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The infringement of the linguistic rights of Catalan speakers in Spain reaches Europe

For the first time ever, there was a debate on linguistic rights in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. Hitherto, language issues had been debated in the Committee on Culture. Marga Payola, the Plataforma per la Llengua's international representative, was in attendance, together with Catalan and Valencian MEPs and the ELEN network.

The debate was opened by Davyth Hicks, director of ELEN (European Language Equality Network), who provided an overview of the current situation of minority languages - present in all the European Union Member States except Iceland. Hicks emphasised "the systematic infringement of the rights of the speakers of these languages, often by the public administrations". He gave a broad explanation of the situation of Catalan speakers before the Spanish public administrations, making explicit reference to the cases compiled in the recent report by the Plataforma per la Llengua"If you address me in Catalan I'll suspend the proceedings". Finally, he called upon the European Parliament to attend to the protection of minority languages, particularly when the states involved have ratified the European Chapter of Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML), as is the case of the Spanish State. In this case, he also called upon the European commission to "initiate an infringement procedure against Spain for discriminating against Catalan speakers". The Plataforma per la Llengua is a member of the FOCIR network.

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