European Network for Linguistic Equality asks recognition of Catalan as official EU language

  • The secretary general of the entity says it is ridiculous that Catalan MEPs cannot speak their language in the European institutions

07.04.2022 - 17:09
Actualització: 13.06.2022 - 10:12

The European Network for Linguistic Equality (ELEN) called on the European Union on Wednesday to recognize Catalan as an official language and to “respect linguistic diversity”. In a debate organized by the Catalan government delegation in Brussels on the adoption of Gaelic as an official language in the EU, the organisation’s secretary general, Davyth Hicks, said that it is ridiculous that Catalan MEPs cannot use their language in European institutions. Catalan Foreign Minister Victòria Alsina, who also took part, added that it is unacceptable that the thirteenth most spoken language in the EU continues to be banned by Spain.

“They should represent equality, not inequality” Hicks said of current EU language policies. The ELEN Secretary-General also stated that the organization recommends that the EU adopt a European language plan that “promotes and protects the least used languages”. Alsina, for her part, lamented that “every time a language becomes official, the disadvantage of Catalan becomes clearer”. She added: “There are twenty-four official languages, and eleven of them have fewer speakers than Catalan.”

Two members of the Conradh na Gaeilge, a democratic forum for the Irish-speaking community, also took part in the round table. Peadar Mac Fhlannchadha explained that the biggest challenge in making Gaelic official in the EU was to persuade the Irish government to ask the European institutions for recognition. As for the difficulties of the procedure, Dáithí Mac Cárthaigh pointed out that the root of the problem is essentially political. “Once the political phase has been passed, the rest can be developed because the cost is not very high, he said, adding that the main obstacle to the adoption of Catalan is Madrid, not Brussels. This is an opinion also shared by University of Barcelona professor Eva Pons Parera, who added that the fact that Catalan is not official in Europe “is not a question of resources, but a legal and political issue”.


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