Yesterday, the European Commission accepted the request that the Ministry of Universities made last year to include Catalan, Basque and Galician within the educational platform that allows Erasmus students to learn the languages of the universities to which they travel. . This is a concession from the Government to the nationalist parties that it included at the last minute in the Organic Law of the University System (Losu). The most famous program to foster a sense of European belonging among young people legitimizes these languages in order to "promote equity and social cohesion."
The decision comes on the eve of the implementation, next Tuesday, of the use of Basque, Galician and Catalan in all the parliamentary activity of Congress and with the doubts generated in some countries, such as Sweden, by the request for their recognition as official languages. of the European Union. To these two measures, a bargaining chip for the nationalist parties to support the investiture of Pedro Sánchez as President of the Government, is now added a community resolution that confirms that the plan to promote the use of Catalan in all institutional areas continues to advance with steps calculated and decisive: the Generalitat wants that, by 2025, 80% of the subjects in Catalan universities will be taught in Catalan.
The EC decision does not mean that Catalan, Basque and Galician will be given official recognition as official languages of the EU, but is limited to "including" them within the online linguistic support platform Online Linguistic Support (OLS). ), providing "information about the free resources available to learn them provided by the regions in which these languages are spoken, as well as links to these resources." In any case, it is a recognition with a great symbolic load, since it places them at the same level as Spanish, English, French or German, a concession that will predictably serve the independence movement to legitimize new claims in relation to language.
What was agreed yesterday by the vice president of the EC, Margaritis Schinas, and the acting Minister of Universities, Joan Subirats, meeting in Barcelona at the II Forum of Alliances of European Universities, is that these resources will be available on the platform before next month October, a very symbolic date for Catalan independence supporters.
In a communication from Schinas released by Subirats, it is said that the EC "recognizes the importance of promoting linguistic diversity" and that "inclusion and diversity are part of the general priorities of the Erasmus program", but it does not mention that Catalan is being used in Catalan schools as a language of exclusion, since the right of families to also learn in Spanish, the official language of the State, is not recognized.
Although the EC recognition includes Galician and Basque, the basis of the claim comes from Catalonia. On October 1, 2019 - again, a nod to the date of the illegal referendum -, the Xarxa Vives, which represents 22 campuses in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, the Valencian Community and Andorra, formally asked the Spanish Service for the Internationalization of the Education (Sepie), dependent on the Ministry of Universities, which processed the inclusion of Catalan in the list of languages to be included in the online linguistic support platform OLS, in the then Erasmus 2022-2027 program.
Between June and September 2022, the Minister of Universities, Joan Subirats, held "different meetings and communications" with the Xarxa Vives, as explained by his team, and proposed that the Basque and Galician universities join the petition "to collect linguistic diversity more completely. This was specified in a letter addressed to the Ministry on September 15, 2022 in which the proposal was expanded.
On November 4, 2022, Sepie transferred the content of this letter to the European Commission, asking it to include these three languages on the platform. He did so just as the PSOE was negotiating with ERC, PNV and BNG the inclusion of an amendment in the Losu to give recognition to these languages in student mobility programs financed by the EU, "with particular reference to the Erasmus program" .
It is important to note that, on December 13, 2022, the report of the presentation was approved with this amendment in the Education Commission of Congress and that it was not until the 23rd when the Lower House approved this law, which was It was definitively validated by the Cortes on March 9, but the Government had previously submitted a request to the EC to include the three co-official languages in the Erasmus program. In other words, Subirats did the work that the Catalan campuses asked of him before Congress ordered it.
The acting minister wrote yesterday on the social network X that the measure is "good news that promotes inclusion and diversity as essential values of the EU."
Sources from his Ministry added that "this recognition is a very important advance in the development of equity and the advancement of the protection of the wealth and linguistic diversity of our country." Meanwhile, the Catalan Minister of Universities, Joaquim Nadal, celebrated a decision that "puts an end to an unjustifiable historical grievance that did not recognize Catalan as a language of international mobility, despite being official in Catalonia and being the main language of teaching in degrees from Catalan universities".
The Generalitat's plan to Catalanize universities, which has a budget of 4.5 million euros, will more strictly ensure that, in the selection processes, new professors officially certify that they have a C1 level of Catalan. It will also allow students to report those teachers who do not teach classes in the previously announced language. Likewise, it includes an alternative exchange program to Erasmus with the universities that make up the Xarxa Vives.