In a statement sent to the press today, Basque armed group ETA announced a unilateral decision of its dissolution. The European Free Alliance, European Political Party, celebrates the end of what has been a violent half of a century in the Basque Country.
The Basque have always been regarded with respect, inspiring freedom fighters and activists for self-determination. But the violent aspect of ETA made a negative impact which caused pacifists and progressive activists to distance themselves from the long-standing, legitimate, socio-political struggle in the Basque Country. However, EFA has always been critical of State violence and has systematically denounced the violent repression by the State that included political assassinations and torture.
François Alfonsi, President of EFA, states “Today will be celebrated and remembered for years to come, not only in the Basque Country but in the whole of Europe. It is the end of an era.”
However, the time is not only for celebration, but for construction, says François Alfonsi.
“A whole new era is beginning, and it should be one that goes forward, building on the knowledge and lessons learned. European politicians and leaders need to work together to bring about a prosperous Basque society, founded on collective memory. They carry the responsibility of building a better Europe. The long chapter of violence in the Basque country has closed. A new one must now open on the future of the Basque Country in Europe.”
François Alfonsi, in addition to being President of EFA, is a politician and former MEP from Corsica, which also has a long history of violence.
The Basque issue is one of self-determination, which is why EFA has been active around the topic since its creation. EFA and its political representatives congratulate the Basque society for its immense efforts building up towards this precise moment: the end of violence in Euskadi.
However, EFA stresses that political problems must be solved with political means. To this aim, EFA calls on the Spanish and French governments to take responsibility. We ask them to stop repression and torture, to cease the judicialization of politics and to finally move on to respecting the wish of the Basque society - deciding on their own future, without the threat of state violence and prosecution.
Lorena Lopez de Lacalle, EFA Vice-President and former Minister in the Council of Araba (Basque Country), declares “The dissolution of ETA is more than just an organisations’ decision to disband – it is an answer to a clear demand by the Basque society. It is a collective achievement that should be celebrated today, one that was made by the Basque society as a whole. Now is the time for new, more positive and hopeful times. Times that will need to focus on the causes of the conflict and how to cure them. Times that will need to focus on reconciliation, on the recognition of all victims of the conflict and of the political prisoners. The Spanish and French governments will be requested to act upon all these issues, and we at EFA will make sure that Europe will be pushing for them to move on in the right direction”.