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Exiled Catalan President, Mr. Carles Puigdemont, enters the European Parliament for the first time since he is in Belgium for the opening ceremony of the exhibition “The Catalan Language: 10 million European voices”

The exhibition organized by Plataforma per la Llengua (Platform for the Catalan Language) had been previously censored and banned by the Chamber, although it was subsequently authorized.

"This is not just a matter of linguistic rights, it's about rights in general: freedom and democracy is at stake" stated Mr. Puigdemont

Exiled Ministers Ms. Serret, Mr. Comín, Mr. Puig and Ms. Ponsati also attended the event together with MEPs of all parliamentary groups and representatives of civil society

"We just want to have the same rights that speakers of other European languages have" insisted Mr. Òscar Escuder, president of the Plataforma per la Llengua

In his first visit to the European Parliament since the beginning of his exile in Belgium, Mr. Puigdemont has insisted that the struggle for linguistic rights of Catalan citizens is part of the fight for freedom and democracy. This statement was made during the opening ceremony of the exhibition that Plataforma per la Llengua held today in the European Parliament, which had previoulsy censored, prohibited and subsequently re-authorized.

"The survival of the Catalan Language is in our hands. How can it make sense that Catalan cannot be used in the European Parliament, which is the home of expression and freedom?" Mr. Puigdemont wondered. "This is why I would like to thank Plataforma per la Llengua, because defending Catalan does not concern public administrations only, but it concerns us all".

For his part, the President of Plataforma per la Llengua, Mr. Òscar Escuder, highlighted the vitality of the Catalan language. "Catalan is not a minority language. It is the 14th most spoken language in Europe, with more than 10 million speakers. It is a language that is spoken in four European states, "he remarked. "But on the other hand, we see that Catalan speakers are not treated as they deserve. Catalan is not an official language of the Spanish State and holds official status at regional level only. This entails, for instance, that judges and civil servants working for the State Public Administration in the Catalan-speaking territories are not required to know the Catalan language and serve citizens in Catalan. This case would be unconceivable in multilingual States like Belgium or Switzerland" Mr. Escuder pointed out.

In his opening remarks, MEP Ramon Tremosa recalled that the President of the European Parliament, Mr Antonio Tajani, as well as his predecessor, Mr. Martin Schultz, opened the door to the use of the Catalan language in the European Parliament. "If this is not possible, it is because the Spanish State opposes it. Therefore it is clear that Catalan is not a minority language, but a minorized language" Mr. Tremosa concluded.

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