Tuesday

19th Oct 2021

EU declines peace talks bid by Basque seperatists

  • Spain's Supreme Court banned Batasuna in 2003 on grounds that it was part of ETA (Photo: EUobserver)

EU justice and home affairs commissioner Franco Frattini has rejected a call from outlawed political Basque group Batasuna to negotiate a peace agreement in the Basque country and has reiterated the EU's support for the Spanish government.

The Basque separatists urged Brussels on Wednesday (6 June) to step in and help re-establish the peace process with the Spanish government, after pro-independence terrorist group ETA announced an end of its 15-month ceasefire on Tuesday (5 June).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Batasuna's representative in Brussels, Gorka Elejabarrieta, said that the EU "could and should" help restore the peace process in the Basque country and therefore solve the conflict, writes ADNmundo.

Mr Elejabarrieta, who was speaking to journalists in Brussels, said that "the resolution of the Basque conflict should be a priority in the agenda of the EU," but added that Brussels policy has been so far to endorse "the interests of the Spanish state and not those of the Basque country and the EU itself."

It was this stance that Mr Frattini restated by saying that "we respect the initiatives of the Spanish government and we will keep working with them in order to defeat terrorism," according to El Correo Digital.

Spain's Supreme Court banned Batasuna in 2003 on grounds that it was part of ETA, leading to its members being barred from engaging in political activity. It remains legal in France.

ETA said it ended the ceasefire claiming "minimum conditions for continuing a process of negotiations do not exist" and blamed socialist prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero for ruining the peace process by continuing to arrest and try ETA members and by barring some pro-independence candidates from Basque local elections last month.

Despite announcing the self-imposed "permanent cease-fire" in March last year, ETA detonated a car bomb at Madrid's international airport in December, destroying a five-story car park and killing two people, leading Mr Zapatero to end the peace negotiations.

The group – which is classed as a terrorist organisation by Madrid, Brussels and Washington - is accused of killing more than 800 people since 1968 in the fight for Basque independence from Spain.

Basque threat of 'second front' for independence

Last weekend some 175,000 people in the Basque country demanded a 'right to decide'. For some, it means more autonomy from Spain, others independence. "We want to open a second front within the Spanish state," says one Basque politician.

Frontex chief: 'about time' MEPs probe his agency

Some 14 MEPs have created a group to probe allegations of rights abuse by the EU's border agency Frontex. Its head, Fabrice Leggeri, welcomed its creation and said it "is about time".

Romania denies forcing migrant-boat back to Turkish waters

Romania's ministry of internal affairs wrote to Frontex claiming it did not engage in any illegal pushbacks of people on rubber boats into Turkish territorial waters. The country says it followed EU engagement rules and Greek orders.

LGBTI fears over new Polish member at EU institution

A letter sent to the European Economic and Social Committee by a group of cross-party MEPs fighting for LGBTi rights expresses fears that a recently-appointed Polish member may try to undermine those rights.

EU condemns Slovenian PM's harassment of journalist

Slovenia's populist prime minister Janez Janša attempted to discredit a Brussels reporter after she published a critical article about the state of media freedoms in the country. The European Commission condemned the PM's language - but refrained from naming him.

Feature

Covid-hit homeless find Xmas relief at Brussels food centre

The Kamiano food distribution centre in Brussels is expecting 20 people every half hour on Christmas Day. For many, Kamiano is also more than that - a support system for those made homeless or impoverished.

Top court finds Hungary and Poland broke EU rules

EU tribunal said Hungary's legislation made it "virtually impossible" to make an asylum application. Restricting access to international protection procedure is a violation of EU rules.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us