The stakes, difficulties, and prospects of peace processes in Northern Ireland and the Basque Country

Joana Etchart Discussion

Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, negotiation and deadlock episodes have been numerous in the peace process in Northern Ireland. However, a form of peace has also been achieved based on the cessation of paramilitary activities and the relative stability of the regional government in Stormont. Beyond this appraisal, what can be learned from the eighteen-year-long process?

This series of seminars at Sorbonne University, Paris, proposes to compare the experience in Northern Ireland with the transition process initiated in the Basque Country following ETA’s permanent ceasefire in 2011 and the international support that succeeded. Debates have focused on contentious issues related to the resolution of the conflict. The status and role of prisoners, for instance, is now at stake in this new context of transition. Other difficult questions have arisen: how can disarmament be envisaged? What is the legacy of decades of violence?

This series of seminars aims to put into perspective the expertise developed in Northern Ireland and the stakes that arise in the Basque situation. It aims to foster debate between experts and practitioners from both contexts in order to analyse the stakes and dilemmas of the processes and define their prospects.

Organisers: Joana Etchart (University Paris-Sorbonne, MAPS/HDEA Research group) and Bake Bidea (Voluntary Organisation for Peace), in partnership with researchers from the Institute of Irish Studies (Liverpool)

Seminar 1: Prisoners and the Peace Process (27 Jan, 5pm-7pm, Amphi Michelet, the Sorbonne, Paris)

Guest Speaker Kieran McEvoy, Professor in Law at Queens University Belfast

Seminar 2: Disarmament and the Peace Process (19 May)

Guest Speaker Kevin Bean, Institute of Irish Studies (Liverpool)

Seminar 3: Victims and Perpetrators in the Peace Process (15 Sept.)