NOTE! This site uses cookies

By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more detalis, see Read more


What are you looking for?

The European Parliament warns that "to separate students by language would split the country"

The chairman of the committee on Education, Doris Pack, defends the Catalan model of education and says that people coming from outside Catalonia have to make an effort to learn the language of their new home: "It's like immigration in Germany, we do not have Turkish schools, newcomers need to get used to speak the language", she argued in an interview with the CNA.


08 September 2011 02:28 PM


Albert Segura

Brussels (ACN) .- The president of the Committee on Culture and Education for the European Parliament, German conservative Doris Pack, warned that separating the Spanish-speaking students and Catalan-speaking students would "split the country." "Why separate them? I do not think it contributes anything, I do not think is a good solution, if you separate them you will be splitting the country ", she warned in remarks to the CNA. Pack, a Member of the European Parliament for the European People's Party since 1989, argues that "it is a good for people coming from Madrid" to speak and understand Catalan, a question that she considers to be \u201Cof respect\u201D. "It's a bit like the immigration in Germany, where we do not have only-Turkish schools" she compares, arguing that people coming from outside Catalonia have to make an effort to learn the language of their new home, as Turks do in her country to learn German.

"You are already bilingual," Pack praises while proposing a new effort to promote the teaching of English and French and a continuation of the efforts to speak Spanish and "protect" Catalan. In fact, she said that being multilingual will \u201Censure you a good job in the future." "The European Union must speak the native language, the neighboring language and the lingua franca," claims Pack, a member of Merkel\u2019s party and the CDU chairman of the Education Commission for the European Parliament for two years.

Pack answers parents from of the rest of the Spain or abroad -who have been calling for Catalonia to school their Children in Spanish- that their children must \u201Cget used to having to speak the language of their neighbourhood, their city and the new nation where they live now\u201D. \u201CMy feelings and experience as a teacher tell me that it is not a good solution" to discriminate students on the basis of language, she says. Pack, who taught in elementary schools until 1974 before being elected to the Bundestag, believes that the system in Catalonia is "good" as it "helps children retain their cultural identity by giving them the opportunity to speak the language of their grandparents or parents" in school. \u201CIt does not ignore either one of the languages. You should give opportunities to both, but that will not necessarily be achieved by dividing schools," she adds.

Pack warns to young monolingual in Spain that "South America is very far away" and therefore people only have "France, Germany or Italy close by\u201D to go and find a job. "We have a common market that offers opportunities, but people lack the tools" and do not speak languages, this means that foreign employment "is difficult to get", she laments. "The Germans wonder why Spaniards do not come to work in Germany, if you have a good education" and a 46% youth unemployment, "but the language is an obstacle," she says. "It's a shame, a mistake that politicians have lost time on and it has not yet been understood by young people as a necessary requirement to be multilingual," she criticizes.

Catalan MEPs Santiago Fisas (PP), Maria Badia (PSC) and Oriol Junqueras (ERC) are members of the parliamentary commission that Christian Democrat Pack heads.

For Social Cohesion

The European Parliament voted on 24 March 2009 to adopt the report 'Multilingualism: an asset for Europe and a shared commitment', which defines the system of language immersion in Catalonia \u2013in which Catalan is the language of instruction- as the most effective tool to promote multilingualism. The text also opposes recognizing the right of parents to choose the language of schooling of their children, since in some cases it may go against social cohesion. And maintains that "it is vital to safeguard multilingualism in countries and regions in which two or more official languages coexist."

The European Commission has also repeatedly praised the model of immersion, suggesting even extending it to other EU countries as "good practice". Brussels denied in 2008 that the Spanish language in Catalonia is discriminated against and said they have never received complaints. The then European Commissioner of Multilingualism Romanian Leonard Orban, admitted after a visit to Barcelona, that Spanish-speakers can \u201Ceasily\u201D live in Spanish because Catalan-speakers can change the language that they are speaking \u201Cwithout even realizing it.\u201D Orban also said that the Cinema Law in Catalonia was a blessing for "enriching the language and culture on offer." In September 2007, the report of an expert group commissioned by the European Commission opted to "spread" throughout the twenty-seven member states" of the EU the know-how acquired in Catalan schools, where sophisticated methods for immersion have been implemented over decades. "


  • The chairman of the committee on Education, Doris Pack (by ACN)

  • The chairman of the committee on Education, Doris Pack (by ACN)