Introduction – back cover
Europeans in the sixties to the nineties knew about the Basques. Today, to the millenials the Basques are almost invisible as the end of conflict took them off the front pages. Active for six decades in what most considered terrorism, some saw as resistance. The war ended in 2011. On the ground. Not on paper. There has yet to be a peace treaty.
As Basques take a breather and go on ´standby mode´ the media focus has switched several hundred kilometres to the east as Catalans threaten to leave Spain. North of the Pyrenees beckons Core Europe, the heartland of an association that also came into being sixty years ago. Today a bloated ramshackle organisation of 28 states, it is set to lose Britain and could even unravel altogether. Or retreat to a hardcore group of a handful of states – possibly the same ones that kicked off the experiment in 1957.
Thus the radical Basque challenge and the European conglomeration were both born in the 1950s. After years of debate and soul searching, the independence movement in the second decade of the XXI century has become a normal social and political movement. The EU elite has yet to find its soul as self-imposed austerity, globalisation and brutal depression push millions of embittered Europeans to seek solace in the politics of the 1930s, both on the Right and Left.
This book anchors the Basques to a history which helps explain their choices for the future, touching on aspirations for sovereignty, located in a rapidly reconfiguring Europe. External factors seem set to kickstart a profound debate in the Basque Country about their options. If Catalonia becomes independent, is it feasible for Basques to remain in a diminished Spain? If the EU falls apart, would the Basques be better off going solo, trying to join up with Core European states? What happens to migrants from abroad and descendents of migrants from other parts of Iberia? How could Spain south of the River Ebro, especially Andalucia, survive without the Basques and Catalans? Have Basques discarded their early XX century narrow nationalism for genuine popular independence in the early XXI century? Even though they belong to one of the richest zones in the EU, can three million Basques survive against three billion Asians? Does it make sense or is it mission impossible? Fear of failure seldom stopped them from trying. With megalomania coursing through much of its past, one has to take them seriously and be prepared for anything.
Introduction – back cover