Linguistic policy reform postponed indefinitely
The change will not be included in next week's parliamentary business, as the parties await a new agreement with JxCat and Catalan Language associations
BarcelonaAlmost a month and a half after the unitary agreement for the use of Catalan in schools in response to the High Court ruling that established 25% of classes had to be in Spanish, no progress has been made. The reform of the linguistic policy law agreed by ERC, the PSC, En Comú and also JxCat has been postponed indefinitely. JxCat left the pact hours after it was signed, after it came under fire from associations for the defence of Catalan. The vote has since been postponed three times in parliament, in order to seek a broader consensus before taking it to the vote. Most recently it happened today: after parties decided to give themselves a further fifteen days to negotiate, the board of spokespersons decided to pull the reform from next week's agenda. And this time, according to parliamentary sources, no new deadline for the vote has been set.
There are several factors that explain this situation. The difficulties for reaching a new agreement that satisfies all parties have been made harder by the Catalangate espionage scandal, which has strained relations between the Socialists and the government. JxCat and also ERC are reluctant to appear to be striking any deals with the same party that they accuse of spying on them. Carles Puigdemont's party, moreover, will soon hold a congress (June 4) where it must vote for a new leadership, and one of the front-runners, speaker Laura Borràs, has attended events where the reform of the law of linguistic policy was rejected outright, as it introduces Spanish as a language of classroom teaching.
After En Comú Podem was left alone this Tuesday in the meeting of spokespersons defending the need to bring the regulatory change to the next parliamentary session – the proposal was not even voted on – the party's leader, Jéssica Albiach, considered that "there is no pedagogical justification that explains the postponement, beyond JxCat's internal problems with its own party members". "How long do they intend to leave teachers, schools and management teams unprotected?" she wondered. JxCat spokesman Josep Rius had limited himself to reiterate shortly before in an interview to La 2 and Ràdio 4 that "if there is no consensus with the [pro-Catalan] organisations, JxCat will not have a favourable position".
On the other hand, Catalonia's High Court has not yet responded to requests for the forced execution of the ruling which obliged all schools to teach 25% of classes in Spanish, giving parties a certain amount of time to manoeuvre. The Court has not responded either to a written statement by Education minister Josep Gonzàlez-Cambray, sent to the court at the end of March to inform it how he plans to carry out the ruling. The letter included the four-way agreement for Catalan in schools, which establishes that it will be schools who will decide the volume of teaching in each language according to the sociolinguistic circumstances of each one.