Catalonia pushes for official recognition of Catalan language in EU

Foreign Minister begins informal talks with Hungary, the next Council presidency

Catalonia's foreign minister Meritxell Serret
Catalonia's foreign minister Meritxell Serret / Eli Don
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

March 28, 2024 10:33 AM

March 28, 2024 06:35 PM

Catalan Foreign Minister Meritxell Serret has already held informal talks with Hungary, the next rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, to ensure that efforts to make Catalan an official EU language continue.

"We want to build trust to move forward," Serret told the Catalan News Agency (ACN), stressing the importance of fostering goodwill with Hungary to keep the issue on the agenda.

The move comes after previous failed attempts. In September last year, the Spanish government and Catalan pro-independence parties joined forces in an attempt to make Catalan official in the EU during Spain's presidency. 

However, the proposal faced setbacks as it was met with skepticism from several member states, particularly regarding its legal, political and economic implications, and the issue eventually stalled

The EU presidency passed to Belgium at the turn of the year, but despite Belgium's intention to move the proposal forward, discussions were once again postponed due to a lack of progress in assessing its impact.   

The proposal to change the EU's language policy requires unanimous support from all 27 member states, and while no European state has outright vetoed it, doubts remain, especially in countries with other minority languages, such as Lithuania. 

Serret defends achieving a "political pre-agreement" among the 27 member states before requesting the final legal reports from the Council.  

"We think it is good to have all the doubts resolved beforehand. At the end of the day, what we are asking the Council to do is to take a political decision," says Serret, adding that she does not want the issue to "fail" because a member state is "clinging to technical elements." 


EU elections test Catalan language bid 

The upcoming European Parliament elections, scheduled for June 9, will serve as a crucial test to gauge the political commitment and level of support for the official recognition of Catalan in the EU. 

"The context of the European elections can be a good opportunity to demonstrate the broad political and social alliance that exists in Catalonia around the initiative for the official status of Catalan in the European institutions," Serret said.  

Serret believes that if all the parties in favor of official status include this point in their electoral programs and their candidates defend it in the elections, "it will help strengthen the position and the proposal before all the states of the European Union."