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Mas warns Rajoy: it is a “great mistake” to attack the Catalan language

The Catalan President says that he will not work with the conservative PP after the Spanish general election if the party “crosses the red line” and tries to push a language agenda which puts at risk the current Catalan educational system. The leader of the PP in Catalonia, Alicia Sánchez Camacho, says Mas should accept the Courts ruling that have obliged the Government to offer Spanish as well as Catalan as a language of instruction at school.

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07 September 2011 06:21 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The Catalan President, Artur Mas, has warned the leader of the main Spanish opposition party, Mariano Rajoy, that it is a \u201Cgreat mistake\u201D to attack the Catalan language. In a radio interview, Mas said that if the People\u2019s Party (PP) of Rajoy tries to push changes in the language policy after winning the next general election, and those changes affect the role of Catalan, that will \u201Cobviously\u201D diminish the possibility of any support of the PP from the Catalan Government and Catalan party Convergència i Unió on other issues.


Mas said the teaching of the Catalan language in Catalonia\u2019s schools is \u201Cnon-negotiable\u201D. He warned that the Spanish conservatives are crossing \u201Cthe red line\u201D in trying to change the educational system. However, the leader of the PP in Catalonia, Alícia Sánchez Camacho, said that Mas does \u201Cnot have a problem\u201D with the PP, but rather with the Court that has sentenced that Spanish should be used as a language of instruction in Catalonia. The PP, as well as the party Ciutadans, has campaigned for a long time to change the current educational system in Catalonia that prioritizes the use of Catalan, to let parents chose Spanish as a language of instruction instead. Currently, subjects in public schools are taught in Catalan whilst pupils also learn Spanish. All children know both Catalan and Spanish when they leave school. According to its critics, the Spanish Supreme Court's decision and the proposals of the PP and Ciutadans, if implemented, may create a split between the two language communities, it may endanger the Catalan language, and it may condemn some social groups to being monolingual. Only knowing Spanish would put students at a clear disadvantage compared with bilingual individuals, who will know both Catalan and Spanish. Mas said he is not \u201Cthreatening\u201D Rajoy on the language issue. However, the Spanish PP, widely expected to win the next general election, will probably need the support of Mas\u2019 party, CiU, especially if it does not achieve an overall majority. Therefore, the Catalan nationalists influence is particularly relevant in the formation of the new Spanish government. Despite the fact that Mas has already negotiated the Catalan budget with the Catalan PP, the relationship between both parties is being tensed by the language issue. However, from Madrid, the vicepresident of Communication of the PP, Esteban González Pons, said the language will not disrupt relations between both parties and conceded that his party \u201Cwill not subject the creation of jobs to any subject that divides\u201D the CiU and the PP. \u201CWhat we have to talk about is something that has nothing to do with the teaching of one language or another\u201D but rather to \u201Cput Spanish economy to work\u201D. However, he said the Catalan Government should comply with the Supreme Court ruling that urges the change of the educational system to include Spanish as a language of instruction.

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  • Catalan president Artur Mas (by ACN)

  • Catalan president Artur Mas (by ACN)