Plataforma per la Llengua took part in the 66th Congress of the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN), which was held between Thursday and Saturday in Berlin. At the congress, Plataforma per la Llengua managed to get the assembly of delegates of the international organisation to admit it as an associate member and unanimously approve a resolution critical of Spain's language policies. FUEN is one of the main agents defending national and linguistic minorities, and the congress had more than 200 participants. Òscar-Adrià Ibàñez, head of the language rights unit at the Catalan NGO, attended and was able to meet Denise Loop, who is a Green MP in the German parliament.
The resolution, approved at the instigation of Plataforma per la Llengua and worked on with the FUEN executive committee, deplored the Spanish authorities' imposition of the use of Spanish in public and private life and the fact that Catalan is losing speakers because of obstacles placed in their way by the Spanish state and the lack of recognition of Catalan-speakers as a linguistic minority. The text points to the way Spanish supremacism affects the use of Catalan in judicial, educational, university and business spheres, as well as public services, and demands that Spain, the States of the European Union and international institutions become involved to change this.
Specifically, the FUEN resolution makes six demands. To begin with, a guarantee that Catalan is officially recognised as a minority language within Spain and that the Spanish government fully respects Catalan-speakers' language rights. Secondly, that a census is taken of Spain's linguistic minorities by analysing the language usage of speakers, their linguistic preferences and feelings of self-identification or belonging. Thirdly, acknowledgement that the decline of native language speakers is addressed with public policies serving to recover previous levels of use of these languages. Fourthly, that use of Catalan becomes standard in justice, education, universities, health, security forces, businesses and public administration through language requirements for workers and language training. Fifthly, to fight intolerance and discrimination on the basis of language, and, finally, to ensure that Spain complies with the European Charter of Regional or Minority Languages (CELROM) and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.
The head of linguistic rights at Plataforma per la Llengua, Òscar-Adrià Ibàñez, at the 66th FUEN Congress.
Plataforma per la Llengua, a new associate member of FUEN
The 66th FUEN Congress of also served to approve Plataforma per la Llengua becoming an associate member of this network. It has been a supporting member of the organisation since 2018, which meant it could not vote in the assembly of delegates, from now on it will be an associate member and will be able to vote there. This is a preliminary step to being admitted as an ordinary member after a wait of at least two years. This would allow Plataforma per la Llengua to have up to six votes at the annual assembly of delegates.
The Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN) is the main defender of national minorities and indigenous linguistic groups in Europe, and includes more than 100 organisations from 36 European states. FUEN began in 1949 in Versailles to offer different nations and minorities a proper role after the Second World War, and has recently coordinated initiatives such as the Minority Safepack: a European-wide legislative initiative to improve the protection of minorities. FUEN is currently the voice of national, ethnic, language and religious minorities in international organisations such as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations, where it has consultative status. The organisation also has a participatory status in the European Union and the Council of Europe.