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Spain should give information about the coronavirus in Catalan, according to the Council of Europe and the OSCE

The Spanish institutions give information about the coronavirus epidemic only in Spanish, as the Spanish government once again ignores European recommendations. The ECRML criticises the fact that some States, such as Spain "do not share information, instructions, directives and recommendations in languages other than the official language of the country".

With the coronavirus crisis, the Council of Europe has stressed the language factor, pointing out that some Member States "have not systematically shared information, instructions, directives or recommendations in languages other than the official language of the country".

In a note, the organisation in charge of monitoring the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages states that "the communication of relevant recommendations in more than one language is very important for the welfare of speakers of regional or minority languages". The Council of Europe is also complaining because it considers that the action of States opting to provide education on television "limited to the official language, without taking into account the needs of pupils used to receiving education in co-official languages" is "discriminatory".

Following this warning from the Council of Europe, Plataforma per la Llengua points to the Spanish government as a bad example of this kind of language uniformity when it comes to making recommendations to citizens. Pedro Sánchez's government issues all its communications (website, social media and press conferences) exclusively in Spanish. The Catalan NGO also notes that the education programmes offered by the Spanish Ministry of Education via Televisión Española are exclusively in Spanish.

Along similar lines, the OSCE's High Commissioner for National Minorities, Lamberto Zannier, has also asked States to provide "basic services in the languages used by the various communities, particularly on matters of health and in communications on this crisis". He also spoke about distance learning programmes, which he says "should be adapted to the needs of all communities" so pupils "can continue to learn in their mother tongue together with the official language".

The organisation will send the European organisations a report about all these cases of discrimination practised by the Spanish government at this time so that the body overseeing compliance with the ECRML (which Spain signed in 1992) can bear this in mind when collecting bad practices.


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