Declaration by the EAJ-PNV (Basque Nationalist Party) on the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement
Today, 10th April 2023, we are commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, also known as the "Belfast Agreement". An Agreement that was ratified in a referendum with 71.15% of voters in favour in Northern Ireland and with the support of 94.4% of voters in the Republic of Ireland. Today, seen from a certain historical perspective, we can affirm that this Agreement was a success on the long path towards definitive peace in Ireland, despite the periods of institutional deadlocks and sporadic outbreaks of violence recorded in this period of time. Furthermore, many lives have been saved thanks to the Good Friday Agreement and it has also been a real stimulus to economic growth and to the social well-being of the citizens most directly affected. And, even though no two situations are the same, the complex resolution of this conflict has a universal dimension that could also serve as an inspiration when seeking ways to resolve other existing conflicts.
The Good Friday Agreement demonstrates that no conflict need be irresolvable or never-ending. And that it is always possible to find a path to a solution based on desire, Agreement and determination. There are many lessons that can and must be learned from this long and sinuous process. These include the value of politics above any form of coercion or expression of violence. In this regard, the courage and political leadership exercised by all participants in the negotiations, even above the armed organizations themselves, were vital in order to reach an Agreement in extremis.
In the face of the internal historical deadlock, the determination of the Governments of London and Dublin, proposing paths to a solution, and the necessary international backing, with the decisive involvement of the Government of the United States, were two deciding factors in directing the negotiations and in channelling and guaranteeing the Agreement.
Above all, the Good Friday Agreement was inclusive, given that it managed to integrate internal actors and political parties from the Northern provinces and also to involve the London and Dublin Governments in the newly-created institutions, always directed at achieving an agreed solution that would be binding on all signatories. Also of particular note is the active role played by part of civil society, tired of the deteriorated social situation yet mobilised in the defence of human rights and in the active promotion of peace.
For all these reasons and on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, EAJ-PNV considers this event to be one of the key political milestones of the 20th century in Europe. An event which first made it possible to end an ill-fated period of terror and human suffering and then opened up a future of hope, peace and well-being for the new generations of Irish men and women.
Today, in the third decade of the 21st century, Northern Ireland is facing a different type of challenge, conditioned by a new political reality, by the recently renewed protocol for Northern Ireland in the Windsor Framework Agreement and also by the consequences of a Brexit which was rejected there in a referendum. At present, there are a range of scenarios and possible solutions for its society. However, it is the actual Good Friday Agreement that lays the foundations for the future, based on the right to self-determination residing in the people of Northern Ireland.