Last Wednesday 1 June, the Plataforma per la Llengua participated in a seminar on linguistic discrimination held in the European Parliament, organised by ELEN (European Language Equality Network), together with the European Free Alliance and the European United Left European parliamentary groups.
The director of the Plataforma per la Llengua, Neus Mestres, accompanied by Marga Payola, member of the executive, described the situation suffered by Catalan-Speakers to the Participants. "Far from improving, the number of cases of discrimination reported in recent years has got worse", she explained.
The director of the Catalan language NGO also made it clear to the participating European organisations that "even though more than 10 million people speak Catalan, and it is the 14th most-spoken language in the European Union, it is not one of the EU's 24 official languages". This means that "more often than not we Catalan speakers do not enjoy the same linguistic rights as citizens that speak one of the other official European languages". Neus Mestres based her speech on the discrimination report "If you address me in Catalan I'll suspend the proceedings, published by the Plataforma per la Llengua in 2015.
For this purpose, ELEN, of which the Platform is a member, called upon the European Parliament to prepare a European Directive on languages that will help to defend the rights of all the speakers of languages regarded as minority. "We are asking the European institutions to consider linguistic aggressions and discriminations as an attack on fundamental rights", said Neus Mestres.
The session on Respect for linguistic diversity? Language discrimination in the EU, was also attended by the Catalan MEPs Josep Maria Terricabras (ERC), Ramon Tremosa (CDC) and Jordi Sebastià (Compromís) from Valencia.
Meetings with European representatives
The Plataforma per la Llengua made the most of its trip to Brussels to meet representatives from European institutions and other countries. Mestres and Payola had a meeting with the Principality of Andorra's ambassador in Belgium, Maria Ubach, and the highest-ranking member of the European Charter of Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) of the Council of Europe, Sixto Molina.