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La Plataforma per la Llengua denounces Spain’s failure to respect language rights to the European Parliament and to the Council of Europe

The president of the Catalan NGO, Òscar Escuder, met MEPs and representatives of the European Charter of Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) to call upon them to promote the reciprocity of audiovisual communications media in Catalan

Strasbourg, October 24.- This Tuesday, la Plataforma per la Llengua held working days in Strasbourg with a view to opening up lines of work with the European institutions to achieve greater protection for Catalan in the EU's legislative procedures and to improve its legal status in Europe. In this regard, different representatives of the organisation are in contact with representatives of the Council of Europe and with MEPs to expound the work carried out by the organisation and its desire to cooperate in order to improve the results of European Community legislative processes. The delegation is headed by the organisation's president, Òscar Escuder, accompanied by its director, Neus Mestres, and different members of the executive.

Among other things, the president of la Plataforma per la Llengua, Òscar Escuder, explained that "we are petitioning the MEPs for them, to the extent possible, to call upon the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, to fulfil the electoral commitment he made when he submitted his candidacy for the presidency saying that he would place no obstacles on Catalan being spoken in the plenaries".

Moreover, the linguistic discriminations suffered by Catalan speakers and the need to improve the fulfilment of the bilateral agreements between Spain and the European institutions so that written communication in Catalan between Catalan-speaking citizens and the European Commission will work properly were explained to the MEPs. This process is too slow and bureaucratised, as la Plataforma per la Llengua has ascertained: the same letter was sent to the Council of Europe in Catalan and in Spanish, and the Catalan version was answered several weeks later than the Spanish version.

Escuder has explained that MEPs have taken an extensive interest in the political situation in Catalonia and have expressed their solidarity regarding the protests against the repression and incarcerations instigated by the Spanish government against Catalan citizens. By way of example, the Belgian MEP Helga Stevens has an October 1 ballot paper framed alongside a poster that reads "Yes dialogue, No violence".

Meeting with the Council of Europe

Òscar Escuder also explained that on Monday evening he met the head of the Secretariat of the European Chapter of Regional or Minority Languages, Sixto Molina, to evaluate fulfilment of the charter by the Spanish Government, a review that is scheduled for 2018. The report, prepared by the Catalan NGO, that intends to provide information to the group of experts, proves that the state still limits the use of a language, or establishes one language as preferential - which it had undertaken not to do - and does not guarantee that legal procedures can be conducted in Catalan. In order to fulfil this point of the ECRML, the Spanish state would have to reform article 251.2 of the Law on Judicial Power.

Moreover, there is no full reciprocity in audiovisual broadcasts in Catalan between cross-border territories, and neither does the state afford Catalan a suitable place in its cultural policy abroad. Among the non-fulfilments, the Catalan NGO also emphasises the fact that in the case of the Community of Valencia, the commitment to take measures to promote Valencian language in the University are totally insufficient since the presence of classes in this language in the public university system is truly meagre. The Council of Europe will analyse the reports delivered in detail when evaluating fulfilment of the chartered by the Spanish state.

The institutional meetings with MEPs in the European Parliament will continue over Wednesday in order to explain the country's political situation to them and to offer greater collaboration in language matters with regard to the European legislation that can affect Catalan's legal status. This Tuesday, the Catalan NGO met up with the MEPs Nils Torvalds, Helga Stevens, Matt Carthy, Mark Demesmaeker and Izaskun Bilbao


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