Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Breizh today by the Celtic League

A summary below from the Celtic League on the Breton movement in 2009.

One of the biggest developments this year in Breizh is the progression of the debate over the return of the territory of the Loire Atlantique to Brittany. The reunification of Brittany has been a long term aim of the League, but to date the issue has largely ignored by the French central government.

However, this year has seen the biggest proposed reorganisation of French `regional' territory since the Second World War (WWII) and with it a possibility that Brittany could be reunified. Draft proposals of the Balladur Report have considered the reunification of Brittany, which was split into two parts under Vichy France in 1941. Breton reunification was proposed in the report, but was couched in clauses. It stipulated that a referendum would need to be held on the issue in Loire Atlantique and a consultation process followed with the different regional assemblies concerned, to decide if the reorganisation should go ahead. However, resistance to reunification has remained stiff from both the right and left.

The Breton Regional Council, the departmental council of Loire Atlantique, a number of local councils have all previously voted in favour of reunification (the Breton Regional Council have in fact voted for reunification three times) and every poll conducted in Loire Atlantique shows that the electorate are strongly in favour of the same. Unfortunately, Mayor Ayrault and his Jacobin supporters, including the Mayor of Roazhon/Rennes, Daniel Delaveau, still believe that they can over rule any decision made in favour of reunification. There is still no comment on the report, which can be supplied by myself to anyone interested or can be
found here

It seems that the current economic crisis has taken priority over `regional' reform for the moment.

Both the Union Démocratique Bretonne (UDB) and Parti Breton (PB) had candidates in the European election, but only Parti Breton had their own list. Parti breton gained a credible 2.82% of the votes, which is pretty good considering it iwas the first time that the party has stood at the European level. PB were happy with the result, because it gave them a wider European profile and and further perspectives on how to develop.

The UDB put their support behind a new joint list (Europe Ecologie) made up of Green party candidates and representatives from the nationalist political parties that make up the Fédération Régions and Peuples Solidaires (RPS). The political parties that make up the RPS are also individual members of the European Free Alliance (EFA) European political party – along with the SNP, Plaid and Mebyon Kernow - and the agreement was that if one of the RPS members on the list was elected, they would represent the interests of all the nationalist political parties of the RPS.

The number two on the list and EFA Treasurer, François Alfonsi, was elected and consequently the UDB gained direct representation in the European Parliament for the first time. Alfonsi is a member of the PNC nationalist party of Corsica. The Europe Ecologie list was a shrewd piece of political manoevouring and even though it meant some compromises from the UDB, it nevertheless provided them with an elected candidate they can call their own. The UDB saw the development as "historic".

With regard to the Breton language, the Regional Council has pledged additional financial support and has agreed to finance some Breton language scholarships, but critics say that this is too little, too late. l'Ofis ar Brezhoneg (Office for the Breton language) has been continuing to persue a successful langauge charter campaign that has seen a growing number of Breton muniocipalities committing to the Breton language by agreeing to meet certain Breton language goals (actions) within a particular time frame. The first part of la charte `Ya d'ar brezhoneg'/`Yes to the Breton language' Charter was initially launched in 2001 are targeted business and organisations and saw hundreds join up. In 2004, the second part of the Charter was launched, which tartgeted municipalities.

On May 9th 2009, the Breton national anthem `Bro Goz My Zadoù' was played to and sung by a crowd of 80, 000 people at a French football cup final in the Stade de France stadium in Paris for the first time. The unprecedented event in the history of French league football became what Breton Agence Presse (ABP) called `la fête de la nation bretonne' (Breton national celebration), as the crowd attendance broke the stadiums attendance record. In is not unknown for the current French President to attend the football final, but on this occassion President Sarkozy did not show.

Another significant development has been the planned introduction of `regional' numberplates throughout the French state. After heavy lobbying by the Bretons, the French Government agreed that the Breton Gwynn ha Du flag could be included on the new plates and the word `Breizh'. The French government though has stated that anyone in the state can use any of the newly approved plates, no matter where you live. So in theory, people living in Paris can use the Breton plates, but this also means that Bretons living in the partitioned Loire Atlantique can also show their Breton roots by opting for Breton licence plates.

The www.bzh association was granted financial support from the Conseil Régional de Bretagne in December 2008 to establish the application for a top level internet domain name for Brittany, gather the necessary funds to ensure its submission and its promotion within the Breton community.

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