Spain’s parliament goes multilingual

Spanish — or Castilian — is no longer the only language that can be used in the Spanish Congress of Deputies. Since Tuesday the regional languages Catalan, Basque and Galician may also also be spoken there, as is already the case in the Senate. The amendment is a concession to the Catalan separatists, whose votes Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez needs to secure another term in office. The press takes stock of the situation also at the EU level.

El Mundo (ES) /

The nationalists’ conquest

El Mundo sees the new law as a bid to sow discord and win votes:

“The first plenary session of the Congress of Deputies since the elections of 23 July marked a conquest by the Catalan, Basque and Galician nationalists: for the first time, there are communication difficulties among the representatives of the Spanish people. Under the guise of linguistic plurality, the introduction of the headphone in reality symbolises discord. ... A discord that contradicts the social reality, because Spaniards are lucky enough to be able to communicate in a common language. The whole manoeuvre is simply aimed at securing the necessary votes for the incumbent government to stay in power.”

El País (ES) /

A historic day

El País is pleased, even if Brussels does not follow suit for the time being:

“Spain is putting itself on a par with other democracies with institutional multilingualism such as Belgium, Canada and Switzerland. [Multilingualism] promotes unity and equality among citizens. ... And it restores the spirit of dialogue and harmony invoked in the constitution. ... Without exaggeration, this unspectacular Tuesday can be described as historic. ... Junts per Catalunya sees it as marking a decisive step towards Catalan being recognised in the EU, where the Spanish Presidency advocated yesterday for it to be granted official status in the EU institutions — alongside Basque and Galician. However this was met with predictable reticence, the 27 preferring to postpone the debate.”

La Vanguardia (ES) /

Madrid aiming to convince Brussels step by step

La Vanguardia assesses the chances of the regional languages gaining official status in Brussels:

“There was an unsuccessful attempt to have Catalan, Basque and Galician recognised as official languages in the EU almost 20 years ago. It failed due to resistance from France, Austria and the Netherlands. Today the situation is different. A certain reluctance remains, but the Spanish government is determined to realise its goal and is therefore planning a staggered introduction for Catalan, Basque and Galician. This gradual approach could help it achieve its objective.”