“In the globalised world of the 21st century, Europe must remain the standard-bearer for freedom and integration. If we stay true to these values, Europe as a civilisation zone will continue to be a source of inspiration for other regions throughout the planet. However, if we give up these values, we will also be giving up ourselves, what we are, what defines us and all the good we can offer the world”, His Majesty the King of Spain said today in an address to the Assembly.
“I wish to reiterate Spain’s confidence in, and faithfulness to, the European project. In spite of the uncertainties and fears, Europe remains an inspiring project; and its ability to adapt to change without abandoning its principles provides a guarantee for a better future in a constantly changing world,” he added.
In his view, given the challenges facing us, “the policy decisions taken must be founded in the values and principles on which democratic systems are based. We must stay united and reassert rights, freedoms and the rule of law as absolutely vital elements of political Europe”.
Felipe VI stressed that in its recent history, Spain had overcome serious problems, some examples of which could serve as models on a global level.
“Terrorism struck at our country for over four decades in an attempt to impose its totalitarian aspirations on Spaniards’ peaceful coexistence. However, the integrity and resoluteness of Spanish society combined with the strength and robustness of the rule of law won the day and defeated it,” he said.
He went on to say that Europe “is faced with the responsibility of tackling major movements of population, refugees and migrants fleeing from war, terrorism and extreme poverty. We have a moral obligation to welcome them within the limit of our abilities so that they can live in dignity”.
“Spain wants to continue working for a prosperous and integrated Europe. We are a pluralist country in which the constitution guarantees the rights and freedoms of all citizens, regardless of where they live, while protecting the various cultures and traditions, languages and institutions of the nationalities and regions which make up the Spanish nation,” the King said. “Spain is committed to a fairer Europe that tackles inequalities and a Europe that is more cohesive and more integrated, within the institutions of both the European Union and the Council of Europe,” he added.
In conclusion, with regard to this year’s commemoration of Spain’s four decades of membership of the organisation, Felipe VI said he hoped that “when the next 40 years are celebrated, our greatest success will be for the world to look us in the eyes and acknowledge that, in spite of all the challenges that faced us, we had led the way. And that together we had succeeded in building an area and an era that were worth living in”.