Catalonia and Spain agree to 'dejudicialize politics' and protect Catalan language

Deal announced after third meeting between both governments on independence issue

Catalan presidency minister Laura Vilagrà shaking hands with Spanish presidency minister Félix Bolaños in Madrid (by Javier Barbancho)
Catalan presidency minister Laura Vilagrà shaking hands with Spanish presidency minister Félix Bolaños in Madrid (by Javier Barbancho) / ACN

ACN | Madrid

July 27, 2022 01:07 PM

The Catalan and Spanish governments have reached an agreement to "dejudicialize politics" and to protect the Catalan language. 

This deal was announced by Spain's presidency minister Félix Bolaños on Wednesday in Madrid following the third meeting between both governments on the issue of independence.  

A common complaint of those in the independence movement is the ongoing legal battles against its members, hence the calls for "dejudicialization" which Madrid seems to have accepted, at least to an extent: "We need to do politics that aims for dialogue," Bolaños said, adding that it must be done "within legal frameworks." 

Protecting the Catalan language

Bolaños also spoke of his government's commitment to safeguard and promote the Catalan language both in Spain and abroad.

The agreement "draws from the premise that Catalan is persecuted, and it is the responsibility of all administrations to ensure it will never again be a minority language," Catalan presidency minister Laura Vilagrà said later on. 

Authorities will ensure that all students in Catalonia are fully fluent in Catalan and Spanish once they finish their schooling, recognizing each education center's particular sociolinguistic situation.

This agreement is at odds with the Supreme Court ruling establishing a 25% Spanish quota in Catalonia's schools, but backs the law recently passed by the Catalan parliament to determine language use based on "pedagogical criteria."   

Spain has also agreed to request official status for the language in the European Parliament and to reassess its place in Spanish politics, starting with revising the Senate's language use policies. 

"We need to guarantee the right of all citizens to be addressed in the official language they wish," Bolaños said. "This agreement can be extended to Spain's other co-official languages too."  

Third meeting

Wednesday's meeting was the third so-called 'dialogue table' on the issue of independence between members of the Catalan and Spanish governments.

Resulting from a deal between Esquerra and the Socialists following the second 2019 election in Spain – the Catalan party agreed to abstain in Congress when voting on a minority coalition government in exchange for talks – it was also both the first meeting since the Catalangate espionage crisis and the first meeting in 10 months.

Unlike the last September, neither Catalan president Pere Aragonès nor Spain's prime minister Pedro Sánchez were in attendance.

Presidency minister Félix Bolaños, labor minister and vice PM Yolanda Díaz, culture minister and former head of the Catalan Socialist party Miquel Iceta, as well as territorial policy minister and spokesperson Isabel Rodríguez represented the Spanish side.

The Catalan government was represented by presidency minister Laura Vilagrà, business minister Roger Torrent, interior minister Joan Ignasi Elena, and culture minister Natàlia Garriga. All of them are members of the senior coalition partner Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, which has long taken a less confrontational stance with Spain than Junts per Catalunya.

Junts refrains from participating, again

Junts, the junior coalition partner, has once again decided not to participate in these talks as only members of the Catalan and Spanish governments have been allowed to attend.

Of the four names Junts had put forward, only one is of a Catalan government official: vice president Jordi Puigneró. The others are of party members, including formerly imprisoned leaders who were pardoned but are still barred from office, as well as an MP in Spain's Congress, who are not in the government.