Monday June 24, 2024

EU states reluctant to add Catalan as official language

September 20, 2023

BRUSSELS: Spain´s demand for Catalan, Basque and Galician to become official EU languages faced opposition on Tuesday as the bloc´s member states fear any such move will trigger a domino effect.

The headache for the EU began after Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez failed to score a victory in July elections and sought the support of Catalan separatists to stay in power.

Spain has taken advantage of its EU presidency to put the language issue on the agenda of a European ministers´ meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, but Madrid´s insistence is frustrating the bloc.

The European Union currently has 24 official languages, although there are around 60 minority and regional languages in the 27-nation bloc. All legal EU documents -- treaties, laws and international agreements -- must be translated into the 24 languages and there must be translation available in them at leaders´ summits and ministerial meetings.

Any additional language must be agreed unanimously by all 27 member states. The Swedish government has said it is hesitant and has called for a study into the “consequences for efficiency of the union´s work”.

“There are many minority languages within the European Union that are not official languages,” Swedish EU Affairs Minister Jessika Roswall told reporters on Tuesday. EU ambassadors last week said the Spanish request raises “legal, administrative and budgetary questions” that must be carefully looked at before any decision.