|Formation||January 13, 1998|
The Foro Ermua (English: Ermua Forum) is a Spanish civic association, the membership of which is composed of Spanish citizens (most of them living in the Basque Country). It was founded on 13 January 1998; its current president is Mikel Buesa.
The organisation states that its formation was brought about by the killing of Miguel Ángel Blanco, a conservative city council member in Ermua in Biscay, by members of the Basque separatist group ETA. (This assassination had taken place on 12 July 1997, several months before the Foro Ermua was founded.) Prior to the Forum's official foundation, Blanco's killing also resulted in a local movement called espíritu de Ermua, or "Ermua spirit", which was a general feeling of solidarity that sprung up amongst many local people after Blanco's kidnapping and death. Members of the organisation consider its foundation to be an attempt to continue the 'Ermua spirit'.
The organisation views its activities as democratic in nature and in line with the existing structures of the Spanish state, in contrast to what they describe as the "nationalistic fascism" of ETA's views. Although they do not openly align themselves with any political party, its members tend to be associated either with the Spanish conservative party, the People's Party (Spain), or with the centrist Union, Progress and Democracy, or they are independent conservatives.
The forum lists the following objectives:
- To support, to protect, and to promote recognition of the victims of Basque terrorism. (Some members of the Forum have been attacked by ETA themselves; the first president of Foro Ermua, Vidal de Nicolás, is protected by private bodyguards).
- To aid the unity of constitutionalist forces in Basque Country against Basque Nationalists and Independentists.
- To denounce violent acts carried out by ETA forcefully and decisively.
- To avoid any political negotiation between ETA or its representatives and the government, except for the presentation of an official government order for ETA to surrender and disband.
Critics of the Ermua forum, mainly members of the radical pro-independence Basque movement, have accused it of being a front for conservative Spanish political forces opposed to Basque Self-determination, independence and Nationalism.
The Abertzale left have drawn attention to many aspects of what they consider to be the hypocritical nature of the organisation's targeting of ETA, which they consider to be a conscious extension of its Conservatism and Spanish nationalism. For example; they point out the killings carried out under the Fascist regime of General Franco for which no-one was ever held responsible, Spanish Imperialism during the Iraq War and elsewhere, the Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberación, a state sponsored, extrajudicial far-right death squad that operated in the 1980s as well as other injustices such as the Spanish Constitution of 1978 which was written during the Spanish transition to democracy when the generals and politicians of the former regime (commonly referred to as the Búnker) exerted significant pressure on those drafting the document contributing to a clause which prohibits Self-determination or independence for any of the historical Nations of Iberia, including the Basque Country.