Our weekly magazine Euskonews & Media will reach its tenth anniversary in 2008. To mark this event, within a very extensive programme of activities, every month until December we will publish a special interview with an inportant figure in the recent history of our country. It is the best gift we can give the thousands of readers who read our magazine every week.
Carlos Garaikoetxea Urriza from Navarra, is a lawyer and graduate in Economic Sciences. In 1980 he was elected as Lehendakari (president) of the Autonomous Basque Community. From his political and personal vantage point he has gotten to know, at first hand, the evolution of the last thirty years in the Basque Country. Witness to many of the event of the recent past, in the following lines he offers his opinion on our political sphere.
It must be quite different to see the world through the presidency of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Navarra, and Euskadi Buru Batzar...
Undoubtedly. Your professional experience, the years and the circumstances in which you live influence how you see things with greater realism, discover new facets that you weren’t aware of at other stages in your life, but I basically have always had an obsession or feeling that has inspired my career in all the professional areas in which I have had to work. When I was president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Navarra, anecdotally, but significantly, all the Basque chambers cooperated on a joint publication. Professionally I was very busy, but at that time I was working for Basque in connection with the Principe de Viana institute.
I travelled throughout Navarra, from North to South and from East to West, promoting the creation of about thirty Ikastolas1 with others like myself, interested in the theme, and whom I met in various towns. I visited convents, abandoned schools, and we did things, that now probably seem difficult to believe, to resolve the material problems of these new initiatives. Going back to other stages in my life, the first blow I got was in Maths class, for having a grammar book by Father Zabala to learn the basics of Basque. All of this is to show that there was always a guiding thread in my concern, my restlessness, and this thread was the fate of my people and their language in particular. Because the experiences in this land of mine, Navarra, were particularly painful and truly hurt my feelings in this respect.
As well as the presidency of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and my work as Economist and Lawyer, I devoted myself to many other more or less philanthropic facets such as chairman of the largest Ikastola1 in Navarra or as member of the Board of the old people’s residence “Casa de la Misericordia”. I was part of the daily life of Navarra society and have many yarns to tell, such as the lift it gave me talking to the last Basque speaker in the Roncal Valley and, having a beer in the bar below his house with a woman who could have been his daughter and hearing her say “this place on Sundays fills up with Basques”, as if she were talking about people from another planet. Or the impact it had on me, talking to another elderly gentleman from the Erro Valley whom I greeted in Basque to try my luck, as I was led to believe that the language was dying out in the valley, and the man also answered in our language. I said to him, “Fantastic, how come you speak Basque?” And he answered, “Well, I went to America when I was young and kept it up. Here it’s been lost.”
These are anecdotes that represent what one feels and reveal that in one place or another, in a Chamber of Commerce or presiding a government or as President of a Basque national party, I have always encouraged the same motivation, the same feeling, the same concept of life in my country.
This comes to Carlos Garaikoetxea from your family?
I come from a typical family in Navarra, traditionalist, religious, those families that evolve from Carlism to Nationalism. We are all nationalist but no specific political militancy was instilled in us, rather a deep cultural perception of people rooted in the culture of the country. My mother was from a little village in the basin of Navarra where the Basque language had been lost and so it wasn’t passed on. My father was Basque, from the Larraun Valley. No doubt he transmitted something to us, recalling the loss of Basque in my mother’s family and evoking how our grandparents spoke it but not the children, and seeing my father, out walking with us as children, take advantage of every occasion to speak Basque with the locals in the street. All this made me think deeply, causing nearly an internal convulsion, that undoubtedly influenced my tendency to feel attached to our culture, our language and the situation of my country.
And what does it mean for Carlos Garaikoetxea to leave, shall we say, Navarra politics (inverted commas) as represented by the Chamber of Commerce, and devote oneself body and soul to what is a political career, framed within a party and government process?
