Foreign residents ask councillors to speak Spanish

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FOREIGN residents no longer attend the municipal plenary sessions in Benissa after councillors refused to conduct them in Spanish instead of Catalan.

This is despite a previous plenary session being attended by just six people including a Dutch, a Norwegian and a German national who do not speak Catalan, according to  Günter Klasen.

The Dutchman requested that councillors speak Spanish so that “everybody could understand the debate”. The mayor apparently responded that it was not permitted to interrupt the plenary session and questions would be answered at the end of the session. He added councillors could speak in either language as there was no rule as to which had to be spoken.

“They continued speaking in Valenciano, which was a discourtesy and not a good example between fellow Europeans,” said Klasen. “This was disrespectful to foreign citizens who wanted to understand the issues being dealt with.” “Furthermore all the programs of musical and artistic events are in Valencian and not in the two official languages; this is why foreign residents do not participate.”

Klasen did commend the mayor as he was the only person during the plenary who had the “courtesy and political intelligence” to speak in Castellano.

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