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Philip VI's call for national unity heard loud and clear by Basques & Catalans

The King of Spain’s Christmas speech’s strong appeals to beware of nationalist sentiment led to its leaders being quick off the mark to comment. The

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Philip VI's call for national unity heard loud and clear by Basques & Catalans

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The King of Spain’s Christmas speech’s strong appeals to beware of nationalist sentiment led to its leaders being quick off the mark to comment.

Point of view

We feel that the message of the king was kind of a threat

The fact that the kings’ call for unity was given far more time than subjects that opinion polls suggest are higher priorities, like corruption and poverty, was lost as nationalists made Christmas appeals of their own before the Spanish sat down to eat Christmas lunch.

Indigestion for Artur Mas, the acting Catalan regional president.

“The Head of State presents in a indirect way the Catalan issue as an imposition of some people on others. We are 16 percent of the population. There is no unanimous position about the independence or the construction of a new state, but what does really exist is a will to build a better future.”

It was the same story for the Basques.

“We think that the speech would have been better taken as an opportunity rather than a act of defiance. We feel that the message of the king was kind of a threat calling for a sort of protection or institutional response to face the independence movements,” said the Basque Nationalist Party’s Aitor Esteban.

Last week’s inconclusive general election has filled Spain’s regional nationalist’s sails, and given them political value in coalition building. Philip will have to hold talks with some of them in January as he seeks a rallying figure for prime minister to form a new government.