The Chamber was a professional episode and dedication to politics was a process that was never planned. It happened gradually because I have done many things in my life, from working as a cook in London to a bohemian in Paris, after having studied “magnis itineribus”, as Cesar would say, two careers and a couple of languages. I would like to have practiced my profession as a lawyer but got involved in economic activity, paradoxically doing what I liked least. Then when I started working as a lawyer in my own practice, I had to combine the management of two companies with the presidency of the Chamber, so my life was equally active or even more so than when I was in politics.
Gradually I found myself caught up in politics, but as an amateur. At that time we were such amateurs that everything was paid for out of our own pockets. There was no professionalism in any sense. Even in my early years as president of the General Basque Council or as Lehendakari2 I paid all my own expenses in hotels etc. We had this amateur concept of politics. You must remember that we didn’t have a headquarters and we were starting a government with the most basic infrastructure. What I want to say is that it was a process in which, especially at the time I was a lawyer, I saw myself gradually being caught up until I was nearly one hundred percent occupied in the life of the party, that was in the last years of Franco.
When they suggested I become president of the General Basque Council, after being elected president of PNV3 in the first assembly and after being in hiding, the truth is I was quite surprised. I had always thought Ajuriaguerra was the person who should have been called to this post, given his historic background. He should have been elected at the first opportunity in that struggle with Rubial, but after Ajuriaguerra died, and the ballot boxes having logically decided who was to take over the presidency, this was when I saw myself committed to complete dedication. So I left Iruñea on Sunday nights, got myself into a hotel in Bilbao and returned on Saturday evenings. So overnight, without even having planned it, I found myself involved in two successive elections as Lehendakari and then afterwards, like the consequence of all that went before, in serious positions of responsibility until one day in December 1999.
Yes. There was one group where there were all sorts of people, some who later were to join ESB5, and we did a tour around important places in Euskal Herria (the Basque Country): Arrasate, Durango, Eibar, Mungia. That was the time when the word Euskadi6 was banned. I remember we uttered the word Euskadi and a murmur could be heard, like a ruffle of emotions going through the crowd. Various people participated like Ajestaran, Iturrioz, Caiero, Many thought that I was part of ESB5. That was about the year 1976.
I was going to say that at that time Carlos Garaikoetxea was not yet a figure that had come to light, and Iturrioz, a more public personage, politically speaking, said “I came to this meeting because I was promised that Carlos Garaikoetxea was going to be here and in him I place all my trust”.
Iturrioz said that? I wasn’t aware of the comment. I think one of my first public speeches was as president of the Chamber of Commerce of Navarra. They invited me, such as they do, to Baiona to present a film. If I remember rightly it was “Navarra, four seasons” and I stepped out onto the stage with the Mayor of Baiona, with the deputy prefect in one of the box seats. Suddenly I saw Leizaola in the audience and I realised there were a lot of people who looked to be euskalzale. It didn’t occur to me to begin any other way than by saying “Lehendakari jauna7...!” I’m talking now about 1970. The fuss that was created! Grenet even left without saying goodbye.
So I made public speeches non-politically in which I tried to glide over obvious biases. I also said on the occasion of that speech that “Although we were divided by an artificial frontier that we had not chosen...” and there was a great burst of applause which made me think there was a significant clientele there in Baiona.
On other occasions people who were important in economic life took part, people as diverse as Luis Olarra and Guillermo Aranzabal, Antón Urkidi... Politically we spoke openly, we spoke about the country. Olarra surprised me; at that time he was closer to the feeling of country and in later developments opted towards the Spanish right-wing, like many others, because of problems of disagreement with our nationalist orientation and, especially, in rejection of the climate of violence.
You have said something that has happened to all of us, and that is the emotion on pronouncing the word Euskadi. We have witnessed acts when Franco supporters shouted “Gora Euskal Herria8” at the same time as they were terrified of the word Euskadi. Years later the issue has changed dramatically, no?
Yes, it is the best example of the iconoclast spirit that exists in this country, where there are quite intelligent people who think that changing something, a symbol, a word, can bring healthy even miraculous effects. Yet they demonstrate abysmal ignorance because the two terms are closely attached, Euskadi and Euskal Herria. The other day I saw a debate on television with respective supporters of both opinions, as a result of a national football-league match. I say how one of them rejected the term Euskadi because, according to him it referred to a statute of three provinces. What surprised me was that the other speaker did not respond to say that this same statute affirms that “...beronen izena Euskadi zein Euskal Herria izando da”, in other words, “the name shall be Euskadi or Euskal Herria”.
The term Euskadi in Iparralde doesn’t correspond to a political institution either; it exists, persists and nobody contests it for that, like in Navarra, the same as what happens with the ikurriña (flag of The Basque Country). Euskadi has a deep-rooted tradition and stirs emotions; it is the idea of a country irrespective of whether you call a specific institutional project Euskadi, when you can also call the same project Euskal Herria, and not Pais Vasco (the Basque Country). So we aren’t going to banish one term or the other. But someone, due to ignorance or this iconoclast desire to reject what is traditional in order to find another new miraculous formula, makes us waste a lot of valuable energy.
Kuipers, a Flemish friend of mine and senator, who often came during the Franco era and attended the Aberri Eguna in Guernika, where he was detained, once said to me, “Look Carlos! What’s happening? Before they used to detain us for shouting Gora Euskadi! Now you have banished the word Euskadi. Don’t you use it any more?” I told him it was complicated to explain what was happening. It all seems regrettable. I am deeply moved and touched by the term Euskal Herria. In fact, not so long ago Rajoy said that it was a myth and an invention. UPN and colleagues added that it was a phantasmagorical project. I wrote that the term was used centuries ago by writers such as Leizarraga, Axular, Etxeberri, Lazarraga el arabarra, and finished by saying that Spanish legislation itself quoted the term Euskal Herria in an organic law, and the Encyclopaedias Britannica and Espasa describe it with a map of seven provinces.
Or the monument to the statutes of Navarra ...
Yes, where you can read the words “Gu, gaurko euskaldunok...”, “We, the Basques of today...” In any case, I don’t know if in 20 years time some other wise crack will appear saying that we have to banish the term Euskal Herria and replace it for another like Euskaria or who knows what!
Lehendakari Garaikoetxea is considered the architect of the Statute of Gernika, of 1979, which shortly will mark its 30th anniversary and we are still in the construction process. Does this give us strength to continue working or is it a knock to people’s moral?
Firstly we mustn’t feel repentant of having used this procedure. The country was destroyed in every sense of the word: culturally, linguistically, economically, infrastructurally, submitted to tremendous fiscal plunder. It needed urgent treatment. The Statute obviously did not fulfil the aspirations of some of us, who had to negotiate it. I personally had greater responsibility as president of the General Basque Council at that time. But it was about shoring up a derelict building and indeed the Statute helped to give the country the resources to face up to these serious deficiencies and get out of the fiscal plunder in which we found ourselves.
After fortifying the country in basic aspects, it was necessary to rebuild the industrial ruin of basic sectors: naval, iron and steel, and start a modernisation process of the important industry in the country: machine tools, capital goods. All this work was urgent and with the resources obtained it was possible to tackle essential matters like education and the media.
But the potential of this instrument, the Statute, has been restricted by a policy that is disloyal in its interpretation by the State. This has led to despondency but also a rethinking of the political framework, because this instrument that did have potential has collapsed along the way. These are not words arbitrarily spoken by me. The Basque Parliament has said so unanimously, there being 39 statutory powers still to be developed: some as important as scientific and technical research in a world in which innovation and R+D+i is fundamental. It is a basic and clearly agreed power in the Statute, and it is a basic tool for the future of our country. There are those who renounce what was done at this time. What could be done, was done; and that is real politics, not political fiction, at a difficult time with a real risk of returning to dictatorship which would have left the country in goodness knows what conditions. If we had gone for a break-away process, I don’t know what things would be like today. But we couldn’t just stop things and go on the way things were. What had to be done, was done: and today another approach is being taken in different circumstances, which also makes it possible to go further than before, because fortunately Europe is our witness. There is a certain democratic character, still in need of improvement in the Spanish nation, although there is no risk of dictatorial involution there is, however, a certain involution and counter-reform which is occurring today from a democratic point of view.
Joy is short-lived in the house of the poor! We get the country up and going, a series of privileges are obtained... but we are small and weak against the machinery of the State. How can we get out of this impasse?
Indeed, what does such a small country do faced with such powerful neighbours? But it has survived before, because the black night of dictatorship seemed like an endless tunnel but we survived reasonably well. I think we have to see things with more far-sightedness inside the country itself as we waste a lot of energy on internal discrepancies, which on the other hand is normal. All countries immersed in a national emancipation process find themselves with the typical loss of energy on the confrontation between those who think the level of pragmatism and realist politics is at one level and those who think that we have to do the impossible overnight.
Although the examples don’t represent an affinity of situations, this happens among the Barzani and Talabani kurds, which whom I had a certain relation; between the Palestinians, who are destroying themselves; or Ibrahim Rugoba of Kosovo whom I met in relation with the European Parliament, and with armed hardliners. And this is the symbol of a country that has to struggle with inequality of forces against domination, the fight of David and Goliath, because the dispute about where the level of efficiency and realism is, in order to do politics, is the big question. And so we the nationalist Basque force here spend a lot of our energy without knowing how to resolve the problem.
On the other hand there are clichés that I would like to deny. For example, it is said that making pacts is the great tradition and the great solution to the problems of the country. Making a pact, in order to be effective, must be between equals, and here pacts have generally been the result of an unequal fight in which, after wars where we have been the victors, things moved on to a legal plane or so-called “pacted” solutions, made from a disadvantaged position in an attempt to save what little was left. So there are myths which unfortunately, from traditional nationalism itself, continue to be preached like great formulas. I think, although it may seem like becoming pessimist, there are stages when the country has to stand on its feet, has to take on a certain intelligent institutional confrontation, if possible, without always putting citizens in the front line, calling for civil resistance. The institutions are first in this struggle, no? Today this institutional conflict has another setting, a European one, a consolidated democracy that does not accept the infringements that might happen in a solitary situation within the state of Spain. There is a possibility, therefore, of making this democratic world that surrounds us a witness, with demands that are legitimate, democratic, processed by civil and civilised means. Naturally, if we lose our cool, as I believe happens when you resort to violent means, humiliated in the world that surrounds us, we are doing a disservice to this understanding and, as the case may be, to this aid which might come if there were be one more infringement. If we reach a point, in this institutional confrontation in which I think we have to focus our efforts, where a reasonable, civilised and respectful way-out is impossible with the majority will of our people, then the European context has to be involved.
So then, how do we get out of this impasse? Hopefully by means of dialogue, in short, by civilised means, by an evolution in this Jacobean concept of the Spanish state. But if not, the fight will have to continue, firstly in the institutions. I have said many times that before asking citizens for civil resistance, which could complicate the rest of their lives, parliamentarians would have to shut themselves up in Parliament and give evidence before the whole world, just like Vytaustas Landsbergis did in the Lithuanian Parliament when the then former Soviet Union did not respond to his claims. I was there and was witness to how the Soviet parachutists surrounded the Parliament and how, with old uniforms, not only Lithuanian people, but people from the Ukraine and other countries supported and how we supported that institutional resistance, that bloodless pacific testimony shortly followed by Lithuanian independence.
So in the short term, Lehendakari, in order to be able to react and reactivate the psychic situation of this country, which as an observer I see as politically confused at the present time, before calling for force from our society, we should ask it of the politicians?
