Legal Status

The Galician Statute of Autonomy and the Law of Linguistic Normalization (1983) are the two basic and fundamental legal texts that recognize and promote Galician language and guarantee the linguistic rights of Galician speakers.

The current legislative framework establishes that the public administration is obliged to protect Galician language.

The Galician Statute of Autonomy

The 1981 Galician Statute of Autonomy states in its article 5 that:

  1. The native language of Galicia is Galician.
  2. Galician and Spanish languages are both official in Galicia and everyone has the right to know and use them.
  3. Galician public authorities will guarantee the normal and official use of both languages and they will promote the use of Galician language in all facets of public, cultural and informative life. They will also have at their disposal the means needed to make its knowledge easy.
  4. Nobody will be discriminated on account of language

The Law of Linguistic Normalization

Furthermore, the 1983 Law of Linguistic Normalizationstates in its article 3 that the public powers will adopt the necessary measures without the possibility of anyone being discriminate on the basis of language; in its article 4.1 that Galician, as the native language of Galicia, is an official language of the Autonomous Community public institutions, of its administration, its local administration and the public entities dependent on the Autonomous Community; in its article 6.1, that citizens have the right to use Galician both in oral and in written speech, in their interactions with public administrations into the Autonomous Community; in its article 6.2, that the administrative proceedings in Galicia will be valid and will have an effect whatever the official language used; in its article 6.3, that the public powers will promote the use of the Galician language both in oral and in written speech in their interaction with the citizens; and in its article 10 that the Galician place names will have as the only official form the Galician name and the Government of Galicia has to determine the official place names of Galicia.

Local Administration

Article 7.1 of the Act 5/1997 of 22 July, of the Local Administration of Galicia specifies that Galician, as the native language of Galicia, is also the language of local administration. It also details that all the official announcements, meetings, motions, dissenting votes, proposals, resolutions, minutes, communications, appeals, deeds and all the acts of a public or administrative nature made in writing by local administration will be drafted in Galician language. Point number 2 also establishes, notwithstanding the proposed in the previous paragraph, the above mentioned entities can also do it in Spanish. Article 7.3 provides that Galician Government will promote the incorporation of Galician language in the local administration, especially through the Galician language training programmes for public employees of local administration. On the other hand, article 35 of Act 2/2009 of 23 June, of the Restated Text of the Public Service of Galicia establishes that “Administration will guarantee the constitutional and linguistic rights of Galician citizens both of Galician, as the native language of Galicia, and of Spanish, as one of the official languages of Galicia”.

Galician language in Europe

The European Parliament, at the proposal of the Spanish Government, approved the use of co-official languages in Spain, including Galician, for the communications of the citizens with the European Parliament. The citizens who want to address the ombudsman in Galician could do it thanks to the entry into force of an agreement between Spain and this Community body. This agreement seeks to promote the use of the co-official languages of Spain in the EU institutions. The same system is already operating in the EU institutions thanks to an agreement which also allows the use of the three languages in the Council of Ministers and in the European Commission.

Citizens’ Rights

So, the current legislative framework imposes on the administration the right to protect and promote Galician language. It states the right to use it.


In short, it could be said that, in the more than thirty years since the adoption of the Galician Statute of Autonomy and the Linguistic Normalization Law, there was a decisive progress in the field of linguistic normalization and defence of citizens’ linguistic rights.