The lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu, closes a summer course at the UPV-EHU on the “Challenges of Federalism and the Spanish Autonomous System”.Javier Hernandez Juantegui
The Lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu, will take advantage of the start of the parliamentary course in the Basque Country, this coming Thursday in the Vitoria Chamber, to demand that the Government of Pedro Sánchez commit to “favoring and not hindering an institutionalized participation of Euskadi in Europe” . Urkullu considers that the presence of the Basque Country “in the decision-making sphere of the European Union” constitutes “an unquestionable expression of self-government”, which is why he will once again request, as he has done on other occasions, the intervention of the Basque institutions in The EU. “The health of our self-government and our capacity for internationalization will be key in the future of our country,” maintains the President of the Basque Executive.
This will be one of the axes of the speech that Urkullu will offer this Thursday in the General Policy debate in the autonomous Parliament. In a summary of his intervention that Lehendakaritza made public this Monday, Urkullu proposes self-government as “the keystone” of the present and future of the Basque Country, and remembers that in this field there are light and shadows. The “progress” that has been made in the self-government proposal, he affirms, has not been sufficient to enable an agreement between the political parties that would give rise to a reform of the Statute of Gernika.
On the negative side, Urkullu places the “erosion” that, in his opinion, Basque self-government has suffered in various ways. On the one hand, he cites “the expansion of state regulations, even in matters whose regulatory competence is exclusive to Euskadi.” He will also criticize in that speech “the evolution of the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court, increasingly restrictive with the exercise of autonomous jurisdiction.” “Its arbitration function is a reason for growing questioning,” Urkullu will underline in the last General Policy debate of this legislature before the Basque elections, which could be held on June 9, 2023, coinciding with the European elections.
The refusal to allow Basque institutions to be present in the decision-making bodies of the EU has also worked against the development of self-government, according to the Basque president. Despite this, Urkullu will highlight the work that he has led to promote the Atlantic macro-region and the alliances that are being forged “with institutions and socioeconomic actors from all the territories of the European Atlantic facade.”
The preview of his speech does not include any reference to the Lehendakari’s latest political proposal, which he announced in an article in EL PAÍS on August 31. In that text, Urkullu advocated promoting a new “territorial pact” in Spain, which would be articulated through the creation of a “constitutional convention” to recognize “the plurinational reality of the State.” This new model, which would start from the necessary agreement between the State and the Basque Country – and which, as suggested, would be extended to the rest of the “historical communities”, in reference to Catalonia and Galicia – would not imply a reform of the Constitution but the “reinterpretation” of all the articles referring to the territorial organization of Spain. The proposal was received warmly by the Government, which described it as “legitimate” although without supporting it.
In his speech next Thursday, in addition to putting on the table “the incomplete assumption of pending transfers,” Urkullu will dedicate a specific chapter to the protection of the Basque language. The Lehendakari will argue that “the intensive questioning that some courts have raised” about the Basque language represents an attack against Basque self-government. He will thus allude to the ruling of the Constitutional Court that, last July, annulled the article of the Law of Local Institutions of Euskadi that obliged councilors and municipal workers to express their ignorance of Basque if they wanted to receive documentation in Spanish.
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Outside of issues related to current politics, Urkullu will influence two aspects that will mark the final stretch of his mandate: the objective of increasing the birth rate in the Basque Country by 10%, with support measures, and the promise of achieve that renewable energies represent 20% of final energy consumption.
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