How regional language policy in Spain is pissing off foreign investors

Here’s most of the second half of an article dealing with the Air Berlin affair in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, a MOR German daily:

Hunold said … that he was proud that on internal Spanish flights they managed to have at least one Spanish-speaking stewardess on board. Introducing another language would be impossible. “Am I meant to book these staff onto Catalan courses? And Galician or Basque for those on flights to Galicia or the Basque country? Can’t anyone speak Spanish there any more?”

It hasn’t yet got that far in Spain. However the enthusiasm with which many regional governments are enforcing their respective regional languages as lingua franca is angering more and more foreign investors.

Other complaints from German companies based in the Balearics are not known to him, said the director of the German Foreign Chamber of Commerce in Madrid, Peter Moser …, “but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any.” Without question, “the language issue” in more virulent in Catalonia, where most German companies are based.

For five or six years, complaints have been coming in “about the additional costs of labels and manuals, as well as additional difficulties being faced by German executives who have come with their families to work in Catalonia.”

[… T]hose responsible for language policy need to bear in mind that the use of regional languages creates difficulties for companies while providing “only dubious value-added” for customers, he added.

That’s not exactly great news for Catalan workers as we head into recession.

Similar posts


Comments

  1. I think that ot would be better to let the Catalans be poor and stuck in recession, but in their language, of course.

  2. I am crying. Poor families of the German expats who need to learn Catalan to find their way to the German school. Maybe that’s why Barcelona ranks every year top destination for the expat community. The expats assigned to Catalonia should get a 200% hardship allowance to overcome the hardship that the “regional” language imposes on them. Buah, buah…

    Once again, you confuse customers with suppliers. Companies need to try to address the customer needs and if that costs money and it is not viable, they should withdraw that market. That’s market economy.
    The Catalan speaking market is, by far, more attractive than many others in Europe, with only one difference, the lack of solid borders makes it very difficult to reinfoce the customer requirements and businesses take advantage of it. They are so convinced of the powerless status of those “regional” customers, that they defy them, they insult them and they mistreat them before the joy of the central government and other imperial powers.
    Scheisse

  3. Cushman and Wakefield European City Monitor:

    “Geneva is geographically in the heart of Europe , while when it comes to quality of life – a key factor in attracting expatriate workers – it comes second only to Barcelona.”

    European Cities Monitor 2007 reveals that London has increased its lead over Paris…
    9 Oct, 2007, London
    LONDON INCREASES ITS LEAD OVER PARIS AS TOP CITY TO LOCATE A BUSINESS IN EUROPE

    London has the best hotels and Barcelona the best expatriate accommodation.

    Behind London and Paris comes Frankfurt, and then the closely grouped cities of Barcelona, Amsterdam and Brussels, with Amsterdam just overtaking Brussels this year.

    The three biggest risers in the ranking are all regional cities: Geneva, Lyon and Manchester. Elaine Rossall, the author of ECM and C&W’s Head of Business Space Research & Consultancy, explains: “Regional cities are increasingly becoming more business oriented, and are proving that you don’t have to be a capital to attract business. They are also benefiting from a more cost-conscious business world, with, as the survey shows, a third of those interviewed saying that to offset rising operational costs they would either relocate to another destination in the same country or another lower-cost international destination.”

    “Geneva is geographically in the heart of Europe and has excellent communication links with other cities and countries, while when it comes to quality of life – a key factor in attracting expatriate workers – it comes second only to Barcelona.”

    Europe’s Best Cities to locate a Business – ECM 2007

    2007 Ranking

    1 London

    2 Paris

    3 Frankfurt

    4 Barcelona

    7 Madrid

    http://www.cushwake.com/cwglobal/jsp/newsDetail.jsp?Language=EN&repId=c12300059p&Country=GB

  4. Ach, Werner, du kleiner Witzbold du…I thought the Germans didn’t need anybody else to start wars, did they? All it takes is the nightshift at a provincial radio station and some prisoners in fake Polish uniforms, plus a punchy headline: “Seit heute früh wird gnadenlos zurückgeschossen”, etc.

    Watch out you don’t damage the property of your “Volksgenossen” in the Balearics in the process, should you indulge these atavic antics again. They might not appreciate having their “Gartenzwerge” blown to smithereens and turn down the Kriegskredite, thus rendering final victory over the Catalan Ethnofascist State virtually impossible.

  5. Werner,
    if instead of copy/paste blindly, you would spend some time studying the information, as good Catalans and good Germans do(personally I love Germany, I promote German products for its quality and innovation all the time, f.i. my 2 cars a BMW and an Audi are obviously German, even if I live in USA), you would realize that there is an anomaly with the 18M invested by Italy in Madrid, what is either money laundering by the Sicilian mafia or a typing mistake, most probably the latter.

    That reconfirms my theory that all current Catalan politicians are either corrupt or idiot and that the time is ripe for me to go back

  6. Ian , I’m very well acquainted with Cushman & Wakefield’s reports, having been in business dealings with them in the UK for 8 consecutive years, from ’97 until ’05. I can tell you that wherever they have a large property portfolio to speculate with or good connections that will ensure a long and prosperous future for their firm, invariably gets to be a top ranked city in precisely the field that they are concentrating on, whether this is out of town commercial space, executive property, business investment property, business relocation property, etc. etc. Barcelona is ok but… que quieres que te diga, tampoco es para tanto.I agree with WernerH about the studies, this is how they operate, not just them but all of the big firms, they get real friendly with local governments , it helps both of them. Then , after overrating those cities, reality bangs at the door and the Companies that fall for it are left wondering what was all the fuss about and move business elsewhere. What are the pluses for businesses and their executives to settle here? Barcelona is now a Theme Park; bloody expensive for the quality you get ( I have eaten better quality food in Turkey…and cheaper); culturally naff, boring and provincial, thanks to the local governments’ obsession of looking inwards in an anally retentive exercise of closing rank around the nationalist cause and excluding any outside influence that cannot be controlled ( give me Tate Modern, any London Theatre production, Shoreditch clubs and galleries, etc. etc. anytime)… and its property market expensive beyond justification. Nope, I don’t buy it.

  7. If you continue to lobby, you will actually get a Barcelona hardship allowance, like the 15% I got when I lived in Singapore.
    Time to go sleep. I am in Germany today, but I did not take Air Berlin.

  8. Mar – one of the problems with Barcelona’s nightlife is the Shoreditch effect anyway. It’s a revolting place, jammed with self-important media people and ‘graphic designers’.

    As to food being cheaper in Turkey, how is that a surprise? I’ve eaten better food in Hackney, and cheaper too. I’ve also eaten better food in Barcelona, and cheaper too. See, it doesn’t really mean anything. Culturally naff, provincial? Well maybe a little… but is this really the Generalitat’s fault? Gaudi’s always been overrated.

    Barcelona really isn’t that bad. It’s not the cultural capital of the world, it’s not the planet’s financial centre, it’s not as cheap as Burkina Faso. But it has a generally good quality of life, a decent average climate (though this June is turning out very strangely), a large number of young, qualified Europeans (though I’ve had trouble hiring the perfect candidate, same as I might anywhere), a big port, OK beaches, etc etc. If you want Barcelona to be London, a place that everyone is now referring to as ‘the greatest city in the world’, you’re going to be permanently disappointed.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *