EFAy stands for the promotion of the Breton at University. The situation of the Breton language is in a bad spot currently. The number of Breton speakers has never been so low as it is now, although more and more children learn it at primary school.
This is due to the fact that Breton language courses are still scarce today, especially at University. In Brittany, only two universities out of four offer a sufficient amount of courses to allow students to be proficient enough and use Breton in their working environment. There are not enough Breton teachers today causing the closure of immersive schools, despite the willingness of pupils to attend them.
In the department of Loire-Atlantique (which was separated from the Brittany region 50 years ago), the problem is bigger. This is where the number of Breton learners has increased the most. There have been, however, no Breton courses offered at University since 2004.
Paradoxically, Breton is taught in Universities of many foreign countries, but not in every Breton University!
With this declaration, EFAy supports that the Breton language has to be taught in all the Breton Universities. This is a crucial point for the survival of the language.
EFAY condemns the political and economical centralism as a negation of the right for self-determination. Today, centralism emphasizes the consequences of liberal choices. In France, the policies leading to a fairer repartition of jobs and investments have disappeared and the spatial organization of activities and population haven been entrusted to the rules of the market, with a historical advantage of centuries of domination for Paris.
Economic activity concentration is being strengthened by the concentration of services: hospitals, post offices, and even social services leave rural areas to become a privilege for the biggest towns' citizens. Supporters of the centralized political system claim centralism is the best way to promote equality between regions and cities. But in truth, the central State increases the inequalities in concentrating its investments and subventions in few cities, and tries to prevent the peoples of Corsica, Brittany and the Basque Country from getting the institutional tools to develop their economy in a more endogenic way. French state administration implements liberal policies that claim that a bigger center would be beneficial for everyone– even if its growth is paid by people of other regions!
Recently, the government has decided to create a new administrative status for big cities (« metropolis ») in order for them to become stronger in a global competition. By promoting the competition between a few big cities in place of solidarity and local autonomy, the French Government has betrayed François Hollande's promise of a real decentralization.
The EFAY defends the principle of subsidiarity, the solidarity between and into territories, and supports the recent demonstrations in Brittany and the Basque Country for a fairer repartition of powers and jobs.
Citizens are pushed to public protest because of their difficult circumstances and to fight for their rights. The authorities are taking advantage of the crisis to repress people. Public protests are taking place all the time, because of corruption, economic crisis, eviction, and hunger.
Within the context of the dire economic, political, institutional and social crisis currently affecting the Spanish State, the Spanish government in Madrid has unleashed a wave of repression in response to the civil protests demanding a shift in policy, with daily identifications and detentions and even the banning of demonstrations in defence of basic rights.
With that aim in mind, the Spanish government is drafting a new Law on Public Security intended to seriously restrict civil and political rights and even to penalise acts deemed to constitute an offense to the symbols of the Kingdom of Spain (its flag and institutions, etc.). This measure would particularly affect organisations from nations oppressed by the Spanish State fighting for the right of peoples to decide for themselves and national sovereignty for our countries. It remarks once again the Francoist spirit of Mariano Rajoy’s government, which reinforces the powers of the National Court.
The EFAy rejects this law which constitutes a breach of citizens’ basic rights and states its opposition to this reform, calling upon the European institutions to ensure full compliance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union by all member States.
Aragón Ski Circus is the name of a new Project for the union of ski slopes of the Pyrenees in Huesca. It is expected to join the ski slopes of Candanchú, Astún and Formigal, and then Canfranc train station. It will be the largest ski area of Spain, and one of the top ten largest in the world, with over two hundred kilometers. The aim is to join the slopes as soon as possible, and the Government promises to help the project when the economy gets better.
In reality, it is an unnecessary project that seriously harms the environment. It is calculated that the project will cost between thirty-five and forty million Euros. We are in times of crisis and it is difficult to find credit financing large enough for such a huge project.
In this case, speculation takes place, because some parts of the land are areas of special geological interest not yet catalogued as such, and the reason is that you cannot build infrastructure or change geology of protected areas.
This project does not benefit the economy, because it encourages a type of economy based only on ski tourism resources for all of the affected area, leaving the economy at the expenses of snow business and without an alternative.
We must defend preservation of the environment and the areas of geological interest. Also, we desire economy diversity for the affected areas.
Aragón has been a land with a historical linguistic diversity. In the territory of Aragón three languages are spoken: Spanish, Catalan (in the oriental area) and Aragonese (Pyrenean and Pre Pyrenean areas). Our Law of Languages, approved in 2009, recognised our three languages. It was a difficult and hard fight obtaining it. Now, five years later, it has changed.
Last ninth of May, a law of languages was approved by the government of Aragón, that commits an outrage against the linguistic diversity. Our languages like we knew them have disappeared from the law. Now, in an attempt of despising them they have been given new and invented names, instead of historical and real ones.
