'You can watch 35 movies in Catalan and 93 in Icelandic on Disney+ in Catalonia'
Catalan faces constant difficulties to survive on a social and administrative level, say activists
Catalan faces constant difficulties to survive on a social and administrative level, say activists
During his campaign to become President of the EU Parliament, Tajani promised to promote the use of the Catalan
The European body expressed its concerns regarding the use of Catalan and the Spanish State’s other “regional languages” in the administration of justice and in the health service. The Council of Europe called on the Spanish State to “modify the legal frame” and “guarantee that an appropriate proportion of the administration of justice’s workers” has a “practical knowledge” of the Catalan language. The European body, composed by 47 European countries, approved this Thursday “six recommendations” to solve “some important problems” and make sure that the Spanish State respects the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.This is the fourth report of this kind, after similar ones were written in 2005, 2008 and 2012. It states that the situation “has improved considerably” in the last four years, especially due to the Autonomous Communities’ efforts.
60.2% of families with one parent born outside Catalonia use Catalan with their children and 27.5% of natives with both parents born outside use Catalan with their children, according to data from 2013 coming from the Language Policy Report 2014 released this week. Ferran Mascarell, the Catalan Minister for Culture, said that "Catalan health remains" and said that "Catalan has passed a phase that was complicated because there have been significant demographic changes," along with technological changes and negative Spanish Government's policies. In Catalonia, the majority of the population 15 years and older claimed to understand, speak, read and write in Catalan: 94.3% understood, 80.4% could speak, 82.4% could read and 60.4% could write. Besides, while 48.1% of the population above 15 has a high level of Catalan in all language abilities, 26.6% reported important deficits in using or understanding the language.
The Spanish Minister for Education, José Ignacio Wert, has been recorded stating that "the situation of Spanish in the education system of Catalonia, limited to being used as a non-tuition language, like any foreign language, is comparable to the situation of Catalan in the times they like so much to remember", referring to Franco's dictatorship. Wert made the statement on Wednesday with a group of journalists and one of them recorded it. His words were immediately replied to by many Catalan parties, and Wert had to clarify a few hours later that he had expressed himself in a wrong way. He then said that Catalan was persecuted during Francoism "in a ruthless way" and that such persecution was "abominable". However, his previous statement is to be added to a long list, such as when in October 2012 he said that "Catalan pupils must be Hispanicised", defending the cultural homogenisation promoted by Spanish nationalism for the last centuries.
Spain's Supreme Court has once again ruled against the Catalan school model, following the individual appeals of a very small group of parents that wanted their children to be schooled in Spanish within Catalonia's public education system. Spain's Supreme Court (TS) has backed the decision of the Catalan Supreme Court (TSJC) to oblige schools in Catalonia to teach "at least 25%" of their subjects in Spanish, including "at least" one core subject. The TS considers such a share to be "reasonable and proportionate". It also admitted that by imposing such a share, the TSJC was "substituting" the role of the Catalan Government and Parliament. However, the TS justified such an invasion of powers because it considers the Catalan Government to have disobeyed its previous rulings and not changed the school model to make sure that children can also have Spanish as a regular tuition language if parents request this. However, the TS’ decisions are far from reasonable, according to a broad majority of Catalan society, since it breaks social cohesion and a model approved by an extremely broad consensus that perfectly guarantees the knowledge of both Spanish and Catalan.
The Spanish Ministry of Education has filed an appeal to the Supreme Court of Catalonia (TSJC) to cancel the already-sent enrolment applications for the next school year in order to include the option of choosing Spanish as the language of tuition. Five parties representing 80% of the Catalan Parliament have strongly protested against this "new attack" on a school model that guarantees that pupils master both Spanish and Catalan and has many flexibility measures for newcomers. The model is also backed by an extremely broad majority of Catalan society and only a few dozen families, out of the 1.55 million pupils in Catalonia, had requested education in Spanish. Linguistic immersion in Catalan ensures knowledge of the language by children who are not regularly exposed to it, while the model also ensures knowledge of Spanish. Therefore, equal opportunities and complete bilingualism are ensured. However, the model has been the target of Spanish nationalists for a long time.
