Spanish Culture and News

Valencia: Immigrants must sign a social contract! M80 Radio interview.

The local government in the Autonomous Region of Valencia has come up with a bright idea: immigrants should be made to sign a contract promising to follow Spanish customs and principles (“las leyes, los principios y las costumbres españolas y valencianas“). Only two problems: no one has actually bothered to define exactly what these typical Spanish customs are, and secondly, the Valencian Generalitat (government) has admitted, eventually, that nothing will happen to those that refuse to sign.

“What we are trying to achieve here,” said Rafael Blasco, minister for immigration and citizenship (and silly plans) in the Valencian Government, “is that people that come here integrate themselves not only work-wise, but also that they become fundamentally integrated in our values, our system of living together, our customs, our traditions, and that this integration results in continuing social cohesion…”

So basically, either immigrants to the Valencia region do as the locals do, or the very fabric of society is at risk! Which in turn can easily be taken to mean, “don’t bring your funny customs over here, we’re having none of that, be like us or back you go.” Now there’s a message that’s bound to lead to increased social cohesion!

Fortunately Zapatero’s central government has been quick to tell their Valencian counterparts to shut up, that the only thing that matters is that immigrants comply with Spanish law, which seems fair enough, but one big unknown still remains… what does it mean to follow Spanish customs, principles and traditions?

That’s the question I was tested on this morning on Radio M80’s ‘No somos nadie‘ programme. As a typical foreigner who’s had plenty of time to adapt to Spanish ways, I was put to the test to see whether I’d be up to scratch with the Valencian regime, and had to answer the following key “how Spanish are you?” questions (see how you do too!):

Q. Do you throw cigarette butts, olive stones, serviettes etc on the floor in bars?
A. All the time! (except the cigarette butts…)

Q. Lack of punctuality?
A. I’m still a bit English on that one… so, no.

Q. Do you drunkenly dance Paquito el Chocolatero at fiestas?
A. Ah… Yes!

Q. Do you walk out of restaurants with a wooden toothpick in your mouth?
A. No! (I’m always afraid I’d bump into someone and swallow it!)

Q. Do you slag off your neighbours?
A. Yes 🙂

So how did I do? … They said I failed and should be deported immediately! Vaya…

You can listen to the full radio interview via this mp3 link, read more about the Valencian contract mess in El Pais, and please let me know in the comments:

Would you have passed Radio M80’s test? What Spanish customs are you most fond of that they could have added to the test?