The Basque Country Exchanges Association

The Basque Country Exchanges Association was created in 1979 to promote the harmonious and sustainable development of the Basque Country through reflection, proposals and interventions targeting managers with decision-making power in the areas concerned by our proposed actions.

The association is composed of some sixty volunteer members who have responsibilities in research, manufacturing, culture, tourism, service industries and the civil service. Its current President is Pierre Olhagaray.

The association emphasizes medium to long term thinking. It remains apolitical while respecting the missions and roles of the different government bodies involved, including municipalities, local communities, county, state and European authorities, the ICC, and the Basque Development Council. Its actions are characterized by a spirit of openness and, within this context, it promotes cross-border exchanges.

Areas where the Basque Country Exchanges Association feels it makes a positive contribution relate to higher education, research, economic and technical development, infrastructure, and culture. It works in project mode on the different themes it retains.

One concrete example of its action is the contribution it has made to the creation, ongoing development, and internationalization of ESTIA (say what this is) and the setting up of the Izarbel Development Pole. It has also helped to better define the missions of Antic (say what this is), participated in the debate on transport infrastructure, and developed information exchanges with Euskadi (say what this is).


The Basque Country Exchanges Association is currently working on four projects:

1) The search for financial support and partnerships with industrial and services companies for the continued development of ESTIA and the ESTIA Foundation.

2) An effort to reinstate a French school in St. Sebastian. Though it has sadly disappeared, the need for such a school remains real.

3) The creation of a biennial Northern / Southern Basque Country art competition. We envisage an event that attracts confirmed artists and offers prestigious awards.

4) The establishment of an economic study commission whose purpose is to determine objectives and concrete means for developing business activity and economic wealth in the Basque Country from 2013.


The association is located in the Northern Basque Country and Paris, with its current President supported by a Vice President in Paris. Our intention is to establish the association in the Southern Basque Country as well, with a further Vice President and a network of local members.

We function in a consultative manner. Our mission is to imagine, create, set up and make possible concrete projects that are offered to both public or private organizations for implementation.


Pierre Olhagaray



May 2012