Financial Times: The king’s speech

The king of Spain’s call for national unity to overcome the country’s deep crisis is an event. The last time King Juan Carlos intervened this overtly in Spanish politics was to confound the attempted coup of February 1981 against the young democracy emerging from the Franco dictatorship. The current eurozone and Spanish fiscal crises, a contracting economy with record unemployed, and the looming constitutional crunch over Catalan separatism, together amount to a national emergency at least as serious.

Yet it is the government’s job to seek compromises with the Catalans and Basques. Mr Rajoy today meets Artur Mas, the head of Catalonia’s autonomous government. Unless he can make a plausible gesture towards Catalan demands, separatism will become unstoppable, whatever the king says.

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