Plataforma per la Llengua [Platform for the Catalan Language] has denounced before the president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, and the European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, that the public hearing on linguistic immersion to be held today at the European Parliament represents a further attempt by the MEP Dolors Montserrat to attack Catalan-speakers through her position as president of the institution's petitions committee (PETI).
In a letter to Metsola and a grievance filed with O'Reilly, the president of the organisation, Òscar Escuder, on Friday called on both of them to intervene in order to halt Montserrat's partisan use of the committee. On this occasion, Montserrat has dug up a petition from 2017 from Asamblea por una Escuela Bilingüe [Assembly for Bilingual Schooling] calling for Spanish to have the same importance as Catalan in schools, to organise an event at the European Parliament opposing linguistic immersion. This is a public hearing with four speakers who are clearly opposed to the model of schooling in Catalan: Teresa Freixas, Jorge Calero, Jesús Rul and Manuel Jesús Acosta, who represents Vox in the Catalan Parliament.
The Catalan NGO recalls in its letter that the European Commission has already established its position rejecting an examination into the linguistic immersion system on three occasions, since it is an "internal matter" of the Spanish State, regarding which it has no competence to act. In this regard, Escuder complains to Metsola and O'Reilly that Montserrat's decision to organise this event despite the declarations of the Commission constitutes misuse of public resources for the benefit of the partisan interests of the president, and goes against European values of protecting minorities (including Catalan-speakers).
The organisation is of the view that the hearing organised by Montserrat is an attack on the general interests of the European Parliament itself, which could see the trust placed in it by citizens undermined, and also goes against the positions adopted by the UN special rapporteur on minority issues, Fernand de Varennes. The rapporteur has denounced the failure of the Spanish State to acknowledge the existence of its linguistic minorities, has called for an amendment to the Spanish legal framework, being of the opinion, as is the Committee of Experts of the Council of Europe, that it is a discriminatory legal framework, and has argued that the Spanish State does not do enough to stop hate speech against minorities, a discourse which is in fact promoted by some of the speakers at this hearing.
Jesús Rul, for example, claims that "Spaniards are being forced into a linguistic apartheid", and that the Catalan-speaking minority is "ethnicist, supremacist and excluding". Both assertions help to demonise Catalan-speakers, and are not only false, but also malicious, since they accuse a population group which is a minority in the Spanish State of segregating a majority population group in the State. Plataforma per la Llengua believes in this regard that giving a platform only to speakers opposed to immersion, together with such hate speech, only helps to fan the flames of Hispanicist positions, and the harassment of Europe's linguistic minorities.