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We must understand and take on board the new transformations, said King Felipe VI to the Spaniards

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Below full Christmas message from King Felipe VI of Spain to the Spanish society:

Original message in Spanish

Good evening, I would like to dedicate my first words this Christmas Eve to those of you who live on the island of La Palma and have been going through such a painful and difficult situation for the last three months. The volcano has left many of you homeless, without a livelihood and has filled us all with sadness.

Today our hearts and our thoughts are with you. We feel very close to you and you know that you have our solidarity and that you can count on the work and commitment of all the Administrations so that you can rebuild your lives and your economy as soon as possible and thus rebuild your projects with hope.

Last year, in my Christmas message, I shared with you the need to make a great collective effort to enable us to overcome COVID-19, with hope in science and especially in vaccines.

One year on – and with all due caution – the situation is different. We have made substantial progress in the fight against the pandemic thanks to the discovery and authorisation of vaccines, to the large number of Spaniards who have been vaccinated and to the vaccination process itself in our country, which we can be particularly satisfied with.

Even so, we are seeing that the virus still has the capacity to harm us, in many ways. It is transmitted again very quickly and, therefore, the risk has not disappeared. On the contrary. So we must continue to be careful, to protect ourselves and to act with the utmost individual and collective responsibility. We must all do our utmost not to take steps backwards in this health crisis that has caused so much suffering; and whose victims we remember, especially at this time of year. And again to the health workers – at this time – we thank them immensely, with all our support and encouragement.

In this past year, too, many citizens continue to suffer the social, economic and also emotional consequences of the pandemic. On the one hand, our economy has returned to growth and the vast majority of jobs that had been temporarily suspended have been recovered, and the number of people in employment is growing at a very positive rate. But on the other hand, the number of people in vulnerable situations has increased, and there is now concern in many households about rising prices, the cost of energy and the difficulties in finding stable employment, especially for young people.

And alongside all this, it is true that in the world it is a fact that countries are increasingly dependent on each other; and that global solutions are needed for many of the challenges we share, such as health, which requires more effective and strengthened international collaboration.

Also, new technologies are changing the traditional modes of business production and thus influencing the very concept of work as we have always known it; science is advancing, and for the better, but it is changing many aspects of our personal and community lives. At the same time, we see how our convictions, our values and our principles of social organisation and living together in freedom are sometimes put to the test.

These are just a few examples of the challenges that lie ahead of us and which illustrate the complicated times we are living in; times that oblige us to remain very alert in a scenario that is undoubtedly full of uncertainties and contrasts.

Faced with this situation, what should we do, should we give in to pessimism, should we give in to conformism, hoping that the problems will solve themselves? I don’t think so.

On the contrary, I believe that we must react: We must understand and take on board the new transformations that – in such an accelerated manner – we are experiencing, take the initiative and try to be ahead of events; and we must also adapt quickly to the changes, always being clear about our major objectives and priorities as a country. Because it is also a time of new projects, new ideas and opportunities; of initiatives full of ambition to improve and progress.

We all want a society that is economically and socially advanced, with stable and dignified employment, and with a solid Welfare State; we want a society that continues to promote equality between men and women, that favours individual and social progress; and we aspire – of course – to be at the forefront of technology and innovation, at the forefront of the fight against climate change and fully committed to the sustainability of our planet and its environmental balance.

I sincerely believe that the challenges ahead of us represent for Spain, as for many other nations, a real crossroads; but they are undoubtedly an historic opportunity, even a requirement to catch up, to update and modernise our country, while remaining firm in our democratic principles and in the values that inspire our coexistence. Because at stake in what we do or decide from now on is whether we can continue to progress alongside the most advanced nations or whether we lose our way.

And in this great task, we, the institutions, have the greatest responsibility. We must always keep the general interest in mind and think of the citizens, their concerns, their worries, be permanently at their service and attend to their problems. We must be in the place that constitutionally corresponds to us; each one of us must assume the obligations entrusted to us; we must respect and comply with the laws and set an example of public and moral integrity.

For all this, understanding and collaboration are necessary attitudes that dignify institutions; moreover, they strengthen them, because they generate the trust of citizens. And differences of opinion should not prevent consensus that guarantees greater stability, greater well-being in homes and gives families the necessary peace of mind about their future.

But society also undoubtedly has an essential role to play in these times of change. The circumstances, many of them far from easy, that we have had to live through, especially over the last 40 years, have forged us into a strong and responsible society; and one of great solidarity, as we have seen since the beginning of this pandemic. It is our civic values, together with the talent, vitality and energy we have in industry, services or the countryside, that must be very much at the heart of building our future.

If we know where we want to go, we must also be aware of where we have come from:

The profound change in Spain in these more than four decades of democracy and freedom has been extraordinary, and has not been the result of chance. It has been based on the effort and sacrifice of many people, of millions of Spaniards. And it has been due to many reasons: a sense of history, great agreements, generosity, responsibility and a vision of the future.

This great project of transformation is symbolised and represented by our Constitution, with which we are fully integrated into modern Western democracies and whose spirit calls us to unity in the face of division, to dialogue and not confrontation, to respect in the face of rancour, to a spirit of integration in the face of exclusion; it permanently calls us to civic coexistence, serene and in freedom.

The Constitution has been and continues to be the main beam that has favoured our progress, that has sustained our democratic coexistence in the face of the serious and grave crises of different natures that we have experienced, and it therefore deserves respect, recognition and loyalty.

And our future as a country goes hand in hand with the European Union; this is how the majority of Spaniards understand it. Europe was an aspiration and an objective, and today it is a great political, economic, social and cultural reality, in which we share with our European national partners the same democratic values that offer us an institutional framework of stability, security and confidence. And also of new opportunities.

We have seen how the fight against the pandemic, with all its complexity, has strengthened the Union itself, which has taken on very important commitments – unprecedented – in health, the economy and employment. And now the Union is opening up to the opportunity to invest European funds in the modernisation of our country and our companies, in an economy that is necessarily increasingly digital, greener and more inclusive. This is a unique opportunity that we cannot afford to miss.

The time is difficult, of course, but to stop today is to fall behind; it is to go backwards. We must move forward because history teaches us that we Spaniards have known how to react and overcome adversity. Now a future is opening up before us that demands responsibility from all of us, a willingness to collaborate and to understand each other; and it needs -that future- that we trust more in our own strengths as a Nation. And I have no doubt of our commitment, of our capacity; and that, with determination, drive and character, we will succeed.
I will not go on any longer, but let us remember that tonight there are also many people watching over our health, our security and peace of mind, and guaranteeing public services… All of them deserve our recognition and our special attention at this time of year.

Thank you for your attention; and with the peace and joy that this night represents, together with the Queen and our daughters Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofia, I wish you all a very happy Christmas and New Year.

Eguberri On, Bon Nadal, Boas Festas.

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