King Felipe VI has spoken very directly to the Spanish people about the institutional crisis into which the country has plunged in recent weeks. In his traditional Christmas Eve speech, the head of state warned of democratic "risks", of "division" and "fragility". "The democracies in the world are exposed to many risks that are not new, and Spain is no exception", he said. In addition to saying that "the erosion of the institutions" is one of these risks, he stated that "division makes democracies more fragile".
"We need to strengthen our institutions", the Spanish monarch reiterated in a message filmed in the Chamber of Audiences, at the Zarzuela palace, in Madrid. In a charged political context, in which the major political parties, the PSOE and the PP, are unable to reach agreement due to the latter's constant refusal to renew the membership of the judiciary's governing body, the General Council of the Judiciary, the Spanish king also demanded that the institutions ensure that they "respond to the general interest ” and exercise their functions with “respect to the Constitution and the laws”. In a similar vein, he asked for "reflection" on the "consequences that ignoring these risks" could have on social coexistence between citizens.
Felipe VI also dealt with issues beyond the Constitutional Court's challenge to the Spanish government and the blocking by the Judicial Council conservatives of the renewal of the Spanish court of guarantees. Among these other subjects, he mentioned inflation. "The increases in prices, especially of food, cause insecurity in homes", he acknowledged; and he added that "everyday gestures" such as turning on the heating or lights, or filling the petrol tank, end up being a "source of worry". "It means personal and family sacrifices", the head of the Spanish state summed up.
The monarch linked the current "energy crisis" with the war in Ukraine. In fact, his speech began by admitting that 2022 has been a "complicated and difficult" year, especially because of the invasion carried out by the Russians. "It has caused a level of destruction and ruin that is difficult to imagine in our daily reality", he added, in addition to conveying a message of empathy towards the Ukrainian refugees in Spain.
His discussion of the war in Ukraine also prompted the Spanish head of state to take a stand in defence of NATO. "Our security has also been affected", he said, in addition to emphasizing that the meeting of the Atlantic alliance in Madrid served to "reinforce the unity of all its members, and also of the European Union". However, Felipe VI assured that "the best news" of 2022 has been to have overcome the worst of the coronavirus pandemic. But, as he stated with regret, as the pandemic almost reached its end, war came to Europe.