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  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 12:46am
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SPAIN

Spanish King Juan Carlos expresses 'energy and hope' in times of crisis

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 January, 2013, 3:40am

Spain's King Juan Carlos said he had "energy and hope" to continue ruling in his first public interview in more than a decade, after a year blighted by scandals.

"I am on good form, with energy and above all hope to move forward and face the challenges we have ahead, seeking the maximum consensus between Spaniards to be able to face them," he said in the pre-recorded interview to mark his 75th birthday yesterday.

The interview - the king's first public one in 12 years - was seen as a bid to repair the monarchy's image, damaged last year by scandals over his elephant-hunting in Africa and a corruption probe implicating his son-in-law.

In the Friday broadcast on national television channel TVE, he reiterated his call for Spaniards to unite in order to pull through the economic crisis that has thrown millions out of work and into poverty. "Millions of families cannot live with dignity, and this is making young people have to leave Spain to seek work, to seek what they can. This pains me very much," he said.

"I see that Spain has serious problems with the economic crisis, but above all I see a will to move forward despite all that is happening."

He made a tacit swipe at a drive by the Catalonia region to break away from Spain, a by-product of the crisis that has increased tensions, which he branded "breakaway politics".

Juan Carlos had recently appeared hobbling around on crutches after having both hips replaced, but sympathy for his health was overshadowed by two scandals.

The first was a corruption case against his son-in-law Inaki Urdangarin, the duke of Palma, who went before a judge in February. The second was an expensive game-hunting trip the king himself made to Botswana, seen as an extravagance while Spain suffered in a recession.

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