MEPs Send Open Letter On Basque Political Situation

05 May 2011

Alyn Smith, Scottish Member of the European Parliament, has today co-signed a letter sent to the President of the European Commission, President of the European Council and the Prime Minister of Spain citing his strong concern at state interference in the democratic process in Spain.

The letter, drafted by Flemish MEP Frieda Brepoels and signed by MEPs from five different parliamentary groups, relates to the prevention of certain legitimate democratic parties from participating in the forthcoming elections in the Basque Country.

Smith said:

"The decision by Spain to prevent the Bildu coalition from standing in the local elections in the Basque Country later this month is a step backwards. It deprives the Basque voters of a real democratic choice and has the potential to jeopardise a fragile peace process.

"My colleagues and I have today called upon the Spanish Government, the European Council and the European Commission to work to ensure that free and fair elections may be held in all parts of the EU, and express our particular concern at the current situation regarding political parties in the Basque Country."

The letter and signatures is copied below:

Open Letter to

José Manuel Barroso
Herman Van Rompuy
José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero


State interference in the democratic process

We the undersigned Members of the European Parliament write to express our extreme concern with recent developments which have seen legitimate political parties prevented from standing in the forthcoming elections in the Basque Country.

We consider this to be in breach of the core democratic principles of the European Union, and contend that it represents unacceptable state interference in the political process.

We refer specifically to the decision of the Spanish Supreme Court to prevent the Bildu coalition from participating in forthcoming elections in the Basque country. Bildu has expressed its commitment to pursuing its objectives through wholly peaceful democratic means, and indeed includes one party (Eusko Alkartasuna) which has previously been represented in the European Parliament.

We consider that this is a European matter, as well as a matter for the Spanish state and we would emphasise that Spain has commitments as an EU member state.

We believe that preventing legitimate political parties who are committed to pursuing their goals through peaceful, democratic means from participating in the political process runs contrary to the basic right that EU citizens should enjoy to be able to hold and participate in free and fair elections.

We call upon the Spanish Government, the European Council and the European Commission to work to ensure that free and fair elections may be held in all parts of the EU, and express our particular concern at the current situation regarding political parties in the Basque Country.

Yours faithfully,

François ALFONSI (Greens/EFA)
Margrete AUKEN (Greens/EFA)
Izaskun BILBAO BARANDICA (ALDE)
José BOVÉ (Greens/EFA)
Frieda BREPOELS (Greens/EFA)
Bairbre DE BRÚN (GUE/NGL)
Derk Jan EPPINK (ECR)
Jill EVANS (Greens/EFA)
Catherine GRÈZE (Greens/EFA)
Thomas HÄNDEL (GUE/NGL)
Ian HUDGHTON (Greens/EFA)
Jurgen KLÜTE (GUE/NGL)
Fiorello PROVERA (EFD)
Michèle RIVASI (Greens/EFA)
Raul ROMEVA i RUEDA (Greens/EFA)
Vilja SAVISAAR-TOOMAST (ALDE)
Alyn SMITH (Greens/EFA)
Bart STAES (Greens/EFA)
Eva-Britt SVENSSON (GUE/NGL)
Dirk STERCKX (ALDE)
Michalis TREMOPOULOS (Greens/EFA)
Ramon TREMOSA-I-BALCELLS (ALDE)
Oriol VIES JUNQUERAS (Greens/EFA)
Tatjana ZDANOKA (Greens/EFA)