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King’s Christmas speech condemns violence against women and calls for support for struggling young adults
KING Felipe called for 'resentment and grudges' to be kept out of society, expressed his 'revulsion and condemnation' of violence against women and empathised with young adults and the 'problems' they had with finding job paying 'fair salaries' and a 'suitable place to live' in his Christmas Eve speech.
Once again, the monarch urged political and social leaders to 'protect' civil harmony and 'demand respect for the Constitution', in a clear allusion to Catalunya's pro-independence brigade.
"Harmonious coexistence - which is always fragile, let's not forget that - is the greatest heritage we have; we must avoid its deteriorating or becoming eroded; we must defend it, care for it, protect it, with responsibility and conviction," Felipe VI stressed through the nation's TV screens as they tucked into their traditional Christmas Eve family meal.
The King never mentioned Catalunya by name, but just as in the previous two festive speeches, he urged leaders to ensure 'unity' and to uphold the rule of law.
Beside him in his audience room at the Zarzuela Palace was a large photo of his daughter, Princess Leonor, on the day of her first-ever Royal engagement - at the Cervantes Institute of language and culture, when she read out Article 1 of the Constitution in tribute to its 40th anniversary.
In wishing the people of Spain a happy Christmas, King Felipe made special mention of 'those living through difficult times' due to 'personal, financial or social' circumstances, as well as the victims of 'violence against women'.
The latter is one of the greatest 'concerns' of the past few years, along with 'social and territorial cohesion', 'the economy, unemployment and education', plus 'corruption' and 'terrorism', the monarch said.
Violence against women is 'such a tragically topical subject' which 'always deserves our revulsion and strongest condemnation' as well as 'the efforts of all of society to eradicate it from our lives', King Felipe announced.
As well as all the other female victims in 2018, Felipe VI would have been referring in particular to high school teacher Laura Luelmo, 26, who was recently kidnapped, raped and murdered by an 'ogling neighbour' who had made her feel 'uncomfortable' since she moved to El Campillo (Huelva province) to take up her new job.
Additionally, the monarch stressed his concern for young people and the need to help them 'build a life for themselves' which included 'a suitable job with a fair salary', plus 'access to a home of their own' and, 'if they wish', the chance to 'form a family' and to be able to balance this with their working lives.
Naturally, the King made mention of the 40th anniversary of the Spanish Constitution this year on December 6, stating that the ideals which 'made the Transition to democracy so successful' were those of 'reconciliation and concordance, dialogue and understanding, integration and solidarity'.
"It was the will of the people of Spain to understand themselves and each other, and the will of our political, economic and social leaders to reach agreements, despite being very distanced by their ideas and feelings, that made the Transition a success," Felipe VI considers.
"What we need to do today is everything in our power so that these principles are neither lost nor forgotten, so that the rules which are there to protect everyone are respected by everyone.
"Let's ensure our harmonious coexistence at every moment, based upon consideration for people, ideas and everyone's rights; attitudes that are incompatible with grudges and resentment - with those which form part of the worst chapters in our history and which we must never allow to return.
"An harmonious coexistence which, at the end of the day, demands compliance with our Constitution.
"All projects need solid foundations, and today's Spain has these, because they are made of a determined desire for concordance, peace and mutual understanding."
Felipe VI addressed the younger generations specifically - those who 'were not witnesses to the Transition' and for whom, today, 'we need to do everything in our power' to prevent the values of the birth of democracy in Spain from becoming 'lost or forgotten'.
"As a society, we still owe a debt to our young people - we're responsible for their future, and today's circumstances are not the easiest - far from it," admitted the King.
"You have talent, you believe in peace, you're open to the world because you are and you feel European and charitable; but you have serious problems," the monarch said directly to Spain's young and soon-to-be adults.
"It's very difficult to find work without suitable training; and once you have this training, you're often forced to take up jobs that fall far short of what you have studied and prepared for and which do not meet your expectations. We need to help you so you can build a personal project for your lives, with decent jobs and salaries, a decent place to live and, if it's what you want, to be able to create a family of your own and to be able to balance this with your working lives.
"We all have a duty to keep building a better country every day - a more creative, more dynamic and always cutting-edge country; a more socially-united Spain which is more committed than ever to true equality between men and women."
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