The Congress of Deputies will reject this Tuesday a proposal to reform the regulations of the Lower House registered by three parliamentary groups to allow the use of co-official languages in plenary sessions and other bodies of Parliament. The initiative was defended by United We Can and all the nationalist and independence parties, but it will be overturned by the 'no' of PSOE, PP, Vox and Ciudadanos.
Podemos and partners of the Government take the co-official languages in Congress to a vote and force the PSOE to pronounce itself
Since 2005, Basque, Catalan and Galician can be used in some interventions –in motions and writings– of the Senate, which is considered the territorial chamber, but their use has never been approved in Congress, where they can only be used to mention brief quotes during a speech In a joint declaration, ERC, PNV, EH Bildu, En Comú Podem, Junts, PdeCat, CUP, BNG and Compromís have considered, in fact, that the Congress is "a clear exponent" of the "privileged situation for Castilian" in the state.
“It is not even established in the regulations, but the Presidency relies on the uses and customs to deny expression in any other language, unlike other parliaments in which multilingualism is reflected, such as Switzerland or Belgium or Canada, the latter countries in which historically one language has also been imposed over another”, they explained.
The first to intervene this Tuesday in the plenary debate on the aforementioned initiative was the ERC deputy Montserrat Bassa who, after a few words in Spanish, began to speak in Catalan. The Vice President of Congress, Alfonso Gómez de Celis, who, just at the beginning of the session, held the Presidency in substitution of Meritxell Batet, asked him to make "a logical and sensible use" of the rules of the chamber, which establish as the only language of the Castilian Parliament.
But she continued in Catalan and, after three calls to order, the word was withdrawn. “According to the Constitution, the use of the Spanish language is a right, not an obligation!” Bassa shouted, already with the microphone turned off and between boos from the PP, Vox and Ciudadanos deputies. “It is that we did not find any article that prevents speaking in Catalan”, she added, while Gómez de Celis insisted that she leave.
"The hens? 'Oiloa', they say in Basque”
The dynamic was repeated with the deputy of Junts, Miriam Nogueras, who before speaking in Catalan criticized the "dynamics of languages" of the Congress, and who was later also warned by Gómez de Celis with two calls to order. Before the third, she shouted “Visca Catalunya lliure!” and she left the lectern.
The rest of the spokespersons for the nationalist and pro-independence formations also decided to speak in their respective languages, all of them co-official, according to the Constitution, but which after four decades of democracy still cannot be used in plenary sessions of Congress.
Ferran Bel, from the PDeCAT, for his part, chose to say each sentence in Catalan and Spanish, provoking laughter among the pro-independence deputies. He considered that "the most normal" is that all the interventions be translated into the co-official languages, living in "a multinational State." It is the same dynamic adopted by the spokeswoman for EH Bildu, Mertxe Aizpurua, that she translated into Spanish for herself each of the sentences that she pronounced in Basque. Joan Baldoví, from Compromis, did it in Valencian, but he was not expelled either because he only used it at the end of his speech.
PNV deputy Joseba Agirretxea, who also spoke partly in Basque and partly in Spanish, reproached the PSOE, PP, Vox and Ciudadanos for not allowing the use of the co-official languages in Congress despite saying that they are all "Spanish languages". ” since they speak of Spain as a “multilingual” State. "Linguistic rights are neither granted nor withdrawn by any president of Congress," Agirretxea pointed out. From the Vox bench they yelled at him: "The chickens." "How? What does he say about chicken? the PNV deputy wondered. “Oiloa, it is said in Basque”, he added.
Yes, the word was withdrawn, after three calls to the order of the Presidency, to the BNG spokesman, Néstor Rego, who did so in Galician; and that of the CUP, Albert Botran, who spoke in Catalan. On the part of United We Can, their spokesperson, Pablo Echenique, the deputy of En Comú Podem, Joan Mena, and those of Podemos, Roberto Uriarte and Sofía Castañón -the latter in Asturian- spoke, who defended languages as a form of understanding and not of confrontation.
Statutorily recognized languages in the communities
The common idea of all these political forces was thus to claim a Proposal to reform the Regulations of the Congress of Deputies on "the use of the official and statutorily recognized languages in their Autonomous Communities in the Congress of Deputies", presented by the Republican Groups , Plural and Basque.
The authors proposed adding to Article 6 of the Rules of Procedure of the Chamber a section to give "the right to the deputies" to "intervene in the sessions of the Plenary and of the Commissions in any of the official languages and statutorily recognized in their Autonomous Communities", as well as to do the same in parliamentary documents and writings.
But the initiative will not go ahead because PSOE, PP, Vox and Ciudadanos have announced that they will reject it in the vote that will take place late in the afternoon. The socialist deputy Guillermo Meijón has defended that the Constitution "places on an equal footing" the co-official languages in the autonomous communities, but has assured that the PSOE "understands that there is a reasonable balance" in the Cortes by allowing the use of Basque, Catalan or Galician only in the Senate and not in Congress.