Tuesday

15th Oct 2019

Spain's co-official languages allowed in EU institutions

The so-called Spanish co-official languages – Catalan, Basque and Galician – will be used in the European institutions, including in Council debates, as well as in most cases in the European Commission and Parliament, foreign ministers decided on Monday (13 June) in Luxembourg.

The agreement stops short of recognising them as official languages of the EU but their "official use" is assured.

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Under the agreement, citizens writing to the EU institutions will receive a reply in their own language as well as in Spanish, and EU legislation will be translated into these languages, although it will not have legal value in this version.

Speaking at a press conference after the summit, Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos called the decision "an important step in the acknowledgment of the multiculturalism and linguistic diversity [in Europe]".

The new status of these three languages will be similar to the one previously held by the Irish (Gaelic) language, which was upgraded yesterday to official language of the EU - effective in 2007.

According to Catalunian daily La Vanguardia, there are 250 languages currently spoken in Europe, yet the deal is only encompassing the three Spanish co-official languages, with a possibility for extension to the Luxemburg language.

The Spanish government has pledged to cover the additional translation costs, which are estimated to amount to €1.5 million per year, writes El Mundo.

According to ABC, the Spanish government estimates that one third of the current Spanish translators are fluent in at least one of these languages, therefore no further hiring is being planned.

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