Thursday

6th Oct 2022

Catalan, Basque and Galician get EU language boost

EU citizens speaking Catalan, Basque or Galician can now communicate with the European Parliament in their own language, after a small majority in the parliament agreed to the move.

The vote cast by parliament president Josep Borrell was determined when seven out of 14 vice-presidents in the parliament's so-called "bureau" voted in favour, while the rest voted against the move in a meeting in Strasbourg on Monday (3 July).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Basque, Catalan or Galician- speaking EU citizens can now send a letter to MEPs in their own language (Photo: European Commission)

The decision will allow citizens of the five autonomous regions where the three languages are spoken to direct their letters to the parliament and to receive answers in their own language.

The deal does not cover language use in parliament plenary sessions or in the lawmakers' committee meetings however.

A previous vote in April on the same subject rejected acceptance of the Spanish regional languages with seven of the parliament vice-presidents voting against six in favour.

The centre-right EPP has been against the move to use the Spanish semi-official languages in the parliament.

Barcelona welcomed the decision

The Catalan government based in Barcelona welcomed the decision of the parliament.

"[It] implies a historical step for the country and for all the Catalans in the sense that we are now able to address ourselves in our language to this European institution," said president of the Catalan government Pasqual Maragall in a statement.

Any kind of communication sent to the parliament in any of the three languages will be translated by the institution's translation services to guarantee confidentiality while all costs will be covered by Spain.

Spanish citizens already have their right to write and receive replies in their own regional language in the European Commission and the council - the member states' decision-making body.

However, the languages fell short of attaining a full EU official language status like Irish (Gaelic) which will become an official EU language by 1 January 2007.

There are 1.6 million Irish speakers while far less use the language on a daily basis, according to official figures released in Dublin in 2004.

Basque, or Euskera, is spoken by around 1 million people in the Basque country in northern Spain and in bordering France.

Catalan is used by as many as 10 million people and is co-official in the Spanish autonomous regions of the Balearic Islands, Catalonia and Valencia.

It is also the official language of the Pyrenean mini state of Andorra and is spoken in some areas of France and Italy.

Galician is spoken by 3 to 4 million people in Spain's north-western region of Galicia and has similarities to Portuguese.

Feature

Why northeast Italy traded in League for Brothers of Italy

EUobserver spoke with several business figures and all confirmed they voted for Georgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy because it promised stability, less bureaucracy and tax cuts. Matteo Salvini's anti-EU rhetoric scared them, while they trust Meloni has "more common sense".

Europe's far-right celebrates Meloni victory

In Warsaw and Budapest, the prime ministers were quick to congratulate the new Italian leader, who — they hope — will back them in their battles with the EU over civil rights, rule of law and democratic backsliding.

EU seeks crisis powers to take control over supply chains

The Single Market Emergency Instrument (SMEI) introduces a staged, step-by-step, approach — providing emergency powers to the EU Commission to tackle any potential threat which could trigger disruptions or shortages of key products within the EU.

Testimony from son rocks trial of ex-Czech PM Babiš

In a fraud trial relating to €2m in EU subsidies, Andrej Babiš son testified his signature on share-transfer agreements was forged. He claims his father transferred the shares to him without his knowledge, making him a front man for scheme.

Podcast

How Europe helped normalise Georgia Meloni

Should Georgia Meloni be considered neofascist? She insists she's a patriotic conservative. And indeed, if she's prime minister, she's expected to respect Italy's democracy — if only to keep money flowing from the EU.

News in Brief

  1. Thousands of Hungarian students and teachers protest
  2. Swedish MEP cuts hair mid-speech to support Iran women
  3. Danish general election called for 1 November
  4. Slovenia legalises gay marriage, adoption
  5. Russia's stand-in EU ambassador reprimanded on Ukraine
  6. France warns over incoming eighth Covid wave
  7. EU adds Anguilla, Bahamas and Turks and Caicos to tax-haven blacklist
  8. Czechs warn joint-nationality citizens in Russia on mobilisation

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  2. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  3. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  4. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  5. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”

Latest News

  1. EU wants to see US list on Russia financing of politicians
  2. Putin's twin aim: to break Ukraine and West's consensus
  3. Putin's diamond firm off the hook in EU sanctions
  4. The Iranian regime's expiration date
  5. Let's end Bulgaria and Romania's 11-year Schengen purgatory
  6. EU debates new pandemic-type loans to deal with crisis
  7. MEPs condemn EU Commission 'leniency' on Hungary
  8. Czech EU presidency wants asylum pledges to be secret

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us