Council of Statutory Guarantees backs new Catalan language law

The opinion requested by Vox, Cs and PP has been adopted unanimously

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Representatives of the four parties that agreed on the Catalan law to the Parliament.

The new Catalan language law has been given the green light. The Council of Statutory Guarantees, a Generalitat advisory body, has backed the law agreed by PSC, ERC, JxCat and En Comú to deal with the Catalan High Court sentence which demands 25% of classes in schools be taught in Spanish. The day after the deal was sealed, Vox, Cs and PP forced the law's approval by Parliament to be postponed by asking the Council to give its opinion. The opinion has been adopted unanimously and the Council establishes that the articles questioned by Cs, PP and Vox "do not violate" either the Constitution nor Catalonia's Statute of Autonomy. In order to issue these conclusions, the body has exhausted the period of seven working days granted by its own regulations.

The Council believes the new law "establishes a wider use of Spanish in the educational system" than was currently regulated: "The provision for the curricular use of a language means admitting the possibility that it may be extended over the whole set of elements that make up the educational system". And this, according to the advisory body, has a "clear" implication: Spanish is recognised as having "a use that obviously goes beyond its use" in Spanish as a subject.

25% of Spanish

In a 32-page brief, the Council not only endorses the new law for Catalan, but also makes it clear that in its opinion the 25% ruling need not bind the Catalan chamber. "The ruling on a minimum 25% [of classes taught in Spanish] does not become a parameter of constitutionality or compliance with the Statute of Autonomy that binds legislators and, therefore, obliges them to respect it," the body assures in the document. "It is easily ascertainable that neither the Constitution, nor the Statute of Autonomy, nor the basic legislation of the State, nor Catalan legislation, nor the Constitutional Court on the many occasions in which it has interpreted all these norms have at any time established this rule, or even any other similar ones by which specific percentages of distribution of the use of the official languages in education are fixed," the Council adds, which reiterates that legislators, for these reasons, need not respect percentages.

"The decision corresponds to legislators," it insists, and warns that "understanding otherwise would lead to attributing to the courts a power of political decision that exceeds the jurisdictional function granted to them by the Constitution."