Read in Catalan

In 1998, Spain's Official State Gazette, known as the Boletín Oficial del Estado, or the BOE, began translating the legislative texts it publishes into Catalan. This translation of the BOE was the result of a collaboration agreement between the Spanish and Catalan governments, enshrined in a Royal Decree in 1997 that foresaw the publication of the laws in all of Spain's co-official languages. However, in October last year, twenty-three years after that agreement, the agreement was terminated for administrative reasons. The texts continued to be translated for a few months, but it was the Catalan government that assumed the costs on its own and, at the end of May this year, due to the lack of a new agreement with the Spanish executive, the BOE supplement in Catalan was no longer published.

The 1998 agreement "for the publication of laws in the Catalan language" was signed by then-minister for the Catalan presidency, Xavier Trias, and the Spanish deputy PM of the day, Francisco Álvarez Cascos (PP). It meant that the Catalan government, through the entity that produces its own official gazette, the DOGC (Diari Oficial de la Generalitat de Catalunya), was in charge of translating the texts which would then be published in the BOE and the two administrations would split the costs fifty-fifty.

The agreement was reached at a time when Catalan votes in the Spanish Congress were essential to the José María Aznar government's parliamentary majority, and was in force for five years, after which it was considered to be "tacitly" extended each year. However, new rules on the legal regime for the public sector which came into force in 2015 required the revision of such agreements, and these led to its demise in October last year and made it necessary for a new agreement to be signed to keep alive the pact between the two administrations.


For months, according to sources at the Generalitat, the Catalan executive called for this translation to continue. Initially, in the face of the inaction of the Spanish government and in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, it was decided to continue financing it alone, assuming the extra cost to ensure the continuity of the publication of the Catalan version of the BOE, while awaiting the signing of a new agreement.

However, finally, after more than half a year without being able to obtain any response from Madrid, the Catalan executive decided to suspend the regular translations while still hoping that the Spanish government would agree to negotiate. The latest publication in the Catalan language supplement appeared on the BOE website on 26th May.

Little willingness from the Spanish government

The Catalan ministry of the presidency, on which the publication of Catalonia's DOGC depends, affirms that during these months the Generalitat became well aware of the "unwillingness" of the Spanish government to renegotiate the agreement and to pay the extra cost which the Catalan executive had had to take on in order to keep the BOE Catalan supplement going. However, the presidency ministry of the Generalitat leaves it clear that it is the will of the Catalan side to recover the translation of the BOE texts, as soon as possible, via a new agreement.

Since 2008, the Catalan language supplement of the BOE has included the complete summary of the "General Measures" section, the translation of laws, royal decrees, royal legislative decrees, transpositions of European Union directives and executive regulations submitted to the consultation of the Council of State. Although in the beginning the translation was delayed by three months on average, after 2008 it appeared just six days after the publication of the Castilian version. In addition, a search engine on the BOE website allowed searches for documents published in the Catalan supplement by keywords, or by date and publication number. This search engine, however, appears empty from May 27th this year onwards.


In the main image: a screenshot of the last day on which entries appear in the BOE supplement in Catalan, on May 26th this year