Unidas Podemos and sovereigntists propose Catalan may be spoken in the Spanish parliament

PSOE will have to take a stand on the normalisation of co-official languages in the lower house

2 min
Representatives of the parties pushing for a change to the rules of procedure of the Congress to allow speaking in Catalan

MadridERC, JxCat, CUP, PNV EH Bildu, BNG, Más País, Compromís and Unidas Podemos have proposed a reform of parliamentary regulations which would allow Catalan, Basque and Galician to be used in the chamber. It aims to put an end to episodes in which MPs who speak Catalan in parliamentary debates are warned and, in the worst case, lose their right to speak. "MPs will have the right to intervene in debates and committees in any of the official and statutorily recognised languages in their autonomous communities. Likewise, they will have the right to present parliamentary documents and documents in any of these languages," says one of the points.

In the Senate, which is the territorial chamber, Catalan, Basque and Galician can already be used in some interventions. It is not allowed in the control sessions or when law propositions are debated, but it is allowed when addressing a particular senator. In Parliament, however, use of any language but Spanish is not allowed. Now, a group of parties will test PSOE's commitment to multilingualism, precisely coinciding with the new law on the Catalan in schools. In order to ensure that all those present can understand the speeches, the initiative establishes that there will be simultaneous translation into Spanish of all speeches made in other languages. The chamber's services will translate the recorded writings into Spanish. In the Official Gazette of Congress the speeches and documents would be published in Spanish and, "at least", in the language used [i.e., if a speech is made in Galician, it would not have to be translated into Catalan].

The proposal to reform the rules of Congress needs the endorsement of the PSOE to go ahead, taking into account that all parties on the right will oppose it. If the Socialists did support it, the changes would not be applied until the next parliament.