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93 regulations approved in 2017 impose Spanish over other languages

Most of last year's new regulations compel the exclusive use of the Spanish language in documents to be presented to the Administration. Since 2014, 297 regulations have been approved that discriminate against the Catalan language.

Plataforma per la Llengua has published research on the new regulations approved in 2017 regarding linguistic matters that specifically discriminate against the Catalan language. The NGO of the Catalan Language has revealed that, during the last year, 93 tax regulations had been enacted in the speaking Catalan-speaking territories under Spanish rule.

The investigation uses data from the BOE (Official State Bulletin) and reveals that the Spanish State continues to impose the Spanish language on the entire Spanish citizenry, setting aside the autochthonous -and also official- languages. During the period analysed, Spanish state institutions instantly approved 55 norms that favour Spanish and exclude Catalan in different areas of daily life, including the public, social, and economic spheres. 

On the other hand, and as a result of the refusal of the Spanish government to allow Catalan to be an official language of the European Union and even of Spain itself, European institutions approved 38 regulations that indirectly impose Spanish.  The study by Plataforma per la Llengua also reveals that 30 out of the 50 state regulations and 32 out of the 38 Community norms approved make reference to the need to utilize Spanish  on paperwork both when dealing with the state administration and   in business management.  The other areas regulated by the new linguistically discriminatory norms are welfare, language requirements, education, and labelling.

One of the most significant regulations of 2017, for example, is article SSI/121/2017, which demands that, when applying for government grants,  doctoral theses on the subject of gender violence be written in Spanish. Another prominent case is that of Royal Decree 316/2017, which establishes the mandatory use of Spanish in certain areas of patent applications, including international applications.

Aside from the quantitative and qualitative observations of Spanish State and European legislation, the study also conducted a qualitative analysis of the most important new legislation at the regional level. Of particular importance are: 1) the suspension by the Constitutional Court of article 8.3 of the Catalan Commercial Law, which regulated the duty of customer service employees to serve consumers in Catalan; 2) the initial approval and later suspension in the Courts of the Valencian Multilingualism Decree  that increased the presence of Catalan in the educational system (the investigation also mentions that in the beginning of this year 2018 the suspended decree was replaced by a less ambitious educational law); and 3) the approval of the Decree of linguistic use in the administration of the Generalitat Valenciana, which contains, for instance, an improvement in toponymy that is intended to prevent Catalan from being marginalized from the toponymiy of Valencian-speaking municipalities.

Also in the autonomic area, the report of  Plataforma per la Llengua observes that 2017 was a year of certain stagnation in the approval of linguistic regulations in País Valencià and especially, in Illes Balears. The governments headed by members of the Socialist Party (PSOE) have promised to reverse the policies that attack the Catalan language implemented  by the Popular Party (PP) and to advance toward equal rights for speakers of both official languages.

In País Valencià neither government has so far approved a law that guarantees certain language rights to Catalan-speaking consumers (such as they exist in Catalonia and Andorra). In País Valencià, in addition, approval of the requirement to know the local language in order to be able to work in the Valencian Administration is still pending.  This would extend to Valencian speakers the right to be assisted in their own language.  Currently only Spanish speakers have that right assured.

The main conclusion of the report is that the lack of official recognition of the Catalan language and the Spanish supremacist ideology that impregnates Spanish institutions (such as the judicial system, very active in the suspension and cancellation of laws) favour the policy of linguistic imposition developed by the Spanish State. Since 2014 -year in which  Plataforma per la Llengua started to keep track of the legislative impositions that discriminate against the Catalan language. So far 297 such norms have been approved.  This anomalous situation will cease to exist when the Catalan language is recognized as an official state and European Union  language and when the Spanish public institutions stop being hostile to Catalan speakers.

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