May 22th 2024 | 4:24

Leisure & Culture

Basque in the Basque elections

Jesus Carames

April 18, 2024 | 6:30 p.m.

A few days before the elections in the Basque Country, Basque has become a focal point both in television debates and in the electoral programs of the different parties. This topic, which goes beyond simple linguistic use, encapsulates issues of cultural identity, educational policy and labor rights, offering an overview of regional political tensions and dynamics.

This Tuesday, the first television debate was held with all the lehendakari candidates on ETB2, marked by the previous absence of some candidates in debates in Basque, due to its initial preference for a format in Spanish. The choice of language for these debates is not trivial, reflecting the complexity and importance of Basque in the Basque political and social context.

Divergences in the promotion of Basque

Basque, while actively promoted by nationalist parties such as the PNV and EH Bildu, faces criticism from parties such as the PP and Vox, who denounce what they consider a "linguistic imposition." These criticisms focus especially on the Basque language requirements for public jobs, with Vox and the PP arguing that these requirements limit access to public employment for those who do not speak the language and promote a drain on talent.

On the other hand, EH Bildu proposes to more actively integrate Basque into the educational system, “offering more Basque to those who have less,” which suggests an inclusive and expansive approach to strengthening linguistic competence across the entire student population. This proposal is accompanied by the creation of an Institute for the Acquisition of Basque and the Transmission of Basque Culture, which seeks to reinforce educational resources dedicated to learning Basque.

PNV: Inclusion and diversity in the promotion of eBasque

The PNV, for its part, focuses its proposals on the accessibility of Basque, promoting free learning and adapting educational offers to various demographic groups, including migrants and workers in specific sectors such as hospitality and commerce. In addition, the party seeks to incorporate Basque in more areas of daily life, such as sports and new technologies, to ensure a greater presence of the language in Basque society.

PSE-EE and Elkarrekin Podemos: Alternative approaches

The PSE-EE advocates for a “trilingualism” with a strong English component, reflecting a more globalized perspective of language education, while continuing to support the integration of Basque into the educational system. Elkarrekin Podemos Alianza Verde, without a specific focus in its program, suggests a multilingual educational model that does not segregate students by language, promoting a more fluid and less formal integration of Basque.

Add: Flexibility and work support

Sumar proposes innovative measures such as paid work permits to study Basque, reflecting a practical approach that recognizes the time and financial barriers that workers may face when trying to learn the language. This approach not only facilitates the learning of Basque but also integrates the language into the broader context of labor rights and professional development.

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