ROYAL MESSAGE

King Juan Carlos: “This is no time to be chasing rainbows”

Monarch’s words come one week after massive Barcelona march boosted push for Catalan independence

Spain's King Juan Carlos takes part in a ceremony at the Supreme Court in Madrid on Tuesday. / ÁNGEL DÍAZ (EFE)

In a clear and blunt message aimed at Catalonia’s pro-independence supporters, King Juan Carlos on Tuesday asked all Spaniards to remain united in the same spirit as that of the Transition as the country tries to tackle the current political, economic and social crises.

“We are at a decisive moment for Europe and Spain that can either save or ruin the welfare which has cost us so much to accomplish,” the monarch said in an open letter posted on the Royal Family’s newly designed website, which was launched last week.

“In these circumstances, the worst thing we can do is to divide forces, encourage dissent, chase rainbows and deepen wounds. These are not good times to dissect meanings or to debate whether there are dogs or hounds who threaten our model of coexistence.” Last week 600,000 people marched in Barcelona in support of independence for the region. Catalan premier Artur Mas spoke of the need to supply the region with “the structures of a state.”

The worst thing we can do is to divide forces, encourage dissent and deepen wounds"

King Juan Carlos, who on Tuesday appeared with judges and magistrates for the opening ceremony for the new judicial term, was asked by reporters what he thought of last Tuesday’s massive turnout in support of Catalonia’s independence. The monarch did not want to comment but told journalists that in a few hours there would be a message posted on the Royal Household’s website.

Catalan regional spokesman Francesc Homs said that his government doesn’t feel “intimidated” by the king’s reflections, but said that the Catalonia “will not give up its status as a nation” or “its right to decide” whether to separate from the rest of Spain.

“We are in total agreement that there isn’t any need to ‘chase rainbows’ -- this is far from what Catalonia is doing,” Homs said.

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