Almost two decades after Spain proposed for the first time in Brussels to recognize Catalan, Galician and Basque as official languages of the European Union, today the Central Government will again put the demand on the table of the Council of Affairs generals
At that time, to the political rejection expressed particularly clearly by France, Austria and the Netherlands was added the conclusion that it was impossible to expand the list of official languages without reforming the treaties (for Ireland's request it was not a problem, because since his entry into the club in 1973 Gaelic has been a treaty language). Nobody considered it and Spain, which then proposed the demand at the request of the ERC, lowered its aspirations and agreed to facilitate the use of these languages in the EU, but without an official letter.
Two decades later, the Spanish Government has armed itself with arguments on all fronts, legal, economic and political, to reactivate the debate. So, to avoid the legal deadlock of 2004, today he will evoke an article of the Treaty of Lisbon, which did not exist then, to defend that the regulation on the linguistic regime of the institutions can be reformed without the need to change the treaties. The Spanish reading of this legal statement is that, de facto, the co-official languages are already recognized as such by the EU.
"This treaty can also be translated into any other language that the member states determine among those that, by virtue of their constitutional orders, are official in all or part of their territories", reads article 55.2 of the text signed in the Portuguese capital in 2007, in force since 2009. States that so wish "may deposit a certified copy of these translations in the Council's archives". In fact, at the time Spain already translated the Treaty into Catalan, Galician and Basque and delivered the copies to Brussels. Only one other member state has embraced this right, the Netherlands, which translated the text into Frisian, the language spoken in its northernmost province.
The Spanish delegation maintains that, in accordance with this article, Catalan, Galician and Basque are "languages recognized as co-official languages by Article 55.2 of the Treaty of the European Union in the aforementioned linguistic regime of the EU". The meeting of the ambassadors of the Twenty-seven on Friday highlighted, however, that there are many doubts about the legality of the request, and in some cases they evoked the possibility of consulting the legal service of the advice
The money argument does not seem to be the most important, but the Government intends to neutralize any reservations on this front with its offer to take charge of the costs, so that it does not affect the EU budget forecasts. European diplomatic sources consider that it can be "useful" and be "interesting" for some delegations (Austria said on Friday that it thought it was a good approach). This detail is not currently in the reform proposal presented at the beginning of the month, but it could be reformed to include it in the same regulation, so that a new category of languages is not created, but that this option is simply given . The Spanish Government, for now, has not provided any estimate of the cost it would have for public coffers.
The strongest objections, however, may have a purely political nature, but be protected in other issues, hence the Spanish Government's eagerness to neutralize the other arguments and is based on the "specificity" of the case of the Spanish co-official languages. Unlike in 2004, he will now be able to tell Brussels that it is already possible to use them in Congress. At the moment, "there is no hostility" towards the request, according to diplomatic sources, who emphasize that "it is not a minor thing" when it comes to this issue.