Yes, I think so. Though you have to convince society so that it gives its support, so that is gives it expressly in the ballot box, so that it even shows it emphatically, because visualising things is also important. But I insist that it is the role of institutions to manage the country, using all its civilised resources in a world that is observing us if the democratic will, representative of the popular will, is not taken into account and is disrespectfully and completely rejected. I believe there are many ways to lead conflict with intelligence, with careful composure in each circumstance to accumulate energy.
We parents often tell our children that in our time we had other ideals, that we were more determined. Do you politicians at the present time have the same illusions as 35 years ago?
No, I honestly don’t think so. But up to a certain point it’s natural, because 35 or 40 years ago we had stimuli and reaction before a repressive dictatorship. The desire to find a way out of that situation was enormous. The joy and illusion was catalytic for many collective emotions. And today politics is mundane. But there are other illusions and other challenges that also stimulate: globalisation, poverty, the ecological problem. All this stirs up other kinds of emotions. Every period has its stimuli, its catalyst of collective emotions. At the present time it is very difficult to get such important change agents as those that an atrocious dictatorship produces, in which the people were prevented from speaking their own language and even inscriptions in Basque were erased from their graves.
But I want to add, so I am not misunderstood, that there has existed here a majority and constant resolve since 1979, reflected in the ballot boxes, that urges or demands self-government for this country. The tone has even gone up in sovereign majority positions and, in spite of the fact that generationally there isn’t the collective emotion that existed because of the circumstances mentioned in the 70s, 80s and successive years, the revindication level persists and is even rising. And I insist, traditional nationalism has gone from speaking more or less with disdain of the right of self-determination to joining the sovereignty proposals that others of us have been making for quite some time.
In July 1976, for example, there was that famous meeting of town councils in Bergara, which we attended getting past all the control points of the Civil Guard along the road. We arrived on foot from the surrounding villages. Etxarri Aranatz was next ...
I participated a lot at those meetings which I found very emotional and marked a whole period.
I would like to touch on the topic of recovery, illusion, strength... Arturo Campion comes to mind, a giant in the culture of Navarra who projects the country, projects the Basque Country in general. Then, I feel great respect for people like Carlos Garaikoetxea, Gregorio Monreal, Pedro Migel Etxenike and others who having been born in Navarra, and as Navarra citizens, have a very modern vision of country at this time, and who continue to be constant in the postures they have been defending over the last thirty years. I mean, they haven’t chopped and changed, they haven’t varied their talks, and this is more valid today than ever. This is something we should give great thought to, because I think the values these people defended could at the present time be the spearhead for the recovery of our country...
Well, as far as I am concerned it would be arrogant of me to reaffirm what you so kindly suggest. But it is true that in Navarra for various generations, from Campión, Oloriz, Iturralde, los Aranzadi, Irujo etc., Basque revival has had its driving force. And today traditional nationalism is taking on proposals that we made in Eusko Alkartasuna9, towards sovereignty without violence, without taking refuge in the traditional claims of those somewhat blurred historic rights, but invoking a democratic principle and the right to self-determination. The dissidence that is happening in the violent breakaway world is coming closer to this non-violent concept, radical in the revindication; from a more or less outdated socialism of the 60s or 70s to social-democratic positions that some of us have been proposing, which is also what is out there in the civilised world that surrounds us. And to be realistic when it comes to real politics and not political fiction, as unfortunately has been done all too frequently in this country, on the basis of graffiti and fantastic and finalist proclamations, but without saying how to get there. This is the question, how to get there, not only where you want to go.
It seems to me that we in our society are making formulations that 30 years ago were a model. Political life has had so many chops and changes in this country that we have gone form one side to the other. But there has been a sort of debate that has continued in time based on certain people, institutions or parties, and at the present time is valid.
I think so, quite frankly. This is why I am in the party that I am. And when in 1980 I had the honour of presiding the first Basque government I was especially lucky to have shaped a great team that is the secret of any human company.
A great team ...
