What initially seemed like a new consensus for the Catalans at the school, capable of uniting four of the five MPs in parliament, ended in a split that is difficult to sew together. An agreement signed last March by the PSC, ERC, Junts and comuns to reform the language policy law was finally derailed after Junts distanced itself, and now doubts hang over the ERC, forced to decide whether to stay with the old formations of the left. the wing is tripartite or prefers not to vote otherwise than the groups that gave it the investiture.
In whatever direction the ERC goes, the rift is already open. A block in favor of maintaining language immersion, despite having an overwhelming majority, will not provide a joint response to the ruling of the Supreme Court of Catalonia, which introduces 25% Spanish in all schools.
The reform of the law on language policy entered Parliament last March, at the initiative of the three main Catalan parties and En Comú Podem at the highest level. This was, as the four promoters pointed out, a way to stop the judicial dynamic, which began to introduce 25 percent in several schools and then individually.
The new text was legally drafted and while it met the constitutional mandate to recognize Spanish as the language of instruction for the first time, it also expressly denied that general percentages could be set for schools, giving each school autonomy in deciding your language project. .
The recognition of the Castilian language was a hotly contested issue, both among pro-independence advocates and in the pedagogical and cultural sectors, as well as within teacher groups. So Junts initially froze his support for the text, and this week he just got off the hook, standing next to the CUP, which is calling for a reform reaffirming Catalan as the sole language of education.
“The party put pressure on them more than on the country,” the ERC accused its partners, whom it accused of “irresponsible” behavior for distancing itself from the agreement. The Republicans do not rule out that from the very beginning they will promote the reform with the UKP and the communes, with which they have a sufficient majority in the House, although the formation is still pondering what to do. On the one hand, because linguistic reforms have always been carried out in Catalonia with a broad consensus, and on the other hand, because of the consequences that this can have in government.
Lack of government cohesion
This last issue, executive cohesion, is especially important to the ERC, which has seen disagreements with the junta become more and more numerous over the course of the legislature’s year. It’s not just that the two main pro-independence parties disagree on secession or negotiating with the government, as became clear when Younts left the dialogue table promoted by Father Aragones. They also have significant differences in matters of general management, structural projects such as the expansion of El Prat airport and, now, in such absolutely important things as the policy regarding the Catalan language in the school.
If the crisis between pro-independence partners were a disease, the pain would not be considered acute, but rather chronic. That doesn’t mean it can’t be sharpened. The failure to even agree on an answer to the courts in one of the biggest offensives against the Catalans in the school since the beginning of democracy is another symptom that the scales are hanging in the balance, especially when Younts is in the process of transferring power after the departure of Carles Puigdemont and Jordi Sánchez. to give way to an uncertain direction in tandem between Laura Borras and Jordi Turulle.
With this sea in the background, it is no longer taboo to talk publicly about the possibility that Younts may leave the government. On the same Friday, Minister Josep Maria Argimon of Younts was asked about this in an interview with TVE. He was for the continuation with full conviction. The doctor’s opinion is a good thermometer for other ministers, but it may not coincide with the opinion of the party bases that will determine political strategy this summer.
To calm the waters, Younts assured he would take the Catalan proposal to the government, sending a clear message that his withdrawal from the agreement should not be seen as a new hole in executive power. Education minister, Republican Josep González Cambray, has already proposed a government decree that would define the new rules issued by Parliament, so Laura Borras’ proposal is not new either. The difficulty, however, is that there aren’t many ways for a government to legally avoid a TSJC decision, let alone outright defiance.
According to independent sources, this was also one of the problems of the proposal to reform the law on language policy. There is debate about the real effectiveness of the legal formula agreed upon by the PSC, ERC, Junts and comuns, because while some experts, such as former minister Irene Rigau, assure that it will be very difficult for the court to impose 25%, other lawyers believe that the law of parliament is not can work where all organic law does not work, such as the Selaa law passed just over a year ago. This uncertainty about the consequences that this rule could have encouraged Junts, who felt that the chances of distancing themselves from a working formula were low.
While the Junts are off the hook and the CUP never happened, the PSC and Comuns remain in favor of the Republican theses. It was Aragones himself who asked the socialists for the greatest possible cooperation on the question of the Catalan language, a request that has so far led to understanding. Salvador Illa’s party will never defend non-compliance, but it also wanted to make it clear that it is in favor of measures to make the 25 percent more flexible and adapted to the realities of each center.
To this we must add that the problem of the Catalan language was one of the topics that Moncloa was interested in bringing up for discussion with the Generalitat, convinced that this is a sensitive area for Catalan society as a whole, that it fits well with the reunification agenda that they propose , and that all this can be translated into some kind of explicit agreement between the two institutions.
But negotiations for the next table meeting have been paralyzed since the Pegasus scandal, and although the ERC has noticeably eased its belligerence over the past week, contacts are far from resuming at the moment. If in March a photograph of 103 deputies registering a legislative initiative in Catalan could make one think that harmony had reigned in Catalan politics, one had only to wait two months to see that it was a mirage.
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