What are the consequences of Catalan not being an official European Union language?

Our language is an exception in the European Union. While there is no other language with Catalan's dimensions, vitality, economic and demographic weight, power of attraction and legal and symbolic representativeness that is not fully official in Europe, the political will of the successive Spanish governments has led Catalan to continue to be discriminated against in our time. This leads to serious negative consequences which unfortunately we are sometimes unaware of:

  • The impossibility of using Catalan when dealing with the European institutions and organisations. At this moment in time, European citizens cannot communicate directly in Catalan with the European public powers that they have chosen democratically and who represent them. Only residents in the Spanish State can do so, and even then through an indirect procedure involving multiple translations with no guarantee of getting a reply in Catalan.


  • The same dysfunctional procedure described for communication with the European Commission also operates for Council of the European Union the commissions by virtue of an agreement between Spain and this institution.
  • This same agreement establishes that Spain's representatives at the sessions of the Council of Europe can use Catalan language, with two minor problems:

          a) Translation can only be provided if the Council's Translation Service thinks it is possible. Therefore, translation is never guaranteed.

b) At the sessions of the Council of the European Union, Spain is represented by its respective ministers depending on the formation (Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, etc.). In view of the Spanish government's language sensitivity, it is not difficult to imagine just how dysfunctional the agreement is.

c) Spain sometimes allows an autonomous minister (who represents all the other autonomous communities) to participate jointly with the Minister at the Council of Agriculture, although when the Catalan speaker's turn comes, problems have casually cropped up (see this new item).


  • There is another agreement signed by Spain with the Court of Justice of the European Union that is intended to permit correspondence in Catalan between Catalan-speaking Spanish citizens and this institution. However, this possibility does not apply to jurisdictional documents, to those that refer to the application of a legal regulation or to those intended to obtain an advantage (for example a subsidy), benefit (for example, the award of a public contract) or a function (for example, an application for a job vacancy). Put more simply, Catalan can only be used for very basic administrative procedures that are of no consequence whatsoever. Moreover, the translation procedure follows the same dysfunctional scheme as the one described for the Commission and the Council.  
  • Repeal, suppression and limitation of certain linguistic rights that the Catalan legislation used to guarantee, such as consumption and labelling laws for food products. This is because Regulation 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and the Council only guarantees labelling in official European Union languages.
  • Neither can our political representatives use Catalan in any of the different European echelons unless expressly authorised to do so.                            
  • None of the official documents of the European institutions can be written in Catalan; nor can the treaties, the Official Journal of the Union or the core texts of the European Union be published in Catalan.
  • Our language cannot be part of the sphere of community programmes and actions for the protection, promotion and dissemination of European Union languages. This makes it difficult for any European citizens that want to learn Catalan to do so, making it a second-class language.
  • Catalan does not currently have the symbolic prestige it deserves nor the status that would make it possible to improve its internationalisation. Being official, besides the implications it would have for European Union policy, would also have repercussions in the policies of the different states.

For this reason, the Pro-Language Platform believes that the only possible solution for putting an end to this situation is the creation of a state of our own that affords Catalan the legal and judicial importance it deserves. 

Help us to publicise this situation by sharing information through the social media with the hashtag #noofficialnoexist