Smith On Basque Peace Process

17 March 2011
SNP MEP Alyn Smith has today (Thursday) endorsed a statement with 26 other MEP colleagues on the proposal to establish a new political party in the Basque Country. 

There is a possibility that the Spanish Supreme Court will block the formation of the new party on the grounds that it is alleged to have links to terrorist organisations. The organisation is explicitly democratic and has clearly renounced violence, and Smith and others have called for it to be a legal part of the dialogue process.

Smith said:

"The Basque conflict is heartbreaking, and is sadly a forgotten conflict in the heart of the EU. Basque politics has been blighted by violence, and much as it is hard, the only solution and sustainable peace must be built on dialogue. As a member of the peace process friendship group for 6 years now I have seen initiatives come and go, but I hope that this one will succeed in bringing people to the table.

"The statement makes clear that I may well not share the political view of the new party. Indeed I do not. However, I support their right to be a legal representative party, and part of the process. If an organisation explicitly renounces violence, unless we take them at face value and recognise the risk those involved are themselves taking, then there will be no possibility of progress. I hope that the authorities in Madrid will respond with an open hand to this latest overture.

The statement is as follows:

MEP’s support to the legalisation of Sortu - the new political and organisational project presented on February 7th 

The MEPs endorsing the following statement welcome Sortu - the “new political and organizational project” presented 7th February and whose statutes reject all kind of violence, ETA's included. Such an announcement takes us closer to a lasting and sustainable peace in the Basque Country.

We don’t necessarily share the presented political project, but we understand that such a political party has the right to be legal and contest elections as any other party. We call on the Spanish authorities not to put any additional barriers.

We understand that for a resolutive dialogue to be set up, all the parties should take part on equal conditions, and so the Abertzale Left should be legalized.

We want to call on all parties to make an effort for the resolution of the conflict. Peace in the Basque Country is peace in the very heart of Europe, and so we must understand it.