European agreements re language rights

I’ve posted recently on the prohibition and persecution of non-Catalan toponymy in and outside Catalonia. While so I thought I’d have a quick look for relevant European guidelines and legislation on the issue. Two relevant finds:

  1. The 1992 European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages:
    10.2 In respect of the local and regional authorities on whose territory the number of residents who are users of regional or minority languages is such as to justify the measures specified below, the Parties undertake to allow and/or encourage:

    10.2g the use or adoption, if necessary in conjunction with the name in the official language(s), of traditional and correct forms of place-names in regional or minority languages.
  2. The 1995 Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities:
    11.3 In areas traditionally inhabited by substantial numbers of persons belonging to a national minority, the Parties shall endeavour, in the framework of their legal system, including, where appropriate, agreements with other States, and taking into account their specific conditions, to display traditional local names, street names and other topographical indications intended for the public also in the minority language when there is a sufficient demand for such indications.

I’m all for minority language rights–bilingual signing in Wales adds greatly to the joy of travel and isn’t paid for out of my taxes– but the approach adopted by Brussels does lead to some paradoxes. For example, the charter would entitle a predominantly Andalusian district in Catalonia to demand signs in Andalusian, but not in Spanish. With the Spanish central state so weakened that it appears unable to guarantee majority linguistic rights, maybe it’s time some of these docs were revised.

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