transform! europe Meeting the Left: Arnaldo Otegi

Web Interview

Watch the full video (English and Euskarian) with our guest, Arnaldo Otegi, General Coordinator of the Basque pro-independence party EH Bildu.


The Corona-virus has hit the EU unprepared, but in different ways and with different effects depending on the countries. Most tragic were the effects on those countries whose healthcare and social systems have been emaciated by decades of austerity policies. Thus, the pandemic has increased inequalities not only inside the states but also between the Member States of the EU. This presents the parties of the radical left with a challenge and calls for a re-examination of their strategies.

Arnaldo Otegi
, General Coordinator of the broad Basque party EH Bildu which unites the pro-independence and pro-sovereignity left in the Basque country. He holds a University degree in philosophy and literature. Otegi got involved in the struggle for democratic rights and Basque independence already under Franco’s dictatorship. He was forced to exile in France, which handed him over to the authorities of the Spanish state who imprisoned and tortured him. Otegi who spent 11 years of his life in prison became the main negotiator for peaceful and democratic solution of the conflict.
Euskal Herria (EH) Bildu is the progressive and pro-soverignity coalition in the Basque Country. It is the biggest municipalist force in the Basque Country, with over 1,300 local councillors and 123 Mayors, second force in the Basque Autonomus parliament with 18 out of 75 members and 7 out of 50 Members in the Parliament of Navarre. In addition, EH Bildu has 5 members in the Spanish Congress and 2 in the Spanish Senate.


Elena Beloki, anthropologist, journalist and expert on International relations. She is the director of the International Department of the Iratzar Foundation and member of Sortu National Council (Sortu is one of the founding parties in EH Bildu).

Walter Baier, economist and the Political Coordinator of transform! europe


The events will be interactive – after an initial interview the audience will have an opportunity to ask questions of our guest.

The main focus of all discussions will be the impact of the pandemic on the economic, social, political, and cultural life of particular countries. We have seen that the EU’s failure to address the health crisis and provide support to the most affected states has changed the way the Union is perceived in parts of Europe. To what extent and with what consequences does this apply to the countries whose parties our interviewees represent? How can the left cope with the economic and social crisis and the recession that is very likely to come in its wake? How do the left parties connect their national strategies to global problems, in particular the influx of refugees and the answers urgently required by the global environmental crisis.