The PNV has started the Pedro Sánchez Government, within the framework of the budget negotiation, the management of the high speed accesses to Bilbao and Vitoria and also the burying of both stations. The Basque nationalists have called this Friday a “milestone” the agreement reached with the Sánchez Executive, which, however, had already been broadly closed since the beginning of November, when the Minister of Transport, Raquel Sánchez, announced it in an appearance in Vitoria. “We said that we would not accept second-rate solutions, and that is what we have achieved”, Aitor Esteban has expressed in a ceremony held at the Vitoria train station in which he has tried to gain muscle against the growing influence of EH Bildu in Madrid . The Basque Minister for Territorial Planning, Housing and Transport, Iñaki Arriola, is, however, a socialist.
Urkullu supports the provisional arrival of the AVE to Bilbao and Vitoria to launch a 1992 project under construction since 2006
The spokesperson for the ‘jeltzales’ in the Congress of Deputies, who has been accompanied by Andoni Ortuzar, Estefanía Beltrán de Heredia and José Antonio Suso, has announced that the Basque institutions will be in charge of undertaking the necessary works to build the accesses and to bury the stations, and that will be done through a management commission. Meanwhile, in the case of Bilbao, the train will stop in Basauri and then the passenger will have to take a Cercanías train to reach the Indalecio Prieto station; in the one in Vitoria, although the high speed will reach the Eduardo Dato station, it will be in the beginning still without burying. Once the agreement is closed, both city councils must now sign the protocols that govern this task, a formula that in Gipuzkoa is already making it possible to build the accesses to Donostia. It allows, in a few words, that the Basque railway administrator, Euskal Trenbide Sarea (ETS), can award the works and supervise the execution while the State continues to take charge of the financing based on a discount in the quota that is paid every year. “Closer and closer. We continue,” the mayor of Vitoria, Gorka Urtaran, congratulated himself in a message posted on Twitter.
Esteban has illustrated with this agreement the fact that the PNV has fulfilled “the three objectives that it had set at the beginning of the budget negotiation.” “The complete management of the Minimum Vital Income for Basque institutions, definitively channel the TAV in Vitoria and Bilbao and improve budgets through amendments with investments for Euskadi and Navarra, in addition to expanding the social protection of citizens”, he has listed. The ‘jeltzales’ thus try to gain muscle in the face of an EH Bildu that in recent days has been gaining influence in Madrid, which, in part, has caused the PNV to stop being decisive, since Sánchez already had sufficient support to carry out their accounts for next year without the need to guarantee their votes. In any case, nationalists and socialists rule in coalition in the Basque Country. The PNV, even so, has stressed on more than one occasion that the issues it negotiates in Madrid are of greater significance than those for which the Abertzale coalition led by Arnaldo Otegi fights. “Between the transfer of the IMV or if we close the underground entrances and in good condition of the train to the Basque capitals and what Bildu has achieved, there is no color,” said Ortuzar last Sunday at the general assembly held for his training at the BEC de Barakaldo, as collected by Europa Press.
The bulk of the deal, however, had already been closed for at least a month. In an appearance on November 4, the Minister of Transport, Raquel Sánchez, and the Basque counselor for the sector, Iñaki Arriola, announced that, although Bilbao and Vitoria will have provisional stations, the Basque Country would assume the construction of the definitive accesses and that these they would be buried. It was understood at that time that the burial was not compatible with the promise of having what is known as ‘Basque Y’ ready in 2026. The Lehendakari himself, Iñigo Urkullu, had to go out to endorse that provisional arrival so as not to delay even more a project that dates from 1992 and whose works began in 2006. In that joint appearance in early November, the minister stressed the importance of carrying out the general budgets to start these projects. “The commitment of the Government of Spain with the Basque Country is absolute,” he settled then.
Once these points are closed, the connection with Pamplona remains pending. This connection, which aims to link with Zaragoza through the capital Navarra, is one of the three planned for the ‘Basque Y’, but it has not yet been determined whether it will arrive there via Vitoria or Gipuzkoa. As this newspaper published, the state budgets anticipated a possible connection through Vitoria, since they collected an item of about 300 million euros for the connection with Pamplona assigned to the province of Álava and zero to that of Gipuzkoa. The delegate of the Government of Spain in the Basque Country, Denis Itxaso, came out to clarify that this departure does not imply that it is still decided that there will be AVE Vitoria-Pamplona. In a recent interview with elDiario.es/Navarra, the mayor of Pamplona, Enrique Maya (UPN), has underlined his preference for high speed to arrive through the Guipuzcoan town of Ezkio-Itxaso. “Of course, for Vitoria it is to take a terrible turn and it is also an absolute threat that later it does not end in Pamplona,” he pointed out.