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Spanish king Felipe VI has this Wednesday told the World Economic Forum, held in the Swiss city of Davos, that the Spanish Constitution "is not a mere ornament", but an expression of the wishes of the Spanish people, and, as such, the "pillar" of their "democratic coexistence". For this reason, he said it "merits maximum respect" from everyone.

In his first speech to the forum which brings together the international political and economic elite, the head of state didn't shy away from discussing the "recent crisis" in Catalonia, which he described as an "attempt to undermine the basic rules" of Spain's democratic system. Moreover, he took the opportunity to say that Catalonia is "truly a fundamental part of Spain's soul" and its "diverse identity".

The king said that the crisis has an important lesson not just for Spain, but for all democracies, namely "the need to preserve the rule of law as a capstone of democracy and to respect political pluralism and the basic principle of national sovereignty which, in fact, belongs to all its citizens". He emphasised that political disagreements and disputes "have to be solved following the democratic laws" and the values established in the Constitution.

Legal security

Spain, Felipe VI emphasised, is a country which follows the law, where "legal security prevails and so the Constitution and the laws are effectively applied". The head of state noted that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Spanish Constitution, which he considers to be a "perfect opportunity" to defend the "lasting importance of the spirit of understanding and solidarity" which allows Spain to "embark on a path of peace, freedom and prosperity" as never before in its history.

The king started his speech making it clear that his aim was to end any doubts about the fact that Spain is "a great country" and emphasised its economic recovery after the recession which had "painful consequences" for the Spanish people.

"Spain now has a very competitive economy and represents an excellent investment opportunity", he said. "Despite being a cause of worry for the EU just a few years ago, today Spain is leading in growth and making a positive contribution to the consolidation and strengthening of the EU."