Paris, France. The meeting was held May 12th-14th, and was attended by twenty plus delegates from 19 Basque clubs specifically those in Berlin, Marseille, Rome, Zaragoza, Madrid, Pau, Montpellier, Munich, Sydney, London, Mallorca, Tokyo, Valencia (Laurak Bat), Valencia (Euskaltzaleok), Valladolid, Brussels, Barcelona, Bordeaux, as well as the hosts, the Eskual Etxea in Paris. Local coordination was handled by Paris club president, Sebastien Daguerre, and Arlette Ocafrain. The head table was occupied by Marian Elorza, Secretary General of Secretary General of Foreign Action, and the Director of the Basque Community Abroad, Gorka Alvarez Aranburu, along with Sebastien Daguerre. Events began on Friday afternoon with a reception followed by a visit, via metro and on foot through Paris, followed by dinner at the Beaurepaire Basque restaurant, near Notre Dame.
Work meetings took place on Saturday and Sunday at the clubhouse. Each of the participating clubs did a brief presentation and then a battery of different topics were discussed that they all had in common. Among the topics discussed was the Basque Government’s Advisory Board and the Basque club' representation there; ideas about the creation or not of a federation of European Basque Clubs; economics, grants and payments; coordination of activities; communication and relationships; the Basque Global Network; Euskera and its instruction; how to attract youth and get them to commit and involved in managerial tasks; Brexit and its consequences for Basques residing in the UK among others.
On Saturday, simultaneous translation was provided so that participants could express themselves in the language of their choice, Basque, French, Spanish or English. Let’s not forget that besides those born in Euskal Herria, there were also Basques born, or residing for example in Madrid, Paris and Sydney. As at the previous regional meeting in Barcelona, where this service was also made available, the majority of presentations were made in Euskera, including the one by Sho Hagio, representative of the Euskal Etxea in Tokyo. For the reset, Basque, Spanish, French or English were heard in the conversations that took place among the various delegations.
One of the most important aspects of this type of meeting is the face-to-face encounters, mutual exchanges of ideas, presentation of problems, situations, and proposals of solutions to questions that they have in common regardless of place and context. The next World Congress of Basque Collectivities will be held in two years where these steps taken will be evaluated, followed by other regional meetings two years from that. Similar regional meetings will also take place in both North America; and in South and Central America and the Caribbean region in 2018.
Photo gallery of the Regional Meeting of Basque clubs in Europe, Asia and Oceania 2017: