This year is the Eusko's fifth birthday. This solidarity and ecology-focused local currency is used in Lapurdi, Lower Navarre and Zuberoa (the northern Basque Country, which is under French administration). It is strongly supported by both citizens and institutions, and the aim is to continue enlarging the network which uses it. To celebrate the fifth anniversary, a "great family-style party" has been organised for 4th March.
Dante Edme-Sanjurjo, the chairperson of the association which manages the currency, says that there are certainly things to celebrate. Over the last five years the currency has been used more and more, and a bright future lies ahead. He says that the key to this success has been the connections which have been built around this shared project: "It's connections between people in different sectors which give the project its strength." Amongst other things, the 3,000 people who use the Eusko in their daily lives. "They are people who are working for a more Basque-speaking, more ecological and more solidarity-focused Basque Country", in Edme-Sanjurjo's words.
The challenge is for Eusko users to have a broader profile in the future; for it to enter the daily lives of people with no direct link with the currency. The current users are people with strong social commitment: "Some people use it to make the local economy more dynamic, and defend local employment. Others use it because they believe that the Basque Country should have its own currency. Some others want to help small shops and local agriculture. We have to get to people not involved in those areas."
It is promoted by citizens, but public administrations also support it. For instance, Jean-Rene Etchegaray, the mayor of Baiona, has set up projects to promote the currency, and he is very clear about what is behind the measures against local currencies which have been taken by the French government: “I think it's a type of Jacobin anger, because our local currency's doing very well in the Basque Country. I see it as their desire to centralise power."
People who live outside the northern Basque Country can support the currency too; you can become a member by clicking on www.euskalmoneta.org. However, Edme-Sanjurjo underlines that the best way to support this local currency is by going to Baiona on 4th March.
A Spanish court in Navarre (Basque Country) sentenced five men to nine years in prison for gang raping a teenage girl in 2016 in Iruñea, during the world-known Sanfermin celebration. Now they will be able to leave prison, after a controversial judicial decision. The bail of 6,000 euros imposed by the judge has generated outrage among the Basques.
Wednesday 13th June, Altsasu. Banners saying "Leave Altsasu Alone" decorate the balconies in the town. You can feel the pain, but no grief or resignation. To the contrary: the town's solidarity and strength is palpable. There are three or four locals having their afternoon coffee at Koxka Bar. 606 days have gone by since the brawl which took place there between some young locals and two Civil Guards and their sentimental partners. That is where it all started, on a market... [+]
Gure Esku Dago ('It's in Our Hands', a platform in favour of the right to decide) needed 100,000 people to form a human chain linking Donostia, Bilbao and Gasteiz. According to the organizers, 175,000 people came together to connect the three Basque cities.
"Damages, public disorder and threats" and "attacking authority" are the crimes which the Spanish National Court has charged eight young Basques with.
A member of the 'Ongi Etorri Errefuxiatuak' movement ('Welcome to the Refugees') has told Radio Bilbao that over the last three months no ships from Saudi Arabia have docked at Bilbao. Over the previous sixteen months they had loaded 455 containers. According to OEE, social pressure has made them use another port.
The Bizitza da handiena ('Life is the Greatest Thing') campaign was held in Donostia from 19th to 27th May. 63 citizens' movements and trades unions joined in with the "social struggle week" and proclaimed the need for a "citizens' capital". Different trenches have made up a single front. The anti-tourism protest got its message across, the World Tourism Organization holding its highest level meeting in city during the same week as the protest movement.
A year has gone by since Iberdrola electric company and the Basque Government cut the power on the Errekaleor district of Gasteiz. The project then became known to many people, and there was a huge wave of solidarity. Amongst other things, they collected € 10,000 to create their own energy system and now, one year later, they want to thank everybody who took part in the fund-raising on May 20th, which they are calling 100 mila esker ("A Hundred Thousand Thanks") Day.
Thousands of people came together at Herri Urrats (The People's Steps), the festivity which Basque schools (ikastolas) in the northern Basque Country hold every year. Seaska ikastola federation's request to the French government for more teachers was the main subject of conversation this year.
We went through a cathartic process on October 20th, 2011, when they renounced violence, but now, too, writing that ETA has disappeared is no small thing. When you realise everything that means, a shiver goes down your spine. There have been too many events and feelings, too much suffering over the last 60 years for it to be otherwise.
The punishment for a group of men who attacked a women has caused anger in the Basque Country and in Spain. Five men have been tried for attacking a woman during the 2016 San Fermin festivities at Iruñea, Navarre. The Navarrese High Court's reading of the sentence caused considerable media interest: each of the men has been condemned to a nine-year sentence, expenses of 50,000 euros and a restraining order.