THE Catalan Government has increased fines against restaurants that are not adopting the Catalan language on signs and menus.
In ever-increasing steps towards independence, the government revealed in a recent enquiry put together by the conservative Popular Party (PP) that the amount of fines against businesses increased by 173 per cent in the last year.
The evidence shows that the total fines reached a whopping €140,000 in 2015, compared to €51,350 in 2014.
The self-ruling region has a local policy that requires businesses to offer their services in Catalan, including signs, menus, wine menus and prices, according to the government’s website.
Even though both Catalan and Castilian Spanish are official languages in the region, the government policy protects Catalan which is the regional lingo.
The policy states on the government website, that:
“The concept of Catalonia’s own language applied to Catalan commits the public authorities and institutions in Catalonia to safeguard Catalan, to use it in a general manner and to promote its public use at all levels.”
Most fines were given to bars and restaurants in Barcelona that did not properly include Catalan on their menus. A total of 68 companies were fined in 2015 which is an increase from 57 the previous year. Around 20 of the fined companies were from outside of Barcelona.
So far this year, 89 companies had pending disciplinary proceedings regarding their lack of Catalan.
In response to the rising level of fines, the opposing PP party has already warned that action will be taken to stop them. A motion has been presented to the regional parliament to scrap the language clause. The proposal also contains the recommendation that fines already taken should be returned with interest, and exposes the “political pressure” which is being put on workers, companies and traders in the autonomous region to use only one of the two official languages.