The Council of Majorca has joined the battle to defend the rights of local authorities to award grants to businesses for their signs and other material to be in Catalan. The Council is make available 250,000 euros for this purpose, and the move is a direct challenge to the stance of the former Council president and now national government delegate, the Partido Popular's Maria Salom.
The government delegation has challenged the use of town hall funds for this purpose. Two town halls have been affected - Pollensa and Capdepera. In the case of Pollensa, a court has rejected the provisional suspension of the town hall's grants that had been requested by the delegation. It was the state attorney's office which officially appealed against a town hall decision that was made at the February council meeting; the attorney was representing the delegation and the national ministry of the presidency.
Pollensa's mayor, Miquel Àngel March, says that the grants will be available, at least for now. He considers the appeal against the grants to have been "absurd and pointless" and has observed that these sorts of grants have commonly been given by town halls in the past.
The town hall had only set aside 6,000 euros for grants. The Council of Majorca's investment is therefore significantly greater. One of the Council's two vice-presidents, Jesús Jurado, says that it is an obligation to comply with the law on linguistic normalisation that was introduced in 1986. This was a measure brought in by the Partido Popular and is, explains Jurado, "an instrument to guarantee the survival of Catalan".
The delegation has argued that the grants are not an example of encouraging Catalan as one of the two co-official languages but are instead a means of eliminating Castellano. There are a number of members of the Partido Popular in the Balearics who themselves are uneasy with the delegation's legal challenge.
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