After years of bloody clashes, terrorist attacks and broken cease-fires, the Spanish government banned the political wing of the militant organization, Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), the Basque separatist Herri Batasuna party, indefinitely in March 2003.

Delegates of the party in the Basque regional parliament however held on to their seats by changing the name of the party. In March 2004, following the collapse of the Aznar government largely because of its unsuccessful political manoeuvring to blame ETA for the Madrid bombings, the new government of Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapatero came into power and subsequently achieved the support of the Spanish parliament in May 2005 to offer peace talks with ETA provided the group disarmed. Zapatero therefore called for ETA to disband and disarm. Previous governments have also attempted negotiations with ETA but this time Zapatero could bank on a change of minds and hearts of the Spanish people in favour of finding a peaceful solution to the conflict induced by the escalation in international and internal terrorism. The weakening of the ruling pro-autonomy moderate nationalist party in the Basque regional elections in April 2004 has also been seen as strengthening Zapatero's argument for talks. The arrest and indictment of a former Batasuna member, Arnaldo Otegi, has however put Zapatero's efforts in jeopardy.

In Spain, considerable socio-economic differences persist between a large number of Roma and the rest of the population. Members of the Roma communities face marginalization and social exclusion, but the Spanish government has made efforts to improve the situation of the Roma through the Governmental Roma Development Programme.

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