IEC complaint before the Council of Europe
This week, the Council of Europe’s committee of experts began its assessment of Spain’s compliance with the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (CELRoM). Isidor Marí, prominent member of the Philological Section of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans (IEC), actively participated in the meeting and highlighted the repeated non-compliance of the Spanish State in matters of linguistic rights.
Breach of commitment and lack of support for the official Catalan language
Marí insisted on the need for a more energetic counterclaim by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, highlighting the shortcomings of the Spanish State in the use of Catalan in the judicial system, the territorial administration, the services public and health services. He also emphasized the refusal to accept the popular legislative initiative “Television without borders” in 2010, which demanded the reception of channels in the Catalan language throughout the territory.
Ineffectiveness of the Council of Official Languages
Marí highlighted the limited activity of the Consejo de las Lenguas Oficiales, created in 2007 to order the use of all official languages in State institutions. In ten years, it has only met eight times, without contributing to the promotion of multilingualism in Spanish society.
The Negative Consequences of the Lack of Officiality of Catalan in the EU
Marí also underlined the negative consequences of the lack of official status of Catalan in the European Union, a repeated demand without state support. This, according to the sociolinguist, negatively affects the projection and presence of Catalan in the European sphere.
Complaint of Non-Compliance with Law 27/2007
Finally, Marí denounced that the State is in breach of Law 27/2007, which stipulates the funding of Catalan sign language. He urged the experts to invite France and Italy, other states where Catalan is a heritage language, to sign and ratify the Charter.
Wide Participation in the Meeting
The meeting was attended by the Secretary of Language Policy of the Generalitat, Francesc Xavier Vila, as well as representatives of the Departments of Education, Health and Justice of the Generalitat. Several organizations that work for the promotion and defense of Catalan and Occitan in Aran also participated.
The European Charter of Regional or Minority Languages
CELRoM, approved in 1992 by the Council of Europe, is a binding legal instrument for the protection and promotion of regional or minority languages on the continent. The Spanish State ratified it in 2001, recognizing the official languages of the statutes of autonomy of several autonomous communities. The Charter determines that the member states must present five-yearly reports on the fulfillment of linguistic rights, subject to evaluation by the Council of Europe.
Conclusion: Pending Challenges for the Spanish State
CELRoM’s sixth evaluation highlights the pending challenges for the Spanish State in terms of linguistic rights. The Council of Europe will have to decide on the measures to be taken in the face of the breaches noted, opening a path towards the effective protection and promotion of regional and minority languages.