Catalan foreign minister urges Spain to use ’all diplomatic power’ in fight for Catalan in EU

Spanish government blames conservatives for creating “political resistance” at EU level

Catalan foreign minister, Meritxell Serret, during the 10th European Summit of Regions and Cities in Mons
Catalan foreign minister, Meritxell Serret, during the 10th European Summit of Regions and Cities in Mons / Nazaret Romero

ACN | @agenciaacn | Barcelona

March 19, 2024 10:45 AM

March 19, 2024 12:06 PM

On Monday, Catalonia’s foreign minister, Mertixell Serret, urged the Spanish government to use “all the diplomatic power” to ensure that Catalan becomes an official language in the EU “as soon as possible.”

During the 10th European Summit of Regions and Cities in Mons, Belgium, the foreign minister asked the Spanish executive to activate the “machinery” to move the issue of making Catalan an official language in the EU forward and to vote in favor of making Catalan a working language in the Eurochamber before the end of the Socialist legislature.

“These are two necessary proposals that must be worked on simultaneously and we want them to become a reality as soon as possible,” Serret said during the summit.

The minister urged the Sánchez government to be “as ambitious and demanding as possible” in the fight for the Catalan language in the EU and warned not to “lose spirit” in the “effort” to achieve the necessary unanimity on the matter.

Spanish memorandum

On Tuesday, the Spanish government presented a memorandum defending the "viability" of Catalan, Basque and Galician becoming official languages in the EU.  

The memorandum also states that the EU must "respect the national identity of the member states", which in the case of Spain includes "linguistic diversity." 

"Catalan, Basque, and Galician are co-official languages with deep historical roots, a large number of speakers, and a place in our Constitution," the memorandum states, adding that the executive must "protect the linguistic rights" of its citizens, and this protection "extends to all spheres, including the European one."  

Before the release of the memorandum, Serret called it a “step” forward that should have been taken “much earlier.”

Finland reluctant while Romania supports efforts 

Whether a Spanish effort to achieve unanimity on the matter remains to be seen.

On Tuesday morning, the Finnish Minister for European Affairs, Anders Adlercreutz expressed reluctance to vote in favor of Catalan becoming an official language, saying that the Finnish “main concern” is the “repercussions” the decision could have on the minority languages in Finland.

Adlercreutz is from the Swedish People’s Party of Finland, a party that aims to represent the interests of the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland. 

Romania, on the other hand, expressed its support for the issue of officiality, stating that it is “very important” for the Spanish government.

It is not the first time, that other member states have given the thumbs down to the inclusion of Catalan on the list of official languages.

In December, Spain decided not to hold a vote on giving official status to the Catalan, Galician, and Basque languages in the European Union, after several member states expressed doubts concerning the economic, political and legal implications.  

The proposal to legally change the EU's language policy is an issue that requires the unanimous support of the 27 member states.