And it took some time. I had to get one out of Cambridge, others from their legal practice, and others from the bank...so really, people who were not known in the media. It was done without that bureaucratisation of politics that happens today, by which people have to leave the executive bodies of the parties. I was criticised many times for this way of doing things as I even had people without any specific political affiliation, but competent in their field. This enabled us to move forward to things that today are matter-of-fact current affairs: research, development, modernisation of industry, the Basque entity for energy; because we are very concerned about the energy problem. We had an effect not only on general political formulations, but also on these facets of current affairs like the technological challenge, innovation and globalisation, social progress etc. so urgent at the present time. And the truth is that we did all this in the midst of criticism from people who waving a monotonous, utopian or breakaway claim which brought the country to a dead-end. Not forgetting reactionary forces, that would have left things as they were or worse, obviously...
If we were practical and thought positively, consulting the electorate on self-determination given with the necessary acquiescence, would it be admissible to cover three territories in the Basque Country...?
To a certain extent we would find ourselves in the same situation as 1979, when a statute was negotiated which as been condemned so much by some, but states textually that the Basque Country or, expressed in Basque, Euskal Herria or Euskadi has the right to form a political community. And it goes on to say that Navarra, the same as Araba, Gipuzkoa or Vizcaya, has the right, in effect the definition of a natural community, to organise itself politically: something that today would be inconceivable. However, it determined the only road as the will of the Navarros10. So by means of their representatives, the go-ahead was given in the first instance to the union in Araba, Gipuzkoa and Vizcaya but unfortunately not in Navarra, and just by the skin of their teeth too as the socialist party at that time was in favour of the union.
That was realist politics to go shaping the territorial unity of the South of the Basque Country. Then the socialist party betrayed us. Well then, we found ourselves in a dilemma. What to do?
Do we stop the process in the whole country, of the great demographic majority of the country, waiting for the democratic will of the people of Navarra, in 5, 10, 15, 20 years –who knows how many– to make their decision? If I had been told that 30 years later we were still going to be like this, I don’t know if I wouldn’t have cut my veins. But we can’t stop the country now. We have to make this as attractive as possible so that this majority fragment which is the Autonomous Basque Community continues to be an interesting goal for the rest of the country. We have to continue working, there is no other alternative. You can’t ask for an impossible miraculous formula or convince yourself by saying this is the way it has to be because this is the way I see it. If the majority of the population doesn’t see it the same way, then you have to think you are mistaken.
Then you hear tales that the Statute without Navarra was an imposition of goodness knows who. No, the truth is that, within the incipient democratic conditions, for the purpose of expressing popular will and for all other purposes, Araba, Gipuzkoa and Vizcaya through their representatives had their say in one way and in Navarra we didn’t obtain the majority to support our will. And this is without mentioning Iparralde11 where, unfortunately, the level of pragmatism is set by those here who say that it has to be set at another level....
In other words, Karlos Garaikoetxea would not cut his veins in the case of a Basque Kosovo?
No. I would continue working for an associative process in all Euskalherria (the Basque Country).
Would it be possible in the future, therefore, to come to terms with three provinces...?
You can’t do political fiction. If I were asked to choose between territorial integrity with a level of self-government capable of defending our characteristic features, our legitimate interests as a people, etc. or a process of immediate independence for a part of the Country, I would opt for territorial integrity. But this is political fiction. It is not being proposed in these terms.
Yes but that’s what happened in 1979, no?
No. There was only one option then. No choice was possible and we could only leave the door open to the will of the Navarros.
And today this seems impossible?
No, for that we have the fourth transitional, that well-known regulation of the Constitution that was the hardest negotiation I have attended in my life. Some with their usual far-sightedness say that it has to be left out because, to justify their rejection of this only route open for the integrity of the South of the Basque Country, they argue that it is annexationist, which is rubbish because if one day a possible political association is agreed then the terms will be discussed: if it is going to be of a confederative type or whatever nature; if Navarra is going to have the political centrality or the Autonomous Basque Community is to have it. This is negotiated at the time. But here there are some clairvoyants in the disruptive world who say that the transitional is a pitfall for Navarra, when it is the only route left, the majority referendum of the Navarros. As always the phenomenon of the extremes that are touched on makes the ultra-right in Navarra also say that that the fourth transitional regulation has to be taken out because obviously they see it as the sword of Damocles for their intention to cut off and convert Navarra into a province like Burgos for the purpose of incorporating it into a political association with the rest of the country.
