by Alexia Bos Solé in Barcelona
On Monday, the Spanish Secretary of State on European Affairs, Alberto Navarro, announced that he will intend to ask for the official recognition at European level of Catalan, Galician and Basque languages. The Spanish government will make the formal request once Ireland makes the request for Irish.
The move follows the Irish Government's announcement that it is to start discussions with the European Commission and with other Member States with a view to reaching full recognition for Irish in the EU, as both an official and working language.
The formal request by Ireland could be made in September or October, and then, under the same terms, the request from Spain would be presented.
According to the Catalan daily AVUI, Mr. Navarro said that “if Ireland makes the step we will do so with our co-official languages". Navarro assured that language “is almost a human right since it is the first expression of the individual”, but also pointed out the difficulties of succeeding in the request because some states are opposed to the initiative.
In addition, the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, defended the case for EU Treaty language status for the Catalan, Basque, and Galician languages in the Spanish Parliament.