Basque Politics Series

What is the nature of the Basque Country “political system”? This series considers this complicated question. The Basque Country forms a differentiated cultural community that shares customs, folklore, a way of life, a language—Basque—that is among the oldest in Europe, and yet is divided between two international frontiers—France and Spain—and has major internal subdivisions, most notably between the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country (the provinces of Araba, Bizkaia, and Gipuzkoa) and the Foral Community of Navarre. In France, the Basque provinces of Lapurdi, Lower Navarre, Zuberoa (Iparralde) have little or no administrative separation from the centralist regime, while Hegoalde—the Basque provinces on the southern side of the international frontier—has varying degrees of autonomous powers within the fitfully decentralizing Spanish state, but is split into two distinct subdivisions with different powers, relations to the central state, and historical development. An added layer of complexity is added by the supranational powers of the European Union and the Basque Country’s place in it, as well as the historically important relations of the Basque Country to the members of its worldwide diaspora.