What you always need to have is an expedient route so that the majority will, which you must win over with arguments, makes this reunification viable. What you cannot do is leave the rest of the country on stand-by, 75% or 80% or permanently. And what you cannot do is bypass the will of the people in Navarra, although it’s good to remember that it was the Navarra Government that launched that famous proclamation in 1868, asking of the other Basque governments that “we have to join up in the closest union possible, because this is what our history, our culture, our language demands....”
So, every time the question of Basque self-government is posed, Navarra is not Burgos, for this purpose. Navarra has always been considered as a fundamental part of the Euskal Herria and has to have an expedient route for this will of integration which at times has been the majority, as in 1979, with the PSOE12. The D’Hont law of 1977 and later betrayal of the PSOE prevented it. Since then, suddenly, the Spanish ultra-right, especially in Navarra, and seconded by the PSOE, says “This is already consolidated, because there are two differentiated communities”. No, no. This Basque sentiment, which they themselves have defended, continues to exist with their inconsistencies and which they now do not defend. What I want to say with all of this is that you can’t sidestep the will of the Navarros, just like you cannot impose manu militari that Iparralde joins a political project, but you have to open routes. The fourth transitional was the way out that we found in 1979, and consequently the UPN13 was born, which broke with the UCD14, also a significant fact. The extreme right that we have in Navarra, which the PSOE seconds, wants to repeal the regulation, as does break-away nationalism. I insist that you have to have an expedient route in the law to allow political association in the future, whether this be independence or the actual self-government of the Statute of Autonomy.
Garaikoetxea (Iruñea, 1938)
Married and has three children. Lawyer and graduate in Economic Sciences, Developed his professional activity in business administration and in his own legal practice. Was president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Navarre and while at the same time participated in various philanthropic and cultural work, especially in defence of the Basque language and in promoting ikastolas (Basque language schools) during the dictatorship of Franco. Was elected president of PNV15 at the end of the dictatorship and in 1980 resigned from this post due to incompatibility with the presidency of the Basque Government. Was president of the General Basque Council (provisional Government 1979-1980) and elected Lehendakari (President of the Basque Government) in two legislatures (1980 and 1984). Has been parliamentarian for Navarra, member of the European parliament in two legislatures and member of the Basque parliament in five legislatures. Was president of EFA (European Free Alliance) and of Eusko Alkartasuna (Basque social-democratic party) since its founding conference in 1987 to 1999.
Through his articles has cooperated with various publications and communication media, and has recently published the book “Euskadi: la transición inacabada” (Euskadi: the incomplete transition).
1 Basque speaking schools.
2 Term in Basque for the president of the Basque Autonomous Community.
3 Initials in Spanish for Nationalist Basque Party (PNV).
4 Initials in Basque for the Basque Communist Movement.
5 Initials in Basque for the Basque Socialist Party.
6 Term in Basque for the Basque Country.
7 Mr. President.
8 “Long live the Basque Country”.
9 Term in Basque meaning Basque Solidarity, a nationalist and independist political party.
10 The people of Navarra.
11 The French Basque provinces.
12 Initials in Spanish for the Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party.
13 Initials in Spanish for the right-wing political party Union of the People of Navarra.
14 Initals in Spanish for a former right-wing political party Central Democratic Union.
15 Political party.
Would you like to collaborate with Euskonews? Send us questions for our next interviews
Arbaso Elkarteak Eusko Ikaskuntzari 2005eko Artetsu sarietako bat eman dio Euskonewseko Artisautza atalarengatik
On line komunikabide onenari Buber Saria 2003
Astekari elektronikoari Merezimenduzko Saria