Regional languages – Podemos and nationalists want more recognition

by Deborah Cater
Spanish regional languages - more recognition called for
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Unidas Podemos, together with nationalist parties such as ERC and Junts, wants parliament to pass a resolution giving regional languages ​​in Spain the same recognition as Spanish and also allow them to be used officially. 

This resolution is not a government bill, which if passed would become law. It shows the parties want to deal with the “legal imposition of Spanish”. In doing so, they want to stimulate the use of the recognised co-official languages ​​of Spain. For example, it should be possible to use these languages ​​on labels.  They also want recognition of other local languages such as Asturian.

Supported by European documents

The parties supporting Podemos in the proposal – including PNV, Más País, Comprompís and BNG – invoke the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. This charter stipulates EU Member States must ensure the protection and promotion of regional languages. They also cite the Universal Declaration of Language Rights and the Protocol to the Guarantee of Language Rights. The latter document defends “the daily use of regional languages ​​by historical linguistic communities in Europe in all walks of their societies and the development of their languages”.

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Civil servants must speak regional languages

Relying on these documents, the signatory parties urge the government to give languages ​​such as Basque, Galician, Catalan and Valencian the same recognition as Spanish. For example, all civil servants in these regions who have a service function must have a command of the regional language.

The initial version of the proposal suggested the use of the local languages ​​by national institutions such as the Supreme Court, the Senate and the House of Representatives, the tax authorities, the Social Security institution and public institutions such as radio and television channel RTVE. However, following advice from lawyers of the House of Representatives, they removed it from the proposal because the government cannot realise anything that “exceeds its competence”. However, they retained that the government guarantees the regional language proficiency of all civil servants and the use of regional languages ​​on official websites. The international recognition of regional languages, similar to that of Spanish, also remains in the proposal.

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