King Felipe delivering the traditional Christmas Eve message. | Efe

In his Christmas Eve message, King Felipe avoided any express mention of Catalonia in saying that it was essential to ensure coexistence between the Spanish people. He stressed the deep bonds that unite the people. These bonds were "incompatible with resentment", division and confrontation.

The King said that coexistence demands respect for the Constitution, which protects and guards rights and liberties. Coexistence, he observed, is always fragile, but it is the greatest asset that the Spanish have. "It is the most valuable work of our democracy and the greatest legacy that we can entrust to younger generations. Therefore, we should avoid anything that erodes it. We must defend it, take care of it and protect it."

There is a new reality in the twenty-first century, the King noted. "We must be conscious of this and be capable of arriving at consensuses to guarantee the grand project of modernising Spain."

In honouring the fortieth anniversary of the Constitution, the King remarked that those who brought about the Transition (of Spain after Franco) knew well that something defined in those days was the result of working together and in a united manner. They also knew that for the future of the country there had to be the willingness to understand and to reach agreements.