Basque nationalist leader rejects Catalan independence model

Regional premier Íñigo Urkullu says it is not possible to create a new EU state “overnight”

Basque regional premier Íñigo Urkullu.
Basque regional premier Íñigo Urkullu.javier hernandez juantegui

Basque regional premier Iñigo Urkullu said on Wednesday that Catalonia’s unilateral independence bid is not a model to follow for his own region.

Urkullu, of the moderate Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), said that a new European Union state cannot be created “overnight,” much less through the kind of unilateral declaration of independence designed by the Catalan separatists who won a majority of seats, though not of votes, at the September 27 regional election.

Spain needs a David Cameron who can dialogue in order to reach agreements and offer solutions”

Basque premier Iñigo Urkullu

In statements made on SER radio station in Bilbao, Urkullu said he was aware that many Catalans have been angered by successive central governments in Madrid, and suggested that some of the separatist attitudes on display in Catalonia today have been caused by “the zero intelligence” displayed by the state in its treatment of Spain’s various cultural groups.

If the Basque Country, another traditional hotbed of nationalist sentiment, were ever to consider a breakaway from Spain, it would be as a result of dialogue with Madrid, he said.

But the person to enter into dialogue with is not current Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, he added. “Not the Rajoy I know.”

According to Urkullu, what Spain needs now is “a David Cameron who can dialogue in order to reach agreements and offer solutions.”

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Asked about a motion presented in the Basque parliament by radical left-wing parties to try to pave the way for a referendum on self-rule in 2016, Urkullu said he did not see that happening, and attributed the move to electoral motives.

“I have a lot of respect for initiatives, but I have to say that […] EH Bildu is putting forward initiatives out of internal necessity and for electoral purposes.”

On Tuesday, EH Bildu, the heir to parties once associated with terrorist group ETA, came up with a draft Consultation Law mirroring efforts that led to Catalonia’s unofficial referendum on self-rule a year ago.

Party spokesperson Hasier Arraiz said the goal of its project was to “accelerate the decomposition of the Spanish state.”

English version by Susana Urra.

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