One suspects that in the areas near Portugal, Portuguese is also a commonly-spoken language, that English is spoken near Gibraltar, and that near the northern border there is a fair amount of French going on too. That’s eleven languages in a country smaller than Texas, five of which are spoken on the floor of the nation’s legislature. When The Wife and I visited Barcelona, we saw many more Catalan flags flying than Spanish, and most people spoke Catalan (sounded like Spanish with a lisp to me) and their eyes narrowed just a bit when I spoke Spanish. Yet somehow there does seem to be a common identity, even if many peoples’ primary identities are regional rather than national.
The BBC maintains that nearly all Spaniards speak Spanish as a first or second language, however; so the protest that there is a common language and therefore a common ability to communicate and discuss affairs of government is there. I suppose I can understand that spending €12,000 a day on translators who are not really necessary is a waste and people might get a little peeved about that. But really, is it so bad? All told the translators for the Spanish Senate probably cost something around a million Euro a year or so — and Spain’s money problems are much, much deeper than that.