In brief

Iparralde government grants recognition to Basque, Occitan as native languages

Decision “symbolic” but followed by “strong linguistic policy”, says deputy president

The meeting in which recognition was passed.
The meeting in which recognition was passed. Author: Communauté d\'Agglomération Pays Basque
The Agglomeration Community of the Basque Country has officially recognized Basque and Occitan as the two native languages belonging to its territory. This French structure of shared local government, which basically corresponds to the territory of Iparralde (Northern Basque Country) and the Occitan-speaking area of Baish Ador (or Bas-Ador in French), was established in January 2017. It became the first-ever Basque government body in the history of the French Republic.

The decision has been passed with 145 votes for, 18 against, and 22 abstentions.

The recognition of Basque and Occitan is “symbolic” given that only the French Parliament has the power to grant languages official status, but it will be followed by “a strong linguistic policy” supporting both languages, Community deputy president Beñat Arrabit explained. That policy covers support for Basque language organizations, bilingual signs and the use of Basque and Occitan in official communications. Thus, some parts of the Community’s official site are available in both languages.