This law not only does not recognize the trilingual historical reality of Aragón. In addition, it limits more and more the rights of their use for the administration. The Aragonese disappears and its remainder is to be called a "Lengua Aragonesa Propia del Área Pirenaica y Prepirenaica" (LAPAPYP), meaning the Aragonese Language of the Pyrenean and Pre Pyrenean areas. The serious situation in which the Aragonese is nowadays, recognized by the EU as the language most threatened within the whole of Europe, demands a series of measures that prevent his short-term disappearance and promote its learning, diffusion and utilization, as indicated in some European recommendations to the Government.
After more than five centuries, the Catalan language has disappeared from Aragón. Now it has to be known as "Lengua Aragonesa Propia del Área Oriental" (LAPAO), meaning “Aragonese Language of the Oriental Area”. This measure has been used as a tool against the Catalanism movement.
We desire a society that respects, understands and supports our linguistic diversity. Furthermore, the Government should promote this position to protect our three mother languages, instead of pushing them into oblivion.
The Right to Education is recognized in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as a human right, which is being affected by some new measures that are putting at risk the future of people.
Primary and Secondary education has been affected by a new Education Law in Spain, called Ley Orgánica para la Mejora de la Calidad Educativa (LOMCE), that holds the aversion of most of society, especially the education community: teachers, parents and students. This new law makes public education development difficult and limits economic resources. Jobs are eliminated and the consequence of this is that there are fewer teachers and more children in a class, and the professional attention that the children need for their correct learning is very low. In addition, the grants are going down and the conditions to gain them are getting harder.
Higher education is not any better off. Prices for vocational training and for University studies have increased. And the number of grants for students has decreased significantly. The Erasmus Programme has stumbled on difficult times. All of these problems result in social class discrimination.
First employment is one of the main difficulties for European young people. For example, in November 2012, the number of unemployed Aragonese without previous employment was of more than 7500. And the statistics do not improve, because the rate of young unemployment in Aragón at the end of the first quarter of 2013 was 52,83 %, with a more dramatic situation for young people between 16 and 19 years old: only nine hundred people of the six thousand and eight hundred who wanted to be employed at the Aragon territory have a job.
As we have seen, now more than ever, young people need to be supported by Governments to build a thriving future. The European Union tries to promote youth employment; an example of it is the European Youth Guarantee. The European Youth Guarantee is a tool that ensures that every young person under twenty-five years old in Europe is offered a job, further education or work-focused training at the latest four months after leaving education or after becoming unemployed. The aim of this is to avoid that a young European goes more than four months without a job, education or work-focused training. Furthermore, it is necessary to complete the Youth Guarantee with supported tools that should include imperatively the linguistic areas, as well as the labor practical experience, and to supply geographic mobility.
In these difficult times for the youth, we desire that the society supports the improvement of the measures for young people and a plan to establish acceptable conditions to everybody. EFAy urges the Spanish government not to implement the LOMCE law, by respecting the powers of autonomous governments in education.
The "fracking" technology consists of the gas extraction from unconventional deposits by the injection of water mixed with chemical substances. Experts warn that some of the chemical substances used for it are toxic and carcinogenic. The technology is used in slightly porous and permeable soils, which significantly increases the environmental costs. Unfortunately, fracking is a rising technology.
One of the main problems of fracking is the high quantity of water required, about 15000 cubic metres per gas extraction. The addition of chemical additives, some of them toxic or carcinogenic, during the process of hydraulic fracture contaminates aquifers and pollutes the air, putting public health at risk. The probability of earthquakes increases in the areas where gas extraction takes place. In addition, the environmental impact is large because of the need of access to huge areas of land. Each gas well has a lifespan of five to seven years, so it is necessary to dig new gas wells all the time. The technology of fracking is very expensive, it causes serious environmental effects, problems of health, bringing abundant economic benefits to the companies, but not to the territory.
Today, applications have been made to eleven percent of the territory of. Especially affected are the Pyrenees and the Iberian System. In the Plenary session of the Parliament of Aragon of November 2012, Chunta Aragonesista obtained a unanimous decision declaring that the aggressive technology of hydraulic fracture for the extraction of hydrocarbons, or fracking, should not be used in Aragon, being the first parliament of the State to do so.
As we live in a democracy, the Aragonese Government must respect the decisions of the legislative chamber. Therefore, the Government should enforce the decision of the Aragonese Parliament.
Catalonia is living a historical moment, since there will be a referendum for independence on the 9th of November of 2014. Since a few years ago, the independent movement has increased a lot, and nowadays there is a big social majority in favour of the independence. The Catalan society has a clear will, and they have taken the streets more than once to show it to the world.
Everything started with the local polls in 2010, when almost all the villages, towns and cities of Catalonia made local polls to ask people about independence. These little referendums were a total success, and they showed to the Catalan society that a referendum was possible. After that, on the Catalan National Day of 2012, more than 2 million people took to the streets of Barcelona, claiming independence. It was the biggest demonstration that had ever taken place in the Catalan Countries. So once again, the will of the Catalan people was reaffirmed. In 2013, also in the National Day, the people of Catalonia took to the streets again, but this time the Catalan Society built a huge human chain of more than 400 km, going from North Catalonia to the Valencian Country, and also in the Balearic Islands, demonstrating the will of a unique nation, the Catalan Countries.
