The Basque agricultural protests, which have now continued for three consecutive days and are expected to continue for several more, arrived this Thursday at the very door of the Basque Parliament. While inside the Chamber, a law for energy transition and against climate change was approved, after an agreement of great political importance between the Government of PNV and PSE-EE with EH Bildu, and an initiative was debated to “improve the comfort of the primary sector.” Outside the country, a hundred people, without tractors, advanced in a so-called demonstration for more than an hour and a half, and there were some moments of tension with the Mobile Brigade (anti-riot) of the Ertzaintza.
Gipuzkoa did not stop sending leachate to Artajona until the company, which was sanctioned and closed due to irregularities, asked it to do so.
The law against climate change, one of the four approved by the last part of the government of Iñigo Urkullu, played an important role in extending the legislature a few weeks before the elections. The final text was worked on closely between the executive and EH Bildu. One of the negotiators of this formation is Pello Otxandiano, who is better known today because he was appointed as the lehendakari candidate. He attended the session as a guest and followed it from a box. The law was enacted with a very large majority, but not unanimously. From the left, Elkarrekin Podemos-IU generated harsh criticism. The right, PP, Ciudadanos, and Vox also oppose it.
The Minister of Economic Development, Sustainability, and Environment, Arantxa Tapia, who saw how the original law planned by the government was radically changed in the parliamentary process, highlighted the “ambition” of the new text, as well as the “realism” in it, and considered that “it can be a day for the celebration of Euskadi” because of the measures that will be implemented. The criteria, for example, set the objectives for decarbonization in 2050 with a stop in 2030 and 2040, create an autonomous charge—something unusual in the Basque Country—to tax renewable installations from 2025 and propose to disinvest in hydrocarbon projects such as Viura, the extraction of gas. project in La Rioja exploited by the autonomous company Shesa. Tapia does not want to ignore the climate of protests in the Basque Country, in Spain, and in Europe in the first sector. He indicated that the articles “are especially sensitive to agricultural activity because it cannot be otherwise.” He mentioned that by 2030, 25% organic farming and a commitment to the “local market” or “rational land use” are proposed. In his party, Unai Grajales played a key role in the months of negotiations, emphasizing the “flexibility” of the parties to weave a shared consensus that now must continue to develop and also the personal involvement of the Lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu, to complete the legislature in this matter to be resolved.
The government’s partner, the PSE-EE, wants to promote the participation of the socialists in the environmental regulations of Spain and various autonomous communities, now also in Basque, but also the trust framework established by the PNV and EH Bildu to get it. ahead. “The politics of things versus the things of politics,” said Alberto Alonso, who correctly emphasized that the law that was finally approved was very different from Tapia’s initial proposal. As an example, he indicated that it would allow investments in fossil fuels to be used to promote renewables.
“This is a good law. We do an honest job. We got here with a pick and shovel,” said Mikel Otero, EH Bildu’s spokesperson on environmental matters. He told Councilor Tapia in the first person to thank him for his “effort” to redirect a “bad law,” although he took the opportunity to demand that he had not yet approved the renewable energy plan, which is already in the draft phase, before the end of the legislature. After the vote, the two kissed and congratulated each other.
From the Elkarrekin Podemos-IU bench, Podemos’ number two, David Soto, took the floor. He recalled that Euskadi declared a “climate emergency” in 2019 but denied that “better late than never” would apply. The left-wing coalition, as it has insisted in recent weeks, is against the approved text. Soto considers that the rule lacks the prohibition of infrastructure in protected spaces or the guarantee of transportation discounts by law until 2030. They also propose an increase in teleworking by 15% during that period. The representative of Podemos also considers that the paymen washes away the installation of some projects in exchange for money. However, he has lowered his tone against EH Bildu because, in recent days, he has been accused of covering “retardant” policies beneficial to the energy oligopoly. PSE-EE humiliates Podemos because in the Spanish government, it supports state regulations, and here it distances itself.
In the PP, Muriel Larrea thanked the PNV for including “more than half” of its proposals but indicated that it was not possible to vote in favor of a text that would compromise the Basque economy because it did not provide alternatives to some changes in defense themselves. Vox made a clear ideological speech criticizing the “tax guidelines” of the “2030 agenda” and the “green principle.” Ciudadanos did not participate in the debate. After the vote, he used his turn to explain the vote and criticize the fact that the government opted for an agreement with EH Bildu to resolve this matter.
Generational relief in the countryside
After the law, the government reached a new agreement, this time also with Elkarrekin Podemos-IU in addition to EH Bildu, in a debate on the transformation of the generation in the primary sector. The resolution agreed upon by the four parties suggests that the Executive will work with councils, city councils, and “agents involved in the agricultural sector” to prepare a “diagnosis” of the needs of the next decade. A “database will be created with active farms without visible generational change.” Likewise, it is suggested that “the implementation of pilot projects in agricultural test areas will be promoted, as a pre-installation program, to facilitate the participation of people from outside the primary sector to test their activity before accessing other programs.” or help like Gaztenek.”
Importantly, and as a message of what is happening in the streets, this message is included in the approved document: “The Basque Parliament recognizes and appreciates the service provided by the main sector of our society, which gives it the healthy, sustainable, quality, and preserving our landscape and environment, and is committed to continuing to work, according to its abilities, to improve its profitability and guarantee its future.”
A rancher from the town of Alava in Kuartango served as the spokesperson for the early protest. “We’re going out with a lot of energy. People don’t want to stop. The situation on the field is complicated,” said Julen Martínez de Santos. He blamed the causes of the conflict on the “2030 agenda.”. He also regretted that the Ertzaintza treated them “like criminals,” something they did not intend to “accept.”. In recent days, there have been some clashes with the police and with the Parliament, and cases have also been registered. The Mobile Brigade pushed the protest line a few meters back with batons and shields to leave a corridor so they could enter the chamber. Of course, the Lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu, did not arrive walking as usual.
It happened that, while the protest in the first sector took place, it coincided with the time of one of the unions of Ertzaintza Erne, Esan, and Sipe, which demanded improvements in their working conditions. The police have been monitoring the protest with their colleagues and mobilized the officers to take care of the deer. Some farmers encouraged the unionists to support them, but this did not happen, and the centers continued their criticism of the management of the vice president and security councilor, Josu Erkoreka, accompanied by loud music.