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The Basque Country: Few but decisive

Recerca | 26/03/2008

The case of the Basque Country

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There is little foreign immigration. Very decentralized and well funded policies mark the absence of conflict. The main dilemma concerns cultural integration into the Basque identity.


The economic growth of the Basque Country has converted this country into a centre of attraction for labour from the rest of the state for many years. Nowadays the Basque autonomous community has a much lower number of foreign immigrants than the state overall (4.60% compared with 9.90%).

Immigration powers are considerably decentralized in the country’s different administrations, the Basque government, the regional and town councils and, in general, there is a good network of services and of social welfare. All in all, this has helped maintain the level of conflict associated with immigration at an almost non-existent level.

The social perception of the importance of foreign immigration is much higher than its numerical reality, at least if we compare it with that of other similar areas. There are stereotypes concerning the excess number of immigrants, or their relationship with delinquency, but the main dilemma has cultural roots, given the historical erosion of Basque identity. Before immigration contributes to this erosion, therefore, the dominant idea is that the best model of integration involves assimilation.

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