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EU voices ‘great satisfaction’ on end of ETA violence

European Union leaders welcomed with “great satisfaction” on Sunday the decision by Basque group ETA to end more than 40 years of separatist violence.

“This is undoubtedly the victory of democracy and freedom in Spain and throughout the Union,” the EU’s 27 leaders said in a draft statement obtained by AFP that will be formally adopted at a summit later in the day.

Opening the summit talks that are focussed on Europe’s debt crisis, EU president Herman Van Rompuy, too, noted the ETA move as “an important development” and voiced his “great satisfaction.”

In their statement, the leaders expressed appreciation to the whole of “Spanish society for their steadfastness and determination in the long struggle against terrorist violence.”

They also voiced “special thanks” to France, which helped combat ETA fighters using the country as a backstop.