‘La tertúlia proscrita’

Tajani urged to keep his word and allow Catalan in the European Parliament

  • In a letter written in catalan, Tajani said that he would put 'no obstacles' to introducing Catalan

19.01.2017 - 18:17
Actualització: 20.01.2017 - 13:17

Catalan MEPS urged the new president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, to keep his promise and allow the use of Catalan in the plenary. During the electoral campaign for the chamber presidency, Tajani, from the European People’s Party, said that he would use all his power to allow Catalan to be used in parliament ‘as soon as possible’ if he receives a petition ‘from the national authorities’. In a letter written in this language, the Italian added that he would put ‘no obstacles’ to introducing Catalan. His Catalan promise came after the socialist candidate, Gianni Pittella, the ECR candidate, Helga Stevens, and the Greens/EFA candidate, Jean Lambert, also promised to allow the use of Catalan in the European Parliament.

In his letter, Antonio Tajani said: ‘If there is a petition (to allow Catalan) from the national authorities to the Parliament, and I have won the confidence to be President, I would put no obstacles to it’. ‘I would use all the means available to approve it as soon as possible’, he added, inviting Catalan MEPs to vote for him. In his first speech after being elected, Tajani confirmed to all members of parliament that he will keep ‘all the promises’ made. ‘I will do my best and I will support all MEPs’, he said, adding that he intended to be ‘a president for everyone’.

Catalan MEP Ramon Tremosa, from the ALDE group, asked Tajani to ‘not subordinate the use of Catalan in the European Parliament to a veto from the Spanish government’. In a statement, Josep Maria Terricabras and Jordi Solé, MEPs from the Greens/EFA group, said they voted for Pittella in the last round because he had shown a ‘clearer commitment than Tajani to support the official use of Catalan in the European Parliament’. However, they also urged the new President to keep his word.

Francesc Gambús, an independent MEP within the EPP group, said that Tajani will ‘facilitate the use of Catalan and won’t block it’. Gambús, who shares the same group as the Italian, said that his compromise on the Catalan language is a result of the work of all the MEPs from Catalonia. ‘It is true that Tajani is my candidate and his attitude may be influenced by the conversations that we have had in the last few months, but this has been a team effort’, he pointed out.

In fact, the Catalan Socialist MEP Javi López also praised his candidate, Gianni Pittella, for being one of the first to promise the use of the language in the plenary. Although Pittella didn’t make it to the presidency, López said that the Socialists’ commitment to the Catalan language has ‘always’ existed and has always been ‘serious’. The former president of the EP, German socialist Martin Schulz, promised to allow Catalan in the plenary, but was unable to keep his word because of the opposition of the Spanish parties.

Past difficulties have created some scepticism amongst MEPs. ‘It is true that we have a long history of unfulfilled promises’, said Josep Maria Terricabras. ‘But now it seems it is going to happen, that we will see it’. ‘If not’, he warned, ‘the protest will be absolutely massive’.

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