The Spanish government has sent a letter to the presidency of the European Parliament in which it requests that Catalan, Galician and Basque be classified as languages of use in full sessions of the European Parliament, as agreed in the negotiation table between the Spanish and Catalan governments on July 27th. In response, the pro-Catalan language group Plataforma per la Llengua agrees that this is "a small step forward", but it also points out the limitations of the request - as well as the hypocrisy of Spain's government asking the European Parliament to take a step which has been vetoed in the Spanish Congress in Madrid.
The news of the request to the European chamber was annnounced after the Catalan culture minister, Natàlia Garriga, and the Spanish minister of territorial policy, Isabel Rodríguez met this Friday, to "promote specific actions that allow the commitments to the protection of Catalan agreed at the Negotiation Table to be developed", as the Catalan government said in a press release. Specifically, at the meeting, Garriga made a proposal to her Spanish colleague for a work plan to "guarantee that the citizens of Catalonia can be attended to by the Spanish state administrations in the Catalan language".
From the Spanish executive, the minister Isabel Rodríguez, explained the work in progress in relation to these commitments for the protection and promotion of Catalan and the other official languages of the Spanish state. The first of these commitments is the letter that the Spanish government has sent to the presidency of the European Parliament in which it is requested that Catalan, Galician and Basque, in addition to Spanish, be able to be used in full sessions of the European Parliament, as agreed at the Negotiation Table.
"Curious that Spain itself vetoes the languages"
Meanwhile, the pro-Catalan language group Plataforma per la Llengua has given its own evaluation of the gesture by the Spanish government, to make Catalan, Basque and Galician into languages of use - although not official languages - in the European Parliament. The Plataforma notes that Catalonia's own language is prohibited in the Spanish Congress. "It's already curious that Spain is asking Europe for what it vetoes in its own Congress...", said the Catalan NGO.
The Plataforma considers that making it possible to speak Catalan in the European chamber "would be a small step forward", but it also warned that the most significant rights "will only be obtained with the full official status of Catalan in the EU". It added: "Let's not fool ourselves!"
✅ Poder parlar en català a l’Eurocambra seria un petit pas endavant.— Plataforma per la Llengua (@llenguacat) September 16, 2022
⚠️ Però no ens enganyem! Els drets més significatius només els obtindrem amb la plena oficialitat del català a la UE 👉 https://t.co/yLjBB65mQ7
❌ Ja és curiós que 🇪🇸 demani a 🇪🇺 allò que veta al Congrés... https://t.co/b0ZhMhcd49
According to the Plataforma, the Catalan language is an "exception" in the European Union, because it is "the only language with its dimensions, vitality, economic and demographic weight, force of attraction and legal and symbolic representativeness" that is not fully official in Europe. It is "the political will of successive Spanish governments" that has caused the language to "continue to be discriminated against today".
In the Platform's opinion, the situation can only be resolved with the declaration of Catalan as an official language in the European institutions. When a language is categorised as a language of use, but not official, in theory it allows official translations, simultaneous interpretation and written communications to use the language across the institutions of the Union. However, although this route has existed since 2005, it has had practically no operation.
Apple's iOS 16 includes Catalan
The American company Apple has incorporated Catalan into iOS 16, the new operating system for Apple mobile phones. Thus, Catalan will be one of the languages available in its wide range of iPhone products. Thus, Catalan-speaking users will also be able to address the Apple voice assistant in Catalan. This is a first step to comply with what the multinational announced two years ago, when the company said it was teaching the intelligent assistant Siri to "understand" Catalan.