people affected by the volcano can rebuild, as soon as possible, "your lives, your economy, and rebuild your projects with enthusiasm.”