KING Juan Carlos called for a commitment to fight against poverty and social exclusion in his annual Christmas speech to the Nation on Saturday. “We cannot tolerate immigration being synonymous with death, exploitation or discrimination,” he said, adding that Spanish society was obliged to this commitment to fight poverty because it is a society “of solidarity and progress.” The King expressed his concern for the drama of illegal immigration, saying that “we cannot tolerate the traffic in human beings prospering.” He also expressed his concern at the number of people in Spain who are living beneath the threshold of poverty.
Spanish society, he said, should remain “vigilant, to correct inequalities, extend job opportunities, extend health coverage and social protection, help the disabled and make access to housing easier.” The King opened his speech with a message of condolences to the families of those who have died defending their country.
He then went on to say that the last decades of Spanish history had no precedents in terms of peace, progress and liberty, but it had not been easy to reach this point. “It is the fruit of the sacrifices of all Spaniards, who have overcome rancour and divisions, looked to the future and worked day by day to make Spain the modern, fair country of which we can feel proud.” Commenting on the difficulties the country faces, he said “we must have recourse to responsible and sincere dialogue, with respect for the framework of our Constitution, using democratic channels, favouring always that which unites us, never what can separate us, promoting the harmony, consensus and mutual respect which have formed our stability and progress.” Terrorism was another of the key notes of the King's message. “Putting an end to terrorism continues to be a priority, he said, adding that the instigators “have not ceased in their objectives, threats and extortions. Their profound cruelty is present in the scars of so many families of victims, whose pain we can never compensate.” It was necessary to increase efforts to put an end to terrorism, he said.
The King also directed part of his message towards the young. “We need you,” he said, calling on them to study and also calling for improvements to the education system. The King ended his speech with his best wishes for “peace, happiness and prosperity.”


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