The official status of Catalan, Galician and Basque in the European Union You’ll have to wait, to the regret of the Spanish Government. This became clear this Tuesday in Brussels, where the issue had a first contact between the 27 in the General Affairs Council (CAG) to which the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, arrived optimistic and left with a call for calm from the rest of the community partners, who do not want to address the issue in a hurry. There were already public vetoes – Sweden and Finland, among others – but reluctance was widespread, especially due to the financial, legal or administrative implications of the idea. So, now what?
A first step… failed?
Pedro Sánchez has promised the independentists that the three languages will be official in the EU in exchange for their support for the investiture, but the Government has realized that in Brussels things are going at a different pace. Spain, which holds the presidency of the Council of the Union until December, put the matter on the table and has encountered a stumble at the first opportunity. The issue is very green, and the rest of the partners consider that a more in-depth analysis is necessary.especially in relation to costs and legal requirements: as long as these reports are not available, there will be no progress.
In fact, the Executive had to change its plans when seeing the brakes put in place by the 26 remaining Member States: Now Moncloa wants to prioritize Catalan ahead of Basque and Galician. Albares assured that given its number of speakers, this would be among the 15 most spoken languages in the EU, and assures that in no case does this change represent “discrimination” towards the other two co-official languages. The three are also already discussed in the Council. The minister considers that he has fulfilled “the commitment” to launch the debate.
What can you expect now?
The Government insists that the proposal “does not change at all”, but 45 minutes of meeting in the Rue de la Loi in Brussels, where the Council’s headquarters are located, have served to see the reservations that there were. Finland warned that it was necessary to go deeperand France showed its willingness to “help Spain” but not before checking the implications of incorporating three more languages to the 24 that are already official in the Union.
Thus, there is a certain consensus on the need for a legal opinion from the Council and an impact assessment. This will drag out the process for several months or even years. Albares, who has not responded to whether this legal opinion has already been entrusted to the Council’s legal services, has indicated that “work will continue” to analyze the “development and implementation” of the Spanish request.
What mood is there in the rest of the Member States?
“It is not a question of whether the measure is appropriate or not, but rather what needs to be done correctly to carry it out. “It’s a matter of seeing the complete photo,” say sources consulted by 20 minutesto clarify that among the Member States “there is no rejection” of the Government’s approach, but yes, they wanted to escape from any rush. For some capitals, the problem comes from the effects that incorporating three more languages could have at once, while others consider that the necessary reform is too far-reaching to be addressed “in a short time.”
What does the opposition say?
The opposition at the moment has insisted that the acting Government is taking advantage of the presidency of the Council to address issues of interest to Sánchez. The leader of Cs in the European Parliament, Adrián Vázquez, He accused the Executive of “making a fool of himself” in front of the rest of the member states and “leaving the name of Spain in a bad place”, at a moment that is also “decisive” for the EU. “The Government has exposed all Spaniards by bringing a proposal that makes no sense, the only thing it tries to do is use Spain in blackmail to achieve personal gain,” he continued. But he recalled that “Europe does not accept blackmail.”
Faced with this position, First Vice President Nadia Calviño also defended the measure from Brussels. “The procedures in the European institutions, and It is clear that Spain has been requesting the use of co-official languages for quite some time. in the European Parliament,” recalled the number two of the acting Executive, who does not believe that the position of the 27 is a “disguised no” to the measure. Likewise, she hopes that the reception of the proposal “will be positive.” Calviño recalled Furthermore, “Europe has been built on diversity.”
Is there a set schedule?
There are no dates on the table for the resolution of the issue, even though Sánchez has already started the clock for his possible investiture. In fact, It is also unlikely that the issue will be finalized during the Spanish presidency of the Council.; If that happens, the Belgian one – which takes place between January 1 and June 31, 2024 – will inherit the debate, although its semester will be marked by the European elections next June, so the margin will narrow.