The Spanish government is not in favour of this democratic process, and it will try to avoid the right to vote of the people, attacking the Catalan nation, as it always does. There are many attacks that the Spanish government has made recently against the Catalan Countries. In Catalonia, they don't want to negotiate, and they are doing everything they can to avoid the referendum, but they are also tackling the rest of the nation. The Spanish government is trying to suppress the Catalan language; for example, in the Balearic Islands the Popular Party is changing the educational model, reducing Catalan classes. In the Valencian Country they closed the National Radio and Television, and leaving the Valencian society without any public media in Catalan. On the other hand, the Spanish Government not only attacks our culture, it also assaults us economically with the fiscal spoliation, and with a lack of investment, that affects negatively the whole society and its welfare.
Recently, the Catalan political forces have reached an agreement to hold a referendum this year, the 9th of November 2014, so the society will have the opportunity of express their opinion with this vote. The Catalan people needs all possible international support to be able to make the referendum happen and to condemn the behaviour of the Spanish Government.
It is a historical moment for the Catalan Countries, as part of the nation will have the opportunity to decide its future. The Catalan people have to win the referendum to be free, and to start a new era building a new and fair country, and continue working for the reunification.
The European Free Alliance Youth
On November 5th 2013, the Superior Court of Justice of the Valencian Country (TSJPV) enacted its judgement about the labour force adjustment plan (ERO) affecting 1000 employees of Ràdio Televisió Valenciana (RTVV). The court reversed the plan because of many irregularities and the violation of workers’ fundamental rights, declared unlawful the whole process and forced Generalitat Valenciana to readmit 1000 employees who were laid-off between December 2012 and August 2013.
The reaction of the Valencian government and its President, Alberto Fabra, was announcing the closure of RTVV, alleging economic unsustainability to execute the court’s sentence, and public company liquidation, dismissing the whole workforce from RTVV of 1600 employees. Moreover, the Valencian government decided not to readmit workers in their workplace, but giving a paid leave from the public budget until the company’s liquidation. This closure has a clear privatization and recentralization motive and it’s the repetition of the attempt to privatize RTVV in late 90s by President Eduardo Zaplana. That privatization was stopped at the court by employees, but Zaplana’s government modified RTVV’s law to allow millions in debt and RTVV deterioration by manipulating information and low quality content. With this strategy, continued by every Popular Party government in the Valencian Country, they achieved the rejection from part of the Valencian society to a public service.
The closure of RTVV, ratified by PP’s majority in the Valencian Parliament on November 27th and executed on 12:19 of November 29th, is an attack to fundamental rights of citizenship and represents a loss of the Valencian Country’s public radio and television, removing a public service designed to ensure proximity information, territorial articulation and diffusion of the Catalan language in the Valencian Country. In addition, it’s part of the recentralization process in the Spanish State and part of the general attack to our own language and culture. Closing RTVV is a breach in Use and Teaching of Valencian Law, with 30 years of validity, and the Autonomy Statute and RTVV creation Law.
RTVV’s disappearance is a fatal blow to the audiovisual sector in the Valencian Country, heavily punished by terrible management of RTVV (with some managers involved in corruption cases) which provoked millions in debt and many company extinctions. According to the latest predictions, with RTVV closure 4000 jobs will be lost.
Nowadays, the Valencian Country doesn’t have any radio or television in the Catalan language, due to RTVV closure and prohibition of Catalan television ruled by Popular Party government. This situation is a dangerous threat to the Catalan language in the Valencian Country and disappearance of a shared communication space within the Catalan Countries.
The European Free Alliance Youth
One of the limitations of rights we are suffering in our society is that of the abortion law. A new abortion law will remove the right to abortion in all but two cases: in case of rape (during the first twelve weeks), and in case of health risk to the mother (during the first twenty-two weeks).
The draft reform proposed by the Spanish government would set the legal clock back 30 years, effectively denying women a basic right enshrined as a human right by the United Nations.
Its approval would deny women in the Spanish State the right to decide freely over their own bodies, leaving the decision in the hands of healthcare professionals or even judges, under the pretext of defending the right to life of the unborn foetus.
It is clear that motherhood which does not respond to a freely-made decision is an imposition. At the same time, the recriminalisation of abortion would bring with it an additional burden for poorer women, unable to terminate pregnancy in countries where abortion is illegal. Were it to be approved by Parliament, the draft reform presented by the Spanish government would lead to an upsurge of backstreet abortions, performed in unhygienic conditions with no guarantees for the women involved who, in many cases, would even be risking their lives.
In the light of this situation, we call upon the European Free Alliance Youth: