Europe only just backs Spain's stance on ETA
25 October 2006, STRASBOURG — The European parliament backed Spain's peace process with ETA in a close vote.
25 October 2006
STRASBOURG — The European parliament backed Spain's peace process with ETA in a close vote.
After heated debate in the parliament, an attempt by conservatives to declare that ETA had not met pre-conditions for peace talks was only narrowly defeated by 321 votes to 311.
MEP Martin Schulz, a German, said it was important to lend support to the Spanish government's attempts to find peace.
But opponents said the peace talks and the debate only served to give publicity to "terrorists".
The European Popular Party, made up of conservatives, called on ETA and its political wing Batasuna - a party outlawed in Spain - to publicly ask forgiveness of victims of ETA terrorism.
It also demanded that the group hand over its weapons as a condition for proceeding with peace talks.
Meanwhile, a large demonstration in Madrid by victims of terrorism opposed the debate.
ETA, an acronym for the Basque language words for Homeland and Freedom, has killed 817 people since taking up arms in 1968 to seek a Basque nation comprising parts of northern Spain and southern France.
ETA has employed car bombs and assassinated military or police personnel, as well as politicians, journalists and government officials.
The Basque Region enjoys significant autonomy and is governed by the PNV, a moderate nationalist party that, like the great majority of Basques, rejects ETA and terrorist violence.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news