Lola García, April 18, 2022
Deputy Director La Vanguardia
The esteladas and an ikurriña wave during a Diada de Catalunya, (Own archive image)
The independence movement decreases in the Basque Country, but the support for the parties that defend nationalism or secession increases, as reflected in the latest Sociometer of the Basque Government, a study that is usually very reliable. Only 22% support without nuances the separation from Spain, a historical record, but because of how low the percentage is. Instead, the survey reveals that the PNV and EH Bildu could win 53 of the 75 seats in Parliament, that is, more than 70% of the Chamber. Why does this paradox occur? How is it possible that the social decline of the independence movement benefits precisely the parties that are closest to that option?
Experts point out that this curious phenomenon has two fundamental causes: the first is the will of the Basques to avoid conflict and polarization after so many years under the pressure of ETA terrorism and its consequences. The second is the mirror of Catalonia. The citizens of Euskadi, who have already experienced the fiasco of the Ibarretxe plan, do not want to follow in the footsteps of the Catalan “procés” and reward the possibility, stability and adaptability shown by the PNV, a strategy to which it has also joined, very clear and without complexes, the so-called nationalist left.
It is not that in the Basque Country patriotic sentiment has been dampened. In fact, 32% of those surveyed state that they would not support independence now, but that they could do so “depending on the circumstances.” In fact, the option for secession among the Basques has always been based more on identity motivations than on economic ones, given the existing satisfaction with the concert system. In Catalonia, on the other hand, the rise of the independence movement was accompanied by the demand for a fiscal pact and the discourse of economic and investment abuse by the State. It is difficult to know if, if Catalonia had achieved better financing, support for secession would have been dampened. In short, it is possible that the Basques view what has happened in Catalonia with suspicion, while the Catalans surely view what is happening in Euskadi with envy.