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Catalan and Basque MEPs urge Schulz to allow the use of their languages in the plenary

The MEPs from the Centre-Right pro-Catalan State (CiU), Ramon Tremosa and Francesc Gambús, and the MEP from the Basque Nationalist Party (PNB), Izaskun Bilbao, wrote to the re-elected President of the European Parliament stating that the use of Catalan, Basque and Galician languages in the plenary just depends on a “political decision”. The MEPs asked the leader of the Chamber, a former bookshop owner, to show “respect” for their languages. Tremosa, Gambús and Bilbao said that the decision would cost nothing to the European Parliament as many Spanish translators also speak Catalan, Basque or Galician.

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02 July 2014 06:20 PM

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ACN

Strasbourg (ACN).- The MEPs from the Centre-Right pro-Catalan State (CiU), Ramon Tremosa and Francesc Gambús, and the MEP from the Basque Nationalist Party (PNB), Izaskun Bilbao, urged the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, to allow the use of Catalan, Basque and Galician in the chamber. In a letter to the President, the three politicians said that the use of these languages in the European Parliament comes down to a “political decision”.  


Tremosa, Gambús and Bilbao asked Schulz to show “respect” for their languages by allowing the MEPs to use them when addressing parliament. For now, Catalan, Basque and Galician MEPs are only allowed to speak in Spanish or in any of the other official languages of the European Union. None of the co-official languages in the Spanish state are currently official in the European Union.

The three MEPs reminded Schulz that last September the European Parliament passed, by 645 votes in favour, the Alfonsi Report, which aims to protect minority languages. They also noted that, in his first campaign to become President of the European Parliament, in 2012, Martin Schulz publicly stated that he would encourage the use of Catalan in the plenary.

Tremosa, Gambús and Bilbao regretted that “political pressure from the vice-presidents from the People’s Party and the Spanish Socialist Party blocked” the move, and Schulz gave up on his pledge to sponsor the use of Catalan.

“To allow the use of Catalan in the plenary would be a symbolic gesture that would put it on the same level as the rest of the official languages in the European Union”, the MEPs said. Tremosa argued that Catalan would continue to be one of his “political priorities” in this term, while Gambús added that “forgetting Catalan is a democratic grievance”.

The three MEPs said they are happy to work together with other parliamentarians from Catalonia, the Basque Country or Galicia or with anyone committed to multilingualism. 

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  • The new president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz (by EP)

  • The new president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz (by EP)