Spanish government asks EU parliament to allow use of Catalan in chamber

Latest talks between Catalonia and Spain led to agreement to support language in Europe

The European Parliament during the State of the Union speech on September 14, 2022 (by Philippe Stirnweiss)
The European Parliament during the State of the Union speech on September 14, 2022 (by Philippe Stirnweiss) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

September 16, 2022 03:11 PM

The Spanish government has officially asked the EU parliament to allow Catalan, alongside Basque and Galician, to be used in the chamber. 

In a letter sent to the EU parliament on Friday, the Spanish government has offered to cover the cost of providing simultaneous interpretation in these three languages and to negotiate the details concerning when and how this will begin.

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This was announced following a meeting between Catalan culture minister Natàlia Garriga and Spanish territorial policy minister Isabel Rodríguez and was done with the aim of increasing "transparency" and improving "citizen participation."

Garriga also urged Rodríguez to make it possible for Catalan speakers to be addressed in Catalan by Spain's various public administration offices and presented her with a detailed plan to do so. 

Spain-Catalonia negotiations

With this letter, Madrid has made a move towards complying with an agreement that came from the latest round of talks between the Catalan and Spanish executives.

On July 27, delegations from both parties agreed to dejudicialize politics and Madrid vowed to safeguard and promote the Catalan language both in Spain and abroad, including a request to the European Parliament to accept its use in its debates and in citizens' communications.

A longstanding demand

Being able to address the chamber in Catalan has been a longstanding demand of many Catalan parties, especially pro-independence ones, whose MEPs have always had to participate in EU debates in Spanish or other official languages.

In fact, in 2004 ERC MEP Bernat Joan was famously told off by current Portuguese PM António Costa, who at the time was one of the chamber's vice presidents, for "using a non-official language" in parliament when he had actually chosen to give his speech in German.