The Catalan government has launched a Europe-wide PR campaign in the midst of negotiations to reform the list of official European Union (EU) languages.
The campaign, lasting for eight days across all 27 EU countries and in 24 languages, consisted of large scale adverts in public spaces, broadcast media airtime, and social media posts to increase international public awareness of the demand for Catalan language recognition.
Catalan is a romance language spoken primarily in the autonomous Eastern Spanish communities of Catalunya and the Balearic Islands, and it is the official language of the Principality of Andorra. As of 2021, Catalan speakers were approximated at around 9 million.
Catalan Foreign Affairs Minister, Meritxell Serret told Euractiv news “We want to explain that we seek this officialdom in an empathetic way, that they [EU citizens] see it in a positive way, and that they see that it is to reinforce this European project, to reinforce this richness and this diversity that is essential”.
Minister Serret added that rather than focusing on only Catalan, the initiative is “in defense and praise of all languages.” After the Spanish general election in July, Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares formally requested that the EU council begin to add Catalan, Basque, and Galician into the roster of official EU languages.
This was deemed as the first step by Catalan independence parties to secure mass support into forming a socialist government, led by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
The process was met with a mixed reception, as Spain urged other EU countries to come to a final decision by September 19. Concerns were raised over budget, practicalities, and what the decision could mean for other minority languages in Europe.
Set for discussion again in the final weeks of October, Minister Serrtet notes that the proposal is still on track for steady progress. She stated “things are moving” and the overall position has not changed. She added “There may be questions that still require us to continue working to give them this certainty,” adding that the final dossier will not be approved until there is “technical and juridical” clarity.