The European Parliament will continue to investigate whether the Generalitat violates rights by failing to comply with the sentences


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The Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament has decided, this Monday, keep the investigation open on the complaint, made by the Assembly by a Bilingual School (AEB), of non-compliance with judicial rulings on linguistic matters by the Generalitat de Catalunya. The president of the entity has denounced for the third time in this Commission, since 2018, that the regional administration does not comply with the decisions of the courts and has indicated that, in her opinion, the Government of Spain is looking the other way when enforcing court decisions.

During his speech, Ana Losada has recounted chronologically what has happened since the December 2020 ruling of the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC), which obliges the Ministry of Education to extend bilingualism in the classroom to the entire system, recalling that both the president of the Generalitat , Pere Aragonès, like the director of the branch, Josep Gonzàlez-Cambray, have said in public that they have no intention of serving the sentence, as well as the case of harassment of a minor and his family in Canet de Mar (Barcelona) for getting 25 percent of classes in Spanish.

The representative of the AEB has recalled that, according to the courts, linguistic immersion (one hundred percent of the subjects in Catalan) is null and has lamented that families continue to “suffer pressure” from the Generalitat so that the linguistic conjunction model. “The account of the events shows that the Generalitat wants to avoid complying with the sentences”, Losada has said, after pointing out that after the decision of the Supreme Court, in November 2021, which ratifies the order of the TSJC, the pronouncements of the administration go in that direction.

Faced with this defenseless situation, the president of the AEB, during her two speeches of less than ten minutes before the MEPs accredited in the Commission, has appealed “to the Rule of Law” and to urge the Generalitat, from the European Union, to comply with the sentences, as well as to the Government so that it also “enforces” them and “provides the resources for it”. Equally, Losada has requested a “mission” of MEPs so that they move to Catalonia next year and verify if the Ministry of Education complies with the orders of the courts.

Losada has defended from Brussels that the AEB and the families that are forced to go to court, after the initial refusal of the Generalitat to comply with the sentences in linguistic matters, want “a diverse and bilingual school” and he has said that “we come to Europe because we do not trust the democratic institutions of Spain, because they have ignored us”, to finally remember that “rights belong to people, not to languages”.

The European Commission does not intervene

Although the case is still alive in the Committee on Petitions, the education representative of the European Commission, Rajka Lozo, has said that a matter of linguistic matters is not the responsibility of the European Union, since this is the responsibility of the Member States, although, Losada’s presentation has not focused on a linguistic issue but rather on a possible breach of citizens’ rights. Lozo pointed out that “it is the Member State itself that is responsible for managing the legal status of the official languages ​​in its territories and also in the educational system, respecting its Constitutions” and, therefore, has not considered it necessary for the European Commission to intervene in this issue.

After Losada and Lozo, 13 MEPs have intervened in the Petitions Committee chaired by the former Spanish minister Dolors Montserrat (PP). In solidarity with the petitioner and in favor of keeping the investigation open, Agnès Evren (PP), Maite Pagazaurtundúa (Renew), Hermann Tertsch (European Conservatives and Reformists), Rosa Estaràs (PP), Yana Toom (Renew) and Jordi Reeds (Renew).

Evren recalled that the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages ​​specifies that the use of regional languages ​​cannot be to the detriment of the official ones of the States. Pagazaurtundúa has pointed out that Losada’s request “It is not a merely linguistic issue, but one of EU rights” and that “affects the freedom of people.” For his part, Tertsch has defended linguistic freedom for parents to choose between the official languages ​​of Catalonia.

Estaràs has also indicated that the issue that has been debated is not only about languages ​​and has pointed out that the AEB has gone to Europe because neither the Government nor the Generalitat are listening to them. And he warned, addressing the seats where representatives of the nationalist parties of Catalonia were sitting, that “To harm a language, you have to do what you are doing: impose it”, in relation to Catalan in the classroom.

Toom has emphasized that the Catalan case is not unique: “In other Member States, rhetoric is used to protect a language with the aim of discriminating” and has lamented Lozo’s intervention, “with a vague rhetoric full of slogans ». Finally, Cañas has insisted that “rights are defended over and over and over and over and over again until they are achieved” because “the rights in a democracy correspond to the citizens and in this case, to the children”. And it has stressed that the Generalitat “has been failing to comply with court rulings for 30 years taking advantage their ability to litigate.

A debate with vehement positions

The different positions have been vehemently defended by MEPs. Among those who have asked for the investigation to be concluded are Javier López (S&D), Diana Riba (Greens), Pernando Barrena (The Left), Toni Comín (not registered), Cristina Maestre Martín (S&D), Tatjana Zdanoka (Greens) and François Alfonsi (Greens). The socialists López and Maestre have pointed out that the sentences must be carried out, but have criticized Montserrat for debating this issue for the third time in the Committee on Petitions, which decides by majority the issues to be discussed.

López, who has erroneously said that the ruling of the TSJC of 2020 is not yet in time of non-compliance, thus confusing compliance with a ruling with its forced execution, has stated that the Generalitat has complied, to date, all the rulings in linguistic matters and has defined the situation, for those who are not up to date with Catalan politics, as follows: “In Catalonia, what is done and what is said is often very far apart. The sentences have been applied stealthily.

Riba has accused the AEB and the parties that support his request of creating a conflict where there is none and has argued this because “at the bottom of this issue there is only the historical crusade of Spanish nationalism« against the Catalan language. Barrena, for his part, has described the proposal of those who defend bilingualism in the classroom as doing so for “convenience”, since it is only requested, he pointed out, when it is the use of Spanish that is at stake.

Comín has also taken part, who has made part of his speech in Catalan (like Riba and Estaràs). The former Minister of the Generalitat and escaped from the Spanish Justice has defended that “there is only one way for Catalans to continue being bilingual: that Catalan be the vehicular language” and has indicated that, in his opinion, «The bilingual school is the way to a monolingual society». And he has ensured that Spanish nationalism has a “genetic aversion” to linguistic pluralism.

Finally, Zdanoka has refused to keep the investigation open because, “unfortunately, our situation (of the European Parliament) does not influence (in this case); we are not a court; It is not an issue that belongs to the EU. But he has argued that the Greens are in favor of certain education powers being transferred to the European Union. Alfonsi has been in favor of linguistic immersion and has set the model as an example also for the corsicans.

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