EU institutions accuse Spain of breaking the agreement on the use of the Catalan language

The European Parliament, Council and Ombudsman have accused the Spanish Government of not translating legal texts and citizens? communications into and from Catalan. A binding agreement was signed in 2006 obliging Spain to pay for the translations.

Raquel Correa / CNA

July 20, 2010 04:11 PM

Barcelona (CNA).- All of the European institutions that could have a say on the matter have accused the Spanish Government of not respecting the binding agreement signed with the Catalan Government. Oriol Junqueras, Member of the European Parliament (EP) from the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC), has received several letters from the President of the EP, the European Council and the European Ombudsman that criticise Spain for not respecting the agreement signed in 2006. According to this agreement, the Spanish Government would pay for the translation of the most relevant EU texts into Catalan (such as Treaties and directives) as well as translate from Catalan all of the communications from Catalan citizens to EU institutions. The agreement allows Catalan citizens to write to EU institutions in Catalan, despite Catalan not being an official EU language.

The President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, has stressed in his letter that the Spanish Government made a commitment to translate all of the EU legislation adopted by the co-decision procedure (Parliament and Council), but it has not done so yet. This is why the EU Parliament has not put the Catalan version of these texts online. In this letter, President Buzek announces that the EP will put the documents in Catalan online as soon as they receive the translations from the Spanish Government. Besides, in these letters, Buzek states that the use of the Catalan language in the Spanish Parliament and Senate seems “very restrictive”.

In addition, the European Ombudsman, Nikiforos Diamandouros, also underlined that the Spanish Government has not respected the agreement signed in 2006 as it has not translated the claims form that allows European Citizens to file a complaint. He also added that much of the most relevant information documents of the institution have not been translated either. Diamandouros affirmed his engagement to put the documents online as soon as they are made available by the Spanish Government.

In addition, the European Council has stated that they will only be able to fulfil the agreement on the Catalan language once the Spanish Government does the translations.

All of these letters have been sent to Junqueras as an answer to 17 parliamentary questions he sent in March of this year regarding the 2006 agreement. Junqueras asked about the state of the agreement and why EU institutions were not putting up the pieces of legislation in Catalan on their websites.

According to Junqueras, “the answers for EU institutions are explicit: the Spanish State is the main enemy of the Catalan language in Europe”.

Before the start of the Spanish EU Presidency, which went from January 2010 until the end of June, the Spanish State Secretary for EU Affairs, Diego López Garrido, declared that steps for to make Catalan an official EU language would be made during the 6-month Presidency. However, the reality has shown that the only steps made were 2 letters from Garrido sent to Buzek asking him to increase the use of Catalan in Strasbourg’s Parliament. According to Junqueras, the Spanish Government talks about the issue publicly but then becomes “the main enemy for the Catalan language’s recognition in Europe”.