The Lehendakari believes that Europe should intervene to respond to the national aspirations there
The Lehendakari calls in Quebec for the recognition of the Basque Country as a nation and take Quebec-Canada as a model
During his visit to the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations (CORIM), Lehendakari Iñigo Urkullu, the Basque Premier, called for the recognition of the Basque Country as a nation within the Spanish State and the EU. Speaking of an audience of fifty or so economic, political and institutional representatives from Quebec, the Lehendakari explained that an intense debate is ongoing in the Spanish State and in Europe about how the stateless nations fit in the European framework. He therefore said he was convinced that the European Union would sooner or later have to address a "Clarity Directive" in response to the aspirations of the different nations that make it up.
During the first day of his official trip, the Lehendakari gave a speech, where he was accompanied by Minister Arantxa Tapia and the General Secretary for External Action, Marian Elorza. His speech was structured in three blocks: the political vision of Basque Self-Government and the "pact for future coexistence" project; a description of the Basque Country and how it fits into Europe; and the Basque Sustainable Human Development Model.
The Lehendakari explained that the purpose of his official trip is to strengthen relations between the Basque Country and Quebec, which have been bound by cultural and historical ties for centuries. This visit will serve, according to the Lehendakari, to likewise strengthen that relationship in the institutional and economic spheres. As regards the latter, the Lehendakari has welcomed the CETA Agreement as it may open up new opportunities for the relationship between the Basque Country and Quebec. Thus, the Lehendakari explained that the Basque Country could be the Atlantic seaboard gateway to Europe for Quebec; and in turn, Quebec could facilitate access for Basque products to the US and Canadian markets.
Self-government - Pact for future coexistence
The Lehendakari addressed the issue of stateless nations in the European framework. Mention is often made in this context to the Scotland-United Kingdom and Quebec-Canada models. The latter is, according to the Lehendakari, “a particularly meaningful model", as it integrates dialogue, the principle of legality, the democratic principle and bilateral negotiation.
"In Catalonia or in the Basque Country, we are facing a political problem that needs a political response. The legal framework, or its interpretation, must be able to adapt to the social reality of the time when it has to be applied. I repeat that the Quebec-Canada model is a useful experience for the Basque Country. It allows the sovereignty debate to be unblocked by means of commitment to bilateralism."
He therefore said he was convinced that "the European Union would sooner or later have to address a "Clarity Directive" in response to the aspirations of the different nations that make it up".
The Lehendakari stressed that his objective is to continue progressing on the path of social and national construction: "we aspire to the recognition of the own national reality and the assumption of the plurinationalism of the Spanish State. This means advancing in a political-legal, and also social and cultural, recognition of the Basque national reality".
This approach is based on the co-called "Basque way" which seeks to reconcile the democratic principle and the principle of legality. He explained that the Basque Parliament is working on a Self-Government Paper from his approach.
We believe that the way out of the territorial political maze in the Spanish State lies in the confederate relationship model. "We are going to continue working for a United Europe from its foundations, from the recognition of the Peoples-Nations that make it up," stressed the Lehendakari.
Basque Sustainable Human Development model
During his explanation on the Basque Sustainable Human Development, the Lehendakari pointed out that it is a model "based on social commitment". In this regard, Urkullu gave data on different aspects of the Basque Country, including education, health and social protection. The Lehendakari also stressed the commitment to strengthen the economic competitiveness of the Basque Country through the " 4-i Plan": Investment, Industry, Innovation and Internationalisation.