Thursday, 24 May 2012

A Breton perspective on English regionalism

Kuitaat lestr ar Rouantelezh-Unanet: an article in Breton about English regionalism from the new site 7seizh.info. The plan is to publish articles on 7seizh.info in French, Breton, English and Gallo.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Agence Bretagne Presse host to the far-right once more

Sadly Agence Bretagne Presse has once more allowed the publication of press releases from the far-right group Jeune Bretagne on its website. For this reason the Breton Connection will no longer be linking to ABP. Jeune Bretagne form part of the Bloc Identitaire a French political party widely classified as being extreme right.

To bad! It seems the lessons of history have not been learned by some Bretons.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

A new French approach towards Brittany remains to be seen

Yesterday (15th May 2012) a new French President was inaugurated in Paris, but whether this means a new French approach towards Brittany remains to be seen.

President Hollande has promised Bretons that he is prepared to consider the ratification of the European Charter for Regional and/or Minority Languages and increased powers for the Breton Regional Council, but as yet has made no commitment on whether he would support the reunification of Brittany.

These are some of the promises that have been made by other French politicians of the left before about Brittany, but is there any sign that President Hollande is different?

On the face of it Hollande comes from the same mould as other French politicians from the Jacobin tradition. He is a member of a mainstream political party and a career politician from a middle class Catholic family background. He is a graduate from the famous École Nationale d'Administration, which has given birth to many high flying civil servants and politicians, he is pro-European and of the left wing of the party. Like President Mitterand before him Hollande had some right wing influences in his early days, with his father standing in local elections on the extreme right, but he has in his mature years has developed into a nominal reformer advocate of French institutions.

Again like Mitterrand when he first became President, Hollande similarly knows that he has some way to go to make the Socialist Party popular with French voters and to help ‘unify’ a disaffected and in many ways disjointed French state. With a record number of voters in France voting for the French right wing – including in Brittany – in the first round of the presidential elections, Hollande is under no illusion that his first few months in office will be a difficult time. With legislative elections due in June 2012, Hollande must quickly win back popular acclaim for his party and the confidence of voters in order for the Socialists to stand any hope of making gains in the parliamentary elections. Without a majority in Parliament the new President is unlikely to be able to achieve the popularity for his party that was at one time enjoyed by President Mitterrand. Hollande may have won the Presidency, but it was only by a small margin. As the European media has discussed in recent days, the burden of responsibility has fallen squarely and fully on Hollande's shoulders.

It can be expected that Hollande will have more pressing issues on his mind than the Breton language and regional government. With the Euro currency in free fall and the challenge of trying to persuade a stubborn Angela Merkel to back track on austerity measures put in place with the support of President Sarkozy, it seems unlikely that the President’s attention will turn to Brittany any time soon.

Again Breton’s are in the limbo position that they have been in before – waiting to see if French politicians will deliver on promises made before their election to office. How long the Bretons will have to wait to see if President Hollande will deliver on his promises is anyone’s guess, but if he is going to move in favour of Breton linguistic and democratic rights, it is not likely to be until after the June elections. It may nevertheless be worth people writing to President Hollande before the June elections, asking for confirmation from him that he will act in favour of the Breton cause. 

For comment or clarification on this news item in the first instance contact: Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, General Secretary, Celtic League Tel: 0044 (0)1209 319912 M: 0044 (0)7787318666. The General Secretary will determine the appropriate branch or General Council Officer to respond to your query.  


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

How did Brittany vote and what next?

Clearly my contribution (see previous blog) has had the desired effect.

The Parti Socialist, supported by Breton autonomists (UDB) and the Greens (Europe Ecologie), has attracted a large majority of votes in the second round of the French presidential election in Brittany.

François Holland, the new president, has promised to ratify the European charter for minority languages. This would undoubtedly aid the recovery of the Breton language. Equally he has promised to decentralise further powers to Frances administrative regions. Nothing however has been offered with regards the reunification of Nantes and the Loire Atlantique county with the rest of Brittany.

We will wait and see. The promises above are fragile and would be easy enough to renege upon.

The next step will be the legislative elections in June where the French parliament will be chosen. A president without a majority of MP's in parliament would be hamstrung.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Er-maez - a contribution to the presidential election

Er-maez in this context you could roughly translate from Breton as sling your hook.

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