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European Commission will translate EU campaign in Spanish into Catalan on social networks

MEP meets Commissioner for Culture as government launches initiative to promote use of Catalan language

Catalan culture minister Natàlia Garriga with a figure of Queta, the Catalan language promoting mascot on March 14, 2023
Catalan culture minister Natàlia Garriga with a figure of Queta, the Catalan language promoting mascot on March 14, 2023 / Guillem Roset
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

March 14, 2023 07:59 PM

March 14, 2023 07:59 PM

The European Commission will translate a campaign promoting tolerance into Catalan on social networks, sources from the commission confirmed to the Catalan News Agency (ACN) on Tuesday. 

Until now, the 'You are EU' campaign was in Spanish only, leading MEPs from the pro-independence party Junts, including former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, to present a parliamentary question condemning discrimination towards Catalan speakers. 

A European Commission source explained that the 'You are EU' campaign is managed directly from Brussels for the 27 member states "in the 24 official languages of the European Union." 

"The campaign is disseminated throughout Spain in Spanish since this is Spain's only official language in the EU," the source said, admitting that it is always "a challenge" to ensure their messages reach citizens. 

The European Commission Representation in Barcelona usually carries out local campaigns in Catalan "taking into account Catalan's special situation," such as the 'WeMove Europe' campaign. 

One of the EU Commission's 'You are EU' campaign banners written in Spanish
One of the EU Commission's 'You are EU' campaign banners written in Spanish / European Commission

"In the case of 'You are EU', the representation will adapt the campaign material and publish them in Catalan on social networks." However, posters for transport will not be produced in Catalan. 

Government "unease" 

The Catalan government will also express its "unease" to the commission at the lack of "sensitivity towards the language," spokesperson Patrícia Plaja said on Tuesday. 

She said the 'You are EU' case is "another example of the need to raise awareness" about the use of Catalan "at all levels." 

MEP meets Commissioner for Culture 

Equal opportunities online for languages such as Catalan was on the agenda as Jordi Solé, MEP for pro-independence Esquerra Republicana, met Mariya Gabriel, the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research and Culture, on Tuesday. 

Solé said that the EU executive must have the "political initiative" to reverse the "inequality" suffered by some European languages on the internet, which, he stressed, "are not protected" in the digital world. 

At a media briefing following the meeting, Solé said Gabriel was "concerned" about the situation but that it was difficult to bring forward a specific program on the issue. 

"The European Union has a commitment to promote multilingualism, but we must have a project or a specific action program in the digital field, in the field of language technologies, in order to facilitate equality of opportunities between all European languages," Solé said, stressing that languages such as English, Spanish, French, and German have more protection on the internet than the rest. 

Solé's meeting with Gabriel took place after he sent her a letter, signed by almost twenty MEPs, in which he warned of the possible digital extinction of many European languages.  

Government recovers Catalan promoting campaign

The Catalan government unveiled a new campaign promoting the language on Tuesday. The new proposal recovers one of the most recognized figures in the territory, as in 2005, Queta already made her first appearance on TV.

Now, years later, the cabinet has recovered the figure but modernizing it to modify the "linguistic attitudes" and to increase the use of the language among citizens.

While the first Queta was a real wind-up doll, this year's is completely animated, and it turns on by pressing a button. 

The new draw also represents the diversity of the Catalan society as it will have several designs as the territory has "many voices and many ways of speaking the language."

Half of the measures implemented

In November, the Catalan government announced 100 measures to guarantee the Catalan language, but also the Aranese —the official language in the northern-western region of Val d'Aran—, and the Catalan sign language.

Out of these initiatives, so far, there are 51 in place, going from the audiovisual sector to teaching public workers or even in the education and health departments.