The governments of Catalonia, the Basque Country, Andalusia, the Canary Islands and Asturias, which are the only Autonomous Communities that are not run by the governing People's Party (PP), have protested once again against yet another recentralising measure of the Spanish Executive that violates their exclusive powers on Education. The representatives of these 5 Autonomous Communities, which together represent almost 50% of Spain's population, left a meeting organised by the Spanish Minister for Education, José Ignacio Wert, held to present a new centralist and imposed measure in this field: from now on, the final exams of the obligatory education cycle and the baccalaureate (A-levels) will be drafted by the Spanish Government, which will make sure they are "homogenous" for the whole of Spain, as Wert said. Far from being anecdotal, the measure means subjects such as History of Catalonia, Catalan Geography and Catalan Language and Literature will not be included in the exams or will be treated as second-class subjects.
The People's Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government and holds an absolute majority in the regional parliament of the Valencian Community (also called Valencian Country), has approved the Law on Identity Signs with votes from party members only. The Law entered into force this Friday. The new regional rule sets what are Valencia's identity symbols and traditions, and also insists on defining Valencian as a totally different language from Catalan, going against all scientific studies and experts. It also foresees sanctions for any organisation which states that Valencian is a dialect of Catalan. During the last few decades, Valencian regionalist politicians – most of whom have a strong Spanish nationalist ideology – have been working on differentiating the Valencian dialect from Catalan spoken in the rest of the territories that have Catalan as their native language. The PP has strongly contributed to this split, politicising the unity of Catalan language and also splitting Valencian society over identity issues.
The regional Government of Aragon, run by the People's Party (PP), has removed the last legal trace of the Catalan and Aragonese languages in the region. This action has provoked a civil and political movement in defence of both languages spoken by thousands of citizens in the Aragonese Pyrenees and in “la Franja” (the Strip), a narrow piece of land in the eastern part of the region, bordering Catalonia. Since 1999, the Aragonese Cultural Heritage Act recognised Catalan and Aragonese as “minority languages from Aragon” and as a “specially protected cultural wealth”. However, the regional Parliament, led by the People’s Party (PP) and the Regionalist Aragonese Party (PAR), passed a law that ends this protection and the denomination of "Catalan" and "Aragonese".
The Catalan Parliament approved on Wednesday the Law on the Val d’Aran’s special status within Catalonia, recognising its “Occitan national reality” and its right to self-determination. This small Pyrenean valley, surrounded by high peaks and located in Catalonia’s north-western corner, is the last land where the Occitan language is widely spoken, although it is called Aranese there. The Val d’Aran County has had a certain degree of self-rule within Catalonia since 1990, further recognised with the Catalan Statute of Autonomy from 2006. In addition, since September 2010, Aranese is Catalonia’s third official language, being the preferred language in this county. The law approved this Wednesday develops and consolidates the Val d’Aran’s special regime, with its own powers of self-rule and structures. In order to enter into force, it will have to be approved through referendum by the less than 11,000 inhabitants of the valley.
The Emeritus Professor at the University of Amsterdam and political scientist, Meindert Fennema, spoke with the CNA about the Catalan independence process. According to this recognised expert in populism throughout Europe, the "Catalan process is not populist". Fennema emphasised that the origins of European populism and the Catalan independence movement are rooted in different historical contexts, and pointed out that the two have indisputable differences. One great contrast is that "populism started as an anti-immigrant movement", while "for historical reasons, Catalans have always embraced their immigrants". Moreover, the Catalan attitude towards government and the European Union integration is totally different than those adopted in populist stances, he highlighted. Furthermore he asserted that the claims that the Catalan independence process is a populist movement are false.
Just 36.3% of Catalans have Catalan as their main language, according to a survey presented on Friday by the Catalan Ministry of Culture and the Catalan Institute of Statistics (Idescat). The survey examining language use in the population of 2013 found that 31% of the Catalan population had Catalan as their mother tongue and a slightly higher percentage usually converse in Catalan as their main language: 36.3%. Nonetheless, 55.1% of those surveyed reported having Spanish as their mother tongue, with 50.7% using Spanish as their main language. In 2003, 46% reported having Catalan as their main language, but this fell to 35.6% by 2008. Additionally, the report found that 94.3% of Catalans surveyed in 2013 could understand Catalan.