Esquerra clears passage of the Spanish Budget and guarantees Catalan in the Audiovisuals Bill

Esquerra Republicana forces the Spanish Socialist party to include an annual percentage of audiovisual productions in Catalan and a fund for dubbing in Catalan in the Spanish Audiovisuals Bill

Esquerra Republicana has decided to clear the way for passage of the Spanish Budget after obtaining guarantees of inclusion of the Catalan language in the forthcoming Audiovisuals Law, which means that for the first time, the law will provide for annual funds for audiovisual production in Catalan. Esquerra recalls that the endorsement of the Spanish government’s financials is a minimum agreement, but necessary given the post-pandemic situation in which the country finds itself, since Esquerra Republicana invariably works for the people, considering the common good, and is ready to begin reaching real ongoing commitments until the Catalan Republic is attained.

In this regard, Esquerra Republicana considers that the minimum agreements reached in the negotiations for the Budget and the Audiovisuals Bill allow stability, strength and perseverance before the negotiation process begun between Catalonia and Spain, and to continue with the opportunity open to building a democratic resolution of the political conflict between the two. The negotiating table has been Esquerra’s strategic commitment since the beginning of this Spanish legislature, and is an instrument as useful for the citizens as it is for the country, that it is essential it is maintained. The next open talks between the parties are to restart at the beginning of 2022.

Regarding the details of the Audiovisuals Bill, the agreement will lead to all digital platforms operating in Spain, whether they have their business headquarters there or not, having to provide annual finance for audiovisuals in the Catalan language, guaranteeing such funding by law.

Esquerra Republicana makes it clear that the best protection and defence of the Catalan language will come with the Catalan Republic, but emphasizes that this is the first time a law will regulate the funding of productions in Catalan. The agreement improves on the original draft of the bill, which did not have Catalan in any of its points, setting quotas for Catalan where there was only Spanish.

These improvements now add to the agreements that were already on the table a few days ago and that set quotas in the catalogue on offer on the platforms: mandatory distribution of 40% of European productions in the co-official languages and 60% for Spanish. In other words, of all the European offer available, 20% of the productions would be in Catalan, Basque or Galician, i.e. one in 5 European productions would be available in Catalan, which represents 6% of the global catalogue on offer.

By safeguarding production in Catalan, and with increased state contributions for dubbing, Esquerra Republicana thus responds to the demands of the Catalan audiovisuals sector, managing to greatly improve the Audiovisuals Bill draft initially proposed by the Spanish government, which did not provide for any contributions or considerations for the protection of the Catalan language.

In addition, in the agreement arising from the Budget negotiations, Esquerra Republicana has managed to have finance set aside for the creation of funds of up to €10.5 million to encourage the creation of audiovisual content in the co-official languages other than Spanish.

However, Esquerra has made it clear that they are not entirely satisfied with this first step in the protection of the Catalan language, and are committed to continuing to make progress with the digital platforms in talks with the Catalan Generalitat government.

As for the Spanish Budget, Esquerra Republicana has managed to have Catalonia’s Mossos d'Esquadra police force equated with other security forces such as the Basque Ertzaintza, with early retirement at sixty. The Spanish state will bear the full cost of the excess-contribution for this early retirement. This decision will be ratified at the next bilateral meeting and will be implemented no later than by the end of the first quarter of 2022.

In addition, the Republican Left has reached an agreement in principle on various matters for improvement of the Spanish Budget, where it should be noted that investment in Catalonia is to be increased to 19%, as provided in the Catalan Statute law on investments in the territory (with a package of territorial amendments), in addition to the agreements on specific issues such as climate action, pensions, democratic memory, investment in infrastructure, social housing, education or research and development.