Paix sans frontières: building peace across borders
Publication date: 
Accord issue: 

Written from a Basque nationalist perspective, this article outlines certain aspects of Basque nationalist approaches and proposals to end the Basque conflict, focusing on the potential role of the EU and major contemporary developments such as the announcement by Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) in September 2010 of its decision ‘not to carry out offensive armed actions’.

In particular the article explores whether EU initiatives for cross-border social and economic development have relevance to the Basque question, such as the PEACE programme that has been used to help regenerate the Irish border. From a Basque nationalist perspective, cross-border relations may be perceived as a further step in Basque nation-building – although most non-nationalists would see these more as functional tools for regional and local development.
As this paper makes clear, no EU instrument can have an impact without the political will of two powerful EU member states most directly involved in the conflict: Spain and France. Any chance of progress is reliant on the Spanish and French governments being convinced that ETA violence and the ‘armed confrontation’ is over for good.

When compared with the Spanish Basque region, French Basque mobilisation is low. But civil society dynamics are strong in the French Basque country, where sectoral demands have coalesced into wider aspirations for French Basque territorial recognition. 

Julen Zabalo and Oier Imaz