Press release |

Spanish government must fulfil agreements for use of Catalan

Press release by ERC MEP Oriol Junqueras

* Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya MEP Oriol Junqueras has put forward a block of 17 parliamentary questions to the European Council, Commission, Parliament and Ombudsman regarding the Spanish Government's non-compliance in the use of Catalan at EU level;
* Junqueras: 'Once again the Zapatero Government has broken its promises, and in this case they are failing to apply the administrative agreements for the use of Catalan that they themselves signed in 2005.'

Catalan MEP Oriol Junqueras has asked the EU institutions to ensure that the Spanish Government fulfils its obligations in implementing the five administrative agreements they signed in 2005 regarding the use of Catalan in the EU institutions.

Junqueras has tabled a parliamentary question in respect of each of the Spanish government's failures to comply with agreements concerning Catalan: 5 questions to the European Council, 4 to the Commission, 3 to the Parliament and 5 to the Ombudsman.

As the Horitzó Europa think-tank recently pointed out, the Zapatero government is still failing to carry out its own pledge to establish an organisation to undertake translations from and to Catalan of communications from citizens concerning the EU institutions, five years after pledging to do so.

The Spanish Government has also gone back on its word to translate European legislation adopted through codecision and publish it on a web site. Moreover, the Spanish executive has failed to honour its pledge to translate information material pertaining to the European Ombudsman into Catalan.

Junqueras explained: "These facts clearly demonstrate that the Spanish Government doesn't want Catalan to move forward in the European Union, in the same way that the Spanish Socialist Party states that it doesn't want to see Catalan used in the Spanish parliament. Everyone has to do as they believe, but we've clearly seen the intentions of the Spanish socialists as it's been years since Catalan could have been moving forward in terms of status at EU level, but has been blocked from doing so. It's one more failed commitment by Zapatero's government, only this time it's a commitment made to the European institutions."

The Catalan MEP also explained that the Spanish Government could seek the reform of article 1/58 of the Council so that Catalan might be made an official EU language in the same way that Ireland achieved official status for Gaelic.

Junqueras added: "With further EU enlargement, the languages regime will have to be looked at again and it's quite possible that languages with much fewer speakers than Catalan could become official. The Spanish Government would have the possibility of showing it's true commitment to defending the Catalan language by refusing to accept any new EU languages if Catalan wasn't included in the regime too."

In the mean time, Junqueras is encouraging the European institutions to broaden the administrative agreements with Spain so that written communication with citizens can be translated directly, speeding up the process and shortening the time people have to wait for an answer. The current arrangements mean that the Spanish Government has to send the translated enquiries in Catalan to the EU, which then has to reply to the Spanish Government which in turn passes the response on to the citizen.


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