Government of Navarre described as having failed to meet European requirements

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sun Sep 25 15:19:17 UTC 2005


Government of Navarre described as having failed to meet European

According to the Basque Language Cultural Foundation (EKE), the report by
the European Councils Committee of Experts should force the UPN to change
its language policy

Alberto Barandiaran  IRUEA (Pamplona)

The EKE-Euskara Kultur Elkargoa insists that the Government of Navarre has
not passed the exam set by the European Council with respect to the
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Two of the
recommendations made to the Spanish Administration by the Councils
Committee of Experts refer to Navarre: the Basque language in the mixed
zone should receive the same support that it gets in the Basque-speaking
zone and Basque should be encouraged in the media. Navarre also fails to
fulfil 42 of the 57 commitments made by the Spanish Government. It must be
pointed out that 40 of the 177 pages in the report refer to Navarre and
very clear references are made to the division of Navarre into linguistic
zones, the situation of the media, the sphere of justice and the
shortcomings in the State Administration.

As far as the EKE is concerned, the language policy of the Government of
Navarre has failed to meet European requirements. If they are Europeans,
this government is under obligation to change its direction, said its
director Julen Urbiola. Since Spain ratified the Charter in April, 2001,
the EKE has been monitoring the whole process in Navarre and yesterday it
gave its appraisal of the report on the conclusions and recommendations
published by the Committee of Experts.

The EKEs chairman Koldo Martinez expressed satisfaction with the results
of the report which includes exactly what we wrote, but at the same time
he criticised the Iruea (Pamplona) administration. We have always defended
the point that languages are living things and that maps can be changed
and laws adapted. Laws are there to safeguard rights, not to establish
limits, added Urbiola. Among other things, the authors of the report are
calling on the governments to take advantage of the attitude in favour of
the Basque language and say that cooperation between the administrations
in the Southern Basque Country needs to be closer. Likewise, they point to
the huge gap between what the laws say and the true reality. The report by
the European Councils Committee of Experts refers to the issue of
Euskalerria Irratia (*) three times and stresses the need for
Basque-language television and radio in Navarre.

(*) The only Basque-language radio station in the Iruea area and which has
repeatedly been denied grants by the Government of Navarre.

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