On Wednesday the European Parliament votes on supporting the Spanish government’s peace initiative with ETA. The organisation is on the EU’s list of terrorist organisations. Today’s debate on the Basque issue split the chamber between left and right:.
Britain’s Graham Watson leads the Liberals: “We believe that the Spanish government has every right to try to move policy in a new direction, they are a democratically elected government, they have taken the view that they should try negotiations and dialogue with ETA, and we support them in that. It worked for the British government in Northern Ireland and I hope it will work for the Spanish people.”
However the Basque issue involves a territorial claim that would redraw the maps of Spain and France.
Out of the question for French member of parliament Alain Lamassoure: “ETA, through its political shop window Batasuna, is strongly supporting the resolution presented by the Spanish Socialists, and says it means victory, a victory for their cause, for Batasuna and the Basques, and that it will be the first step towards the end of what they call the Spanish and French occupation of the Basque country. Naturally we cannot go along with that.”
Apart from possible ETA triumphalism, what also sticks in the Spanish right’s throat is the refusal of the militant group to apologise so far for any of its violence during a near 30-year terror campaign.