The Minister of Territorial Policy, Meritxell Batet, announced today in Bilbao that the Government will assume the commitment to guarantee the right of all citizens to be able to choose any of the official languages with which they wish to relate to the General State Administration. He has advocated "intensifying the use" of Catalan, Basque and Galician "within the administration" so that its use "can be effective".
Batet chaired the fifth meeting of the Council of Official Languages, an interministerial body that was cited for the first time outside of Madrid and that had no activity between 2011 and 2017, according to the ministry. "With this meeting we wanted to show the commitment we have in the Government with the linguistic plurality of this country, with the existence of several official languages, and protect and enhance all Spanish languages, because they are a collective wealth that we all should feel proud of, "said Batet.
The council held in Bilbao, coinciding with the celebration of the International Day of Euskera, aimed to promote cooperation between the State Administration and the autonomous communities in the promotion of official languages. The ministry has taken the opportunity to invite the Basque Government, which has been represented by the Deputy Minister of Language Policy, Miren Dobaran, and the president of Euskaltzaindia (the Academy of the Basque Language), Andrés Urrutia.
At the meeting, Batet expressed the will of the central executive to "take on the pending task" of the General State Administration deepening the use of co-official languages, "especially promoting its use in terms of information on the Internet and in electronic administration". The minister has also expressed her willingness to "guarantee the proper use" of the official place names by all levels and ministerial registers.
"The knowledge and use of our languages is an obligation for administrations, for citizens it is a right and for public employees it is a wealth and a capacity that they bring to the administration, and as such we want to recognize it," said Batet. In this regard, he recalled that the National Institute of Public Administration (INAP) has created "for the first time" a call for public employees of distance learning courses in all official languages, whose purpose is, he said, to extend the knowledge of these languages among the officials.
After the meeting of the council the minister has moved to the High Court of Justice of the Basque Country, where she has met with its president, Juan Luis Ibarra, and has been interested in the translation system into Basque that has been implemented. "We hope it can contribute to the effective guarantee of its use in the administration of justice," said Batet.