In his Christmas address to the nation Felipe VI touched upon the subject of Catalonia's quest for independence. He emphasized the necessity of understanding and respecting differences between the nations living in Spain, as well as upholding the country's constitution, which is a guarantee of free and peaceful coexistence.
"There is a problem between Catalonia and the Spanish government, not so much between Catalonia and Spain. The acknowledgment of this problem is the first condition needed to try to solve it, which means giving Catalonia with the respect it deserves," Mas was quoted as saying by the El Pais newspaper.
"No one should be forced to live in a way the way they don't want to. The day when it is understood and when Catalonia's right for a free and democratic choice is respected will be the day when the nations will have respect for each other, which they need. This day has not yet come," the Catalan leader said.
On November 9, Catalonia held an independence vote, which resulted in more than 80 percent of voters speaking in favor of the region's full independence. More than 2.3 million people out of 5.4 million eligible voters cast their vote in the poll.
The Spanish government dismissed the vote as unconstitutional, filing complaints with the country's Constitutional Court.