I can’t think of a precise equivalent to the politically-inspired separation between the Catalan of Catalonia and the Catalan of adjacent Spanish regions, as described critically in Open Democracy by Alessio Colonnelli. I will content myself by noting that, in a free society, this distinction can survive only if its speakers want it to survive.
Catalan (or subsequently referred to as Catalan-Valencian) isn’t among the magic EU 24. On its official web page, the European Commission says it “maintains the policy that all EU citizens have the right to access all EU documents in the official language of the Commission, and should be able to write to the Commission and receive a response in their own language.”
The 11.5 million-strong Catalan-Valencian language is regarded as a regional language; its status is hence hierarchically inferior. That’s not the result of EU shortsightedness, but the upshot of manoeuvering from Madrid.
Bureaucracy and political meddling of the eye-for-an-eye type are the cause of this. The cultural, linguistic and editorial weight of Catalan-Valencian has been brushed aside. A crime against diversity.
Whilst Dublin pushed Irish Gaelic through Brussels’ mesh, Madrid has craftily resorted to a loophole to keep Catalan-Valencian away from the Continent’s linguistic centre-stage. The Spanish political establishment has asked for Catalan-Valencian not to be included – Spain mustn’t be internationally identified with any other languages other than Spanish.
[. . .]
Gaelic is something Ireland is proud of. Catalan-Valencian is something Spain would gladly do without, like an embarrassing relative, the awkward one you don’t want to be associated with. A bit like a skeleton in the proverbial closet.
Catalan and Valencian are one and as one, it deserves space on Spain’s international stage. That way you’d avoid the painful and hurtful case for secession. You’d stop talking about independence. You’d stop setting up bogus referendums with no constitutional value. You’d unblock the national discourse and start talking about very serious matters concerning the country as a whole.
Podemos has set a good example; it’s stretched a compassionate and friendly hand to the idea of the Països Catalans, the age-old, controversial concept of The Catalan Countries, brilliantly depicted by Joan Fuster in his 1962 seminal work – Nosaltres, els Valencians (Us, the Valencians) – on the topic of Valencian and Catalan being really the same linguistic expression of one community, of one culture.