Catalan language is still far from becoming official in European Parliament

Request made over a year ago after deal between Catalan and Spanish governments

A vote in Strasbourg's European Union Parliament on July 12, 2023
A vote in Strasbourg's European Union Parliament on July 12, 2023 / European Union
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

August 3, 2023 01:05 PM

Being able to speak Catalan in the European Parliament was one of the agreements reached between the Catalan and Spanish governments during their talks on independence.

At the gathering on July 27, 2022, both cabinets agreed to dejudicialize the independence push and to protect the Catalan language, with one of the points of the deal stating that Spain would propose to officialize Catalan as a working language in the EU Parliament and the Spanish Senate. 

While the latter has been delayed, mainly due to the Spanish snap election, the former has not been accomplished either.

The Spanish government under Socialist PM Pedro Sánchez requested last fall that the use of Catalan, Basque, and Galician be permitted in the EU chamber

However, the parliamentary bureau has still not decided on the matter. Catalan government sources told the Catalan News Agency (ACN) that the process was delayed because of the 'Qatargate' corruption scandal.

Because the Spanish election resulted in a hung parliament, Socialist Pedro Sánchez must negotiate with many parties, including Catalan pro-independence Esquerra Republicana (ERC) and Junts, if he wants to hold onto his position. With deals needed, ERC plans to urge the Socialists to make Catalan official in the EU parliament.

"Moving forward with all the new agreements can be done if all the other deals have been achieved, such as the use of the language in the EU institution," party sources said.

Meanwhile, the NGO 'Plataforma per la Llengua,' which aims to promote the use of Catalan as a tool for social cohesion, believes this request is not enough and wants the language to be official all across the European Union.

The Spanish rotating presidency of the Council of the EU "is a good moment" for Spain to "pursue officializing Catalan," Mireia Plana, vice president of the NGO, told ACN.

"We do not want promises. We want actions," she added.

Speaking Catalan in congress

The acting Spanish vice president and left-wing Sumar party leader, Yolanda Díaz, proposed on Wednesday to change the congress' regulation to allow speeches in Catalan, Galician, and Basque.

Being able to speak in one's language "would be a very important deal achieved ahead of appointing a congress bureau," she said in an interview with Spanish public broadcaster TVE.

"Why can we not speak in one of the co-official languages?" she asked before saying that "it would be a decision that fits perfectly within the constitutional framework and would lead to a very good outcome."