GOVERNMENT employees will no longer be required to speak Catalan in the Balearic region according to the government’s adjustment to the Public Function Law.
Until this past week, fluency in Catalan was essential for government employees; however, the requirement was abolished by regional Parliament, making Spanish the only necessary language and treating Catalan as an extra merit.
Parliament member, Fernando Rubio, who is part of the conservative Popular Party (PP) majority, defended the law change saying that it guarantees “equality between the two official languages.”
He explained that his party is trying to eliminate any discrimination based on language.
On behalf of the socialist party PSOE, parliament member Pilar Costa said the reform “eliminates Catalan as an official Balearic language” and assures that “Spanish has preference above Catalan.”
More than 150 people gathered outside Parliament offices on the morning of the decision to protest against the law.
Jaume Mateu, president of Balearic Cultural Work (OCB) which organised the protest, called the law reform “traitorous” to citizens of the islands, pointing out, “It contradicts the Constitution, the Statute of Autonomy, and the law of regional languages and European minorities.”
The OCB further accused the law reform of “taking away the Mallorca residents’ rights to be assisted in their own language in public service offices.”