The Spanish government has again ruled out accepting that the Catalan language be used in the European Parliament. Answering a letter by the Catalan MP in the Spanish Congress Jaume Moya, Madrid claimed that European institutions hold an “open attitude towards regional languages, but have always considered the presence of all of them in all institutions unfeasable, due to the high cost it would entail.”

For the time being, Catalan becoming official in the European Parliament is down to the Spanish authorities, and not to the chamber itself. The Spanish executive has rejected requesting Catalan become official in the EU over the years, both when the People’s Party was in power and when the Socialists started leading the country.

Catalan has more speakers than Bulgarian, Danish, Irish, Finnish, Slovakian, Lithuanian, Slovenian, Latvian, Estonian, and Maltese, but unlike the others, it cannot be used by MEPs in Parliament.

Tajani would not oppose

The European Parliament president, Antonio Tajani, pledged that he would place “no obstacle” in accepting the Catalan language in the Parliament as long as the request had been made by the Spanish government. This, in a letter written in January 2017 to some MEPs, just before being appointed to his current post.

In said correspondence, Tajani made no mention of the cost it would entail for the Union. “I would use all capacities within my reach in order for [Catalan officiality] to be passed as soon as possible,” he wrote instead.

In June 2017, several MEPs spoke in Catalan for the first time in the European Parliament even though it was not official, thus disobeying the rules of the chamber and prompting a member of the Parliament bureau reminding them that the language they were using was not accepted in the institution.