The author analyses the limited powers of the Basque Country Aggregate Community (Communauté d’agglomération du Pays Basque / Euskal Hirigune Elkargoa), the only political entity that covers the Basque territories under French administration (Iparralde), in the field of linguistic policy.
To begin with, Bidegain (the author) regrets that said Basque Country Aggregate Community places Basque and Gascon (Occitan language) on an equal level. As may be read on their website: “Basque, Gascon and the culture of the Basque Country (under French administration, it is understood) are the basis of the personality of our territory.” In Bidegain’s opinion, Gascon is not Iparralde’s own language, although it is spoken in a small area around Baiona, and over-emphasising its implementation can be interpreted as an attempt to reduce the importance of Euskera as Iparralde’s (northern Basque Country) own language.
The author emphasises that the Aggregate Community has no real power, unlike the political institutions of the Southern Basque Country (i.e within the Spanish state), to develop linguistic policies that favour Basque. It is not an institution with autonomy and political power for this work but rather a commonwealth of municipalities with very limited powers.
When someone asks for help because they are in a lake surrounded by crocodiles, to throw them a lifebelt solves nothing … Euskera is in a critical situation in Iparralde, and needs much more than a lifebelt.