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Basque Nationalism

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Emily Schumacher

on 10 June 2013

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Transcript of Basque Nationalism

BASQUE NATIONALISM Garrett Wilton and Emily Schumacher Location ETA "Basque Homeland and Freedom" Basque History
The Spanish Civil War
(1936-1939) Language Economy Politics A region spanning from North-Eastern Spain to South-Western France. The Basque greater region lies on the western border, known as the Western Pyrenees between Spain and France, on the Atlantic Coast. The entire region is about the same size as New Jersey. Spanish Basque Country Includes 2 regions: Basque Autonomous Community and Navarre. Basque Autonomous Community (7,234 km) includes three provinces: Alava, Biscay, Gipuzkoa.
Navarre (10,391 km), known as the Chartered Community of Navarre. French Basque Country Includes 3 provinces only spanning 2,995 km. These French Basque provinces are: Labourd, Lower Navarre, Soule. HISTORY The Basque people are the oldest living ethnic group on the European continent, as there are historical links to the Basque Region being inhabited by the Vascones and Aquitani tribes. Evidence has shown the presence of Basque ethnicity in Western Europe dating back to Roman Times.
When the Romans arrived in Basque Territory around 200 BCE, there is written descriptions of the Basque people. They were described as ‘an ancient race with a clearly defined culture.’ Language History The Basque language, Euskara, is the only language in Western Europe in which did not arise from Indo-European culture. It is believed that Euskara is the oldest European language still in practice today.
The Basques are separated linguistically from surrounding latin-based romance languages. Physiology History The Basque people have appearances and physiological traits dislike surrounding European cultures. The Basque people have the highest number of citizens with O blood type, and the highest number of citizens with negative blood type. The Basques’ culture and geography allowed them to survive over 20 centuries. In the Franco years of Spain (1935-1972), Spanish businesses were encouraged to move into the Basque territories to dilute the Basque culture and richness. Dating back to these years, the Basque community has one of the most powerful economic regions in all of Spain.

The Basque Autonomous community ranks first in the terms of per capita income With a GDP of being 40% higher than the European Union and 22% higher than Spain's national average in 2010.
Industrial activities are traditionally surrounding on steel and shipbuilding, due to the rich resource of iron ore found around Bilboa.
The estuary of the Nervión river in Bilboa was the centre of Basques industrial revolution of 19th and beginning of 20th century these actions slowed during the economic crisis of the 70’s and 80’s
Key companies are BBVA (Bank), Iberdrola (energy company), Mondragon Corporation (Federation of Worker cooperatives), Gamesa Corporación Tecnológica (renewable energy) and Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles(railway cars)
During 2012 in the financial crisis Basque country out performed spain unemployment in Basque country was 14.56% spain was 24.6% highest in the European union (2012)
The strong industrial sectors in the Basque Country economy are machine tool, Aeronautics and and energy. The war begun from the coup d’etat of the Republic government by military dictatorship controlled by Generalissimo Francisco Franco. The military controlled just over 50% of Spain, including Portugal’s border by December 1936. Generalissimo Franco was assisted by Nazi Germany, and were known as the ‘Nationalists.’ The Basque’s were allies with the Republicans, who wanted to abolish the military dictatorship. The Republicans were assisted by Stalin and the Soviet Union. In 1937, the Basque-governed city of Guernica was strategically bombed by Nazi Germany under Franco’s suggestion. Guernica was bombed to strike against one of the strongest republican forces. The Basques, before the bombing, had one of the more minimal dictatorship effects to date. The destruction of Guernica was devastating, as it was one of the Basque’s most spiritual cities. After the aerial bombing, the city of Bilbao was captured, being a detrimental loss to the Basques. After the death of Franco, a parliamentary monarchy returned to Spain, and the Spanish Constitution was ratified in 1979. The new monarch was Juan Carlos I of the Bourbons. He was responsible for introducing the political reforms to put the first Spanish democracy into effect. The Basques felt very excluded from the constitutional decision making process, therefore the Basque nationalist leaders believed in not supporting the Spanish Constitution. As a result, 54.5% of Basque citizens did not vote in the referendum of the new Constitution. Political Controversy: The Statute of Autonomy of the Basque Country was effective in October 1979. During the vote of the approval of the Statute of Autonomy for Basque people, only 53% voted to accept it, and 41% of the population abstained from the vote. The application and implementation of this political autonomy is known to be unfair. Francisco Franco, being a fascist, imperialist, and racist, suppressed Basque culture, self-governance and Spanish diversity. Franco ethnically cleansed all of Spain to create an identical culture of all Spanish citizens. The Basques were exiled and their government was overtaken, forcing them to radicalize and use acts of violence in order to gain their sovereignty back. The Statute of Autonomy of the Basque People The document that enables the Basques to have the ability to collect taxes and regulate its own tax contribution to the state treasury. Additionally, the agreement allowed for the creation of an autonomous Basque police force, Basque radio and television stations, and autonomous education and health systems. The Statute put the highest level of subnational governance of Europe, into action. Problems at Which the Statute was Created: The Right to Self-Determination
Territoriality: Basque nationalism has arose from the passion to unite all Basque Territories under one common political power (Both France and Spain provinces).
Language and Culture: Basque defense of their language and culture constitute the most significant aspects of their self-determination.
Financial Autonomy: A Basque demand includes their right to establish their own tax systems, or to agree upon personal and institutional taxes upon their own state’s government.
Police Forces: Basque institutions had originally their own military forces, but upon the Franco dictatorship, these forces were repressed and replaced. The Basque nationalism requires a police force run by Basque Administration. Fundamental Aspects: Nationality: The Basque people are defined as a distinct nationality. This affirmation of nationality has not had a legal effect as Spain is declared to be multinational, with the ability to recognize that different regions and nationalities are a key factor in the Spanish history.
Historical Rights: The Basque people have distinct and significant powers outlined in this document, which was approved on a status of the Basques’ historical right. Both distinct education and police are example of sustained rights given to the Basque people from a historical statutory right.
Language and Culture: Statute states explicitly that “"Euskera, the Basque People's own language, is to share with Spanish the status of official language in the Basque Country. And all its inhabitants have the right to know and use both languages." A Basque citizen cannot be discriminated against based on their language. The Basque Autonomous community has the legality to cooperate with other regional or international bodies in order to promote the development and longevity of the Basque culture and heritage.
Material Competencies: Basque Government decisions must comply with Spanish ruling authority. The Basque Autonomous Community is not the determinant of complete self-governance.
Citizenship: All Spaniards are entitled to Spanish rights in the autonomous community of the Basque people. Citizens with administrative residence in the territory of the Autonomous Community, residents abroad, or descendants of residents abroad must request Basque citizenship, and must keep their Spanish nationality as well.
Economic Contracts: The Basques will have entirely their own Tax Department. Provincial Governments of the Historical Territories can carry out the collection, management, liquidation and inspection of all taxes, except those related to customs and those collected by fiscal monopolies. The Basque Community must share the pay with the State. Every five years, the Spanish Parliament establishes the method in which Taxes are paid from citizens and distributed amongst federal and provincial governments. POPULATION Spain 2,359,400
Basque Country:
Álava 279,000
Biscay 1,160,000
Gipuzkoa 684,000
Navarre 508,900
France 2,300,200
Basque Provinces in France:
Labourd 225,000
Lower Navarre 40,000
Soule 20,000 CULTURE Traditionally, the Basques are known to have lifestyles similar to fishermen, sheep herders and farmers. Basques were known to live in small towns, villages and farmhouses. A part of ancient and current culture in Spain are the rural sports that take place, dating back to the 19th century. These sports are known as Herri Kirolak, which were largely popular in the past decades and only a few remain today. These sports originated from farming and fishing jobs in the Basque region. Some of these sports include wood chopping, hay bale tossing, collective dragging of heavy weights, ram fighting, and stone lifting. The main sports in present-day Basque Country are football, rugby, jai-alai, and surfing. Basque cuisine is largely influenced by seafood, lamb, and domestic meats. Traditional meals include: pintxos, and marmitako. RELIGION Majority of Basque Greater Region worships Catholicism. There have been small communities worshiping Muslim, Jewish and Protestant beliefs as well. According to a poll of 2005: Approximately 75% of Basques believe in a god, while the remaining percentage is agnostic. Agnostics: people who believe that the existence of any deity is unknown. Basque Language: Known as Euskara. Euskara is the last pre-indo European language in Western Europe. The Basque language is known as an isolate language because Western European countries surrounding the basque nation all arise from Indo-European history. This language leads to the Basque’s historical rights as stated in the Statute of Autonomy of the Basque people. From research and archeological data, the Basque people were believed to exist in Western Europe before other Indo-European cultures arrived (such as Spanish, French, Swiss, and German). Did the Basque language exist before all other cultures of Western Europe? Or were there ancient languages of Spain and France before the Basque foundation? Controversy Euskara is commonly referred to as the present language of historical Aquitanian. Before the Roman conquest, Aquitanian was believed to be spoken on both sides of the Western Pyrenees (Present- day southern Basque country and Navarre). Therefore Aquitanian is a precursor of the Basque language, and a vital key in justifying the Basque historical rights. Another theory is that Aquitanian moved westward during the Fall of Rome and settled in the Western Pyrenees Region. This is known today as the Basque greater region. The precursor of Euskara did survive throughout Roman conquest, and the Basque language was formed from Aquitanian, Roman, and Latin. Spain was divided between 4 languages: Basque, Spanish, Gascon, and Navarro-Aragonese. Total Basque Speakers: About 660, 000 in the greater region of Basque Country. Spain: Euskara is the co-official language (with Spanish) in the 4 provinces of Basque historical rights. Approximately 550, 000 Basque speakers live in the Basque Autonomous Community and Navarre in Spain. According to the Basque Autonomous Community (2006): 30.1% fluent Basque speakers, 18.3% passive speakers, 51.5% did not speak Basque. France: Euskara has no official standing in the Northern Country of the Basques. Basque heritage is banned from speaking Basque in a French Court of Law. From a survey in 2006 based on countrywide data: 22.5% were bilingual (French + Basque), 8.6% French speaking with understanding of Euskara, 68.9% only spoke French. Based on the three Basque inhabited provinces: 66.2% speak Basque in Lower Navarre and Soule, and 36.9% in Labourd. What is ETA?
The most well-known ultra nationalist movement in Basque culture is known as Euskadi Ta Askatasuna.ETA is known as a paramilitary organization fighting for the Basque independent region. ETA is the an important group in the Basque National Liberation Movement. 2008 2010 The political party of Batsuna is outlawed from links to ETA. The United States and the European Union declared Batasuna an illegal political party in 2003.
Madrid train station was bombed, killing around 200 and injuring around 1400. Al-Queda claimed responsibility for the attacks but it is believed that ETA was an involved party. ETA stated that their claim for independence is similar to Kosovo (Yugoslav nations) or Scotland. During Spain’s European Union presidency, there were tips that high volume kidnappings and mass-bombing attacks would be underwent. A permanent ceasefire was introduced, but broken after a parking lot was attacked in Madrid only 8 months late. ETA released a statement claiming responsibility for the attack but the ceasefire was still in effect. ETA said they “did not intend to cause casualties and fault security personnel for failing to properly evacuate the parking lot after three phone calls to the airport warning of the planned bombing.”
The group also criticizes the Spanish government for "placing obstacles endlessly in the democratic process.” ETA declared the third ceasefire. It was not released whether the ceasefire would be temporary or permanent. A Basque spokesperson released a statement that the organization as well as the Basque Liberation movement wanted to use peaceful, and democratic means to achieve their independence. They also stated that ETA is “prepared today as yesterday to agree to the minimum democratic conditions necessary to put in motion a democratic process, if the Spanish government is willing." 2011 ETA stated that the 2010 ceasefire would be permanent, as well as the discontinuation of any armed activity. The video call from ETA was attended by the former UN Secretary-General, former Interior Minister of France, former Prime Minister of Norway, former UK Prime Minister (Tony Blair), former US President (Jimmy Carter), and former US Special Envoy for Middle East Peace. A declaration was drafted and signed by all attendants for the official ceasefire. Blair also suggested that Spain will need to discuss weapon decommissioning, peace strategies, reparations for victims, and security with the ETA. 2006- 2007 2003-2004 1973- 1975 1978 1983-1987 ETA was founded during Francisco Franco’s dictatorship, under the common goal of ‘Basque Homeland and Freedom.’ A car carrying Spanish Prime Minister, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, explodes killing him. This attack is believed to be a retaliation against the government’s execution of Basque separatists.
A Madrid Cafe is bombed and 9 citizens are killed. ETA provided the explosives and expertise on the bombing.
7 police officers or police informants were killed by ETA members ETA’s first ‘terrorist’ attack. The group unsuccessfully derailed a train system carrying Franco’s advisers and campaigners.
ETA’s first murder. Meliton Manzanas, a chief of the secret police in the Basque city of San Sebastian was shot outside of his home. Six ETA members were sentenced to death. 11 people were killed and over 100 more were injured from a series of attacks two consecutive days. Three bombs in airports were planted by ETA, as well as attacks on the streets in Bilbao and San Sebastian. ETA’s political wing, Batasuna, is founded. 1980 ETA kills more people in 1980 then any other year. Around 118 people were killed in numerous attacks both in the Basque Community and in Spain. 1961-1968 Spanish security forces set up Anti-Terrorist Liberation Groups, known as GAL. GAL kills 28 people from 1983-1987,which were mostly a mistake.
A Barcelona supermarket was attacked killing 21, and wounding 45. ETA soon apologized for the ‘mistake.’ 1959 Iparretarrak The paramilitary organization for the French Basque Separatist movement is known as Iparretarrak. This organization was founded by Philippe Bidart in 1973, and operates strictly in the French Basque Provinces. The separatist group was founded to campaign for full Basque autonomy in France, or France and Spain as a whole. "Iparretarrak is known to not be as violent as ETA, as most Basque violence is located in Northern Spain." 1978 1982 2000 Iparretarrak began publishing a newspaper called Idlo. 1982 was IK’s most active year, with 32 attacks in France. IK attacked the Biarritz airport to threaten the French president. The IK released a statement accusing François Mitterrand (French President) of “not respecting the Basque culture and national rights. IK was declared illegal, but the IK’s activities only increased after the exile of Basque ultra nationalism. The founder and leader of IK was arrested and sentenced to serve in jail. He was released 19 years later. 1988 The last Iparretarrak action was in 2000 when a police station and a tourist site in Bayonne was bombed.
Iparretarrak has a very unstable relationship with ETA even though both groups have the same initiative. The IK has a problem with ETA’s use of France as a safe-haven to Spanish conflict. ETA does not care to provoke the French government, which the IK disregards. 1974 Spain Governing Body: Basque Government (Unicameralism: having one legislative or parliamentary chamber)
Legislative Body of the Basques Autonomous Community of Spain: Basque Parliament
Basque Parliament: 75 representatives representing Basque citizens from three provinces (Álava, Gipuzkoa and Biscay). Each province elects the same number of representative, ignoring the population density of each.
Head of the Government:
a) Elected every 4 years by the Basques Parliament
b) Headquarters in Lakua, Alava
Current Status of the Basque Parliament:
1. Political Parties in office: Basque Nationalist Party (27), Socialist Party of the Basque Country (21), Euskal Herria Bildu (16), People’s Party (10), and Union Progress and Democracy (1). Political Parties Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ- PNV):
a) Largest and oldest basques independence party
b) Currently the largest political party in Basque Autonomous Community
c) Minor presence in Navarre
d) Founded in 1895 by by Sabino de Arana Goiri as a Catholic conservative, party agitating for the restoration of self-government and the defense of the "Basque race".
e) Goals: Democratic, participatory, plural, humanist
f) After the coup d'état of 18 July 1936, the party felt torn. It shared the rebel side's Catholicism and there was pressure from the Vatican to keep away from the Republic, but the promised autonomy and their anti-Fascist ideology led them to side with the republican government. History 1936: The first Basque Government was created in 1936, upon the approval of its first Statute of Autonomy on October 1. Basque Autonomy was recognized with the Second Spanish Republic, and the first Basque Government was formed. This government quickly formed a Basque militia. José Antonio Aguirre became the very first Basque Government ‘President.’ The Basque Government was exiled after the defeat of the Spanish Republic in the Spanish Civil War (1938). 1978: After the death of the Spanish dictator, the Second Statute of Autonomy was approved by the end of 1979. This paved the way to its success in the first elections held in the Basque Autonomous Community. The province of Navarre was left out of the Basque Autonomous Community. Navarre: Navarre holds the historical right to be included in the Basque Autonomous Community. Upon the ratification of the Spanish Constitution in 1979, Navarre voluntarily chose to not be included in the Basque Community. Instead, Navarre decided to statute a separate autonomous community. The new official Basque Government was formed in 1980. Basques Nationalist Party held office for the first term. During this period the challenges of the government were: defense of the Statute, devolution of powers from Madrid, discrediting of political violence, restructuring of manufacturing industry steeped in crisis. Batasuna
Batasuna was known to pursue the same political goals as ETA, and did not condemn ETA’s acts of public violence. Batasuna’s political candidacy is controversial, as many considered this party to be ETA’s political wing in the Basque Parliament. There were links to double membership of the ETA and Batasuna. Batasuna leaders have been quoted saying that ETA members are “Basque Soldiers.”
b) 2002: Spanish government issued a bill known as Ley de Partidos Políticos which illegalized political parties in which support or use violence to achieve political goals, support the hatred of other groups, or seek to destroy the democratic political system.
c)The Supreme Court of Spain officially declared Batasuna Party to disband in 2003 due to the relation to ETA terrorism. Communist Party of the Basque Lands (EHAK- PCTV)
a) A party that was unknown to Spain, and did not have any representation in the Basque Parliament upon foundation.
b) Founded: Two weeks before the election of April 2005
c) This party openly stated to represent the previously disbanded Aukera Guztiak party in the Basque Government. The Communist Party of the Basque Lands formed so shortly before the election, there was little time for the Spanish government to asses this political party, therefore the elections were held with EHAK as a contender.
d) EHAK won 9 seats of 75 in the Basque election. (12.44%). This percentage is thought to be the support of former Batasuna believers.
e) By this political party ‘tricking’ the Spanish Parliament, it allowed a Batasuna- related organization to be represented without the declaration of condemned public violence, as necessary in the Ley de Partidos Políticos bill. France The Basques of France do not have a common political program. There is indeed self-determination in France Parliament, as the Basques are recognized as a distinct culture, and are included in the protection of Basque language and culture. Majority of the Basque people in France live in rural areas and do not vocalize their efforts regarding sovereignty or a separate governmental system. Basque moderates do support the Basque political parties in France. Some of the political parties include: Parti National Basque, Batasuna, and Solidarité basque. There are still radicals existing in France with the hopes to unite the Basque Country of Spain and France. There is a larger percentage of Basque nationalists with the goals to seek political autonomy and further culture promotion in France. The majority of Basque citizens in France appear non-vocal in the sovereignty issue.
The political parties of France operate mainly at a departmental level. These parties only have the legality to operate administrative controls such as institutional and territorial organization of French departments. The departments are controlled by General Councils which may or may not include Basque administrators. Present Day Nationalism Subjects on which ETA/ Basque National Liberation Movement wish to agree upon:
Recognition of the right to self-determination and territoriality
The Basque citizenry are the ones who act to make decisions about the future of the Basque country
An official pardon of offenses for all members of ETA/ Iparretarrak
Respect for all results in the democratic process of the Basque country
Absolute ceasefire once the points of conflict are politically agreed upon
Discussions in the Basque community are more centered around shared sovereignty with Spain, other than a separate nation-state. The Basque government and the Basque National Liberation Movement have certainly changed their opinions of what they want for the Basque people. Traditionally, the Basque nationalists believed in territoriality or national sovereignty. Today, more flexibility is present between all stakeholders, and compromise is being discussed on a broader consensus. Polls Poll of 2008 of the Basque Autonomous Community:
32% does not want an independent Basque Country
23% supports independence
34% does not have a distinct preference Poll of 2010 of the Basque Autonomous Community: (Regarding the Statute of Autonomy)
36% prefers a reform of the Statute
12% does not want a reform
27% wants minor changes ETA There has been a dramatic shift from violence to political discussions. ETA has thoroughly questioned their use of violence and the legitimacy of making decisions by acts of violence in the present day. ETA accepts the Basque parliament’s right to discuss issues with the Spanish government in order to truly benefit the Basque culture. ETA has become more flexible to other ways of agreement. The Basque Government
The Basque government wants to negotiate a new statute for Spain and the Basque people. The Basque Parliament believes in “free association” or “shared sovereignty” with Spain. This proposal would mean that the Basque government has the right to potentially change the relationship between Spain and the Basque Autonomous Community. The Basque government wants to remain part of the Spanish State on a mutually agreed upon relationship. Basque National Liberation Movement (MNLV)
The leaders of the Basque National Liberation Movement do support a new Statute for the Basque people. More importantly, the MNLV want further “self-determination” for all locations of Basque people. This makes Navarre and the French provinces a subject. MNLV wants unity to be present between all Basque territories. Whether this means complete sovereignty or free association, is unknown. MNLV vs. ETA: What is the Difference? Basque National Liberation Movement (MNLV) is an ‘umbrella’ initiative that works to combine all aspects of political, social, and military organizations involving Basque separatism. In the MNLV, there are members of the ETA, workers union, political parties, and many other organizations significant in the Basque culture.
ETA is defined specifically as the armed organization with the belief system to force independence rather than politically negotiate. SPANISH GOVERNMENT The Spanish government has rejected the Basque’s proposal of a new Statute, reforms are possible. The Spanish government currently supports federalist reforms to the autonomous territorial system created in 1978. The government has initiated a process to recognize the demands of the autonomous communities. Controversy What defines a region or a nationality affected by this potential reform?
If the Spanish government were to change the autonomous territorial system, this would affect the other autonomous communities in Spain. (Navarre, Catalonia, Valencia, Andalusia) The Spanish government is also having discussion with the Basque government to create new approaches to key issues, and to build international trust. This includes allowing the Basque police force to join the European Law Enforcement Organization to become more involved with international organizations on a basis of anti terrorism. Overall, Spanish government is unwilling grant any new opportunities to ‘terrorist’ organizations, such as the ETA. Political negotiation is possible, but ideas of reforms have only begun. A new draft of the Statute is not one option that Spain has given the autonomous communities. More international attention is being drafted for the Basques. Prime Minister Zapatero, of Spain, has commented that the Basque Community need to reach a consensus themselves before making negotiations with Spain. He would like to make a referendum for the Basque people concerning the Statute of Autonomy. What is the Conflict About? Francisco Franco Being a fascist authoritarian, Franco rejected and despised of the Basque people and culture. The Basque’s were involved in a self-governing Republic before Franco’s military dictatorship, then the Basque people were forced to be invisible. The Basque’s were mistreated, having a historical right to a portion of the land. They were forced to fight their way back to self-determination. Spanish Constitution Being ratified after the Spanish Civil War, the Basque people were left out of the process, and their relationship with Spain was forced upon them. There was no input given, or listened to by the Basque people to the Spanish government at the time of autonomy and territoriality. Failure To Change The Basque people are still being forced to live under the Spanish sovereignty. Even though separatism may not be the Basque’s wish, they would like to be consulted on the relationship they wish to have with Spain and France. The ETA and MNLV have been struggling to be heard and to make a change. Slowly, their self- determination is growing, but a compromise for both parties needs to happen in order to have a symbiotic relationship. Spanish Selfishness? There is controversy over why the Spanish have granted the Basque people the highest level of self autonomy in the European Union, but will not consult for a new possible draft of the Basque’s responsibilities. Are the Spanish purely wanting to reap the benefits of the Basque’s economy? Or do the Spanish want to try to unite all of the autonomous territories under a common Constitution? Should the Basques be Sovereign? We believe that Basques should not be sovereign. We argue so because this is not exactly what the Basque people have been asking for. The Basque people want the ability to at least be consulted in foreign matters, or be able to internationally speak for themselves. Economic and social ties with Spain would be necessary, but complete sovereignty may not benefit the nation. In our opinion, the Basque people have a history, clearly defined language, and a clearly defined collective interest. The autonomous community has the ability to function and run their own fiscal programs, therefore we feel international attention of this group is vital.We agree with the Spanish Prime Minister when he speaks of a common goal of the Basque people. The Basques need to assess what will benefit their future, their culture, and their security moving forward. Whether this be complete sovereignty, We highly doubt so. International Attention International intervention during the conflicts between the Basques and the Spaniards have been limited. The only official mediator to date was the Swiss government in 1999. Switzerland mediated the only official meeting between the two conflicting parties. Efforts from peacemakers in Northern Ireland have been extended to the Basque area, for a chance to identify and learn from the nations’ mistakes in both conflicts. These communications will be used to address conflicts between political leaders facing the same challenges. Gary Adams in the European Parliament has extended his communication to both Northern Ireland and the Basque community to advise the political leaders. Father Alec Reid was one of the key leaders involving the decommission of the IRA, and has also been involved by trying to persuade the ETA leaders to take a political route.
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