Europe is being plunged into the Basque question with the moderate nationalists taking their demand for the right to hold a referendum on self-determination, rejected by Spain’s Constitutional Court, to the European Court of Human Rights.
Madrid has turned Juan José Ibarretxe down. The Basque Prime Minister remains positive.
“We accept the court’s decision but we aren’t resigned to defeat. We will peacefully pursue our social goals, and our political and legal ones forcefully to defend our rights wherever necessary,” he said.
The moderate nationalist-dominated Basque parliament wants the vote in October. Do not hope for much from Strasbourg, warned Spain’s deputy minister, Maria-Teresa Fernandez de la Vega.
“Mr Ibarretxe is free to knock on any door he likes, but we’re convinced those who respect democratic procedures, above all the European parliament, will never accept an attack on legal principle such as this one.”
The Basque country enjoys more autonomy than most European regions-within-a-state that have campaigned for more self-rule. Opinion polls regularly show most Basques want more freedoms.