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Multilingualism: The language of the European Union

25-09-2019

Some 7 000 languages are spoken globally today. However, half of the world's population shares just six native languages, and some 90 % of all languages may be replaced by dominant ones by the end of the century. The harmonious co-existence of 24 official languages is one of the most distinctive features of the European project. Multilingualism is not only an expression of the EU countries' cultural identities but it also helps preserve democracy, transparency and accountability. No legislation can ...

Some 7 000 languages are spoken globally today. However, half of the world's population shares just six native languages, and some 90 % of all languages may be replaced by dominant ones by the end of the century. The harmonious co-existence of 24 official languages is one of the most distinctive features of the European project. Multilingualism is not only an expression of the EU countries' cultural identities but it also helps preserve democracy, transparency and accountability. No legislation can enter into force until it has been translated into all official languages and published in the Official Journal of the EU. Crucially, the provisions relating to the EU language regime can only be changed by a unanimous vote in the Council of the EU. The EU is committed to promoting language learning but has limited influence over educational and language policies, as these are the responsibility of the individual EU countries. A 2012 poll suggests that a slim majority of Europeans (54 %) can hold a conversation in at least one foreign language, but worryingly, nearly half of all Europeans (46 %) cannot, and only four in 10 pupils attain the basic level of competence allowing them to have a simple conversation in a foreign language. The European Parliament is committed to ensuring the highest possible degree of multilingualism in its work. Based on the 24 official languages that constitute the public face of the EU, the total number of linguistic combinations rises to 552, since each language can be translated into the 23 others. Currently, over 1 000 staff employed in translation and over 500 in interpretation care for the translation and interpretation needs of the 751 Members of the European Parliament. Internally, the EU institutions mostly use just three working languages: English, French and German. The overall cost for delivering translation and interpretation services in the EU institutions is around €1 billion per year, which represents less than 1 % of the EU budget or just over €2 per citizen. Following the success of the European Year of Languages (2001), the Council of Europe designated 26 September as the European Day of Languages.

Remaining 'united in diversity' thanks to multilingualism

21-09-2018

The diversity underpinning the European project is embodied in the harmonious co-existence of 24 official languages. Following the success of the European Year of Languages (2001), the Council of Europe designated 26 September as the European Day of Languages. The European Parliament has consistently acted to support endangered languages and linguistic diversity in the EU, calling on the EU and the Member States to commit resources to their protection and promotion. In May 2018, the European Commission ...

The diversity underpinning the European project is embodied in the harmonious co-existence of 24 official languages. Following the success of the European Year of Languages (2001), the Council of Europe designated 26 September as the European Day of Languages. The European Parliament has consistently acted to support endangered languages and linguistic diversity in the EU, calling on the EU and the Member States to commit resources to their protection and promotion. In May 2018, the European Commission put forward a proposal aimed at improving the teaching and learning of languages.

Languages and the Digital Single Market

21-09-2018

The citizens of the European Union communicate in its 24 official languages, approximately 60 regional and minority languages, and 31 national and regional sign languages. Some of these have many millions of native and foreign speakers, whereas others are spoken by just a few thousand people each. Dominant languages can threaten the survival of 'smaller' ones with many fewer native speakers and which thus need protection. Multilingualism policy in areas such as language teaching and learning, and ...

The citizens of the European Union communicate in its 24 official languages, approximately 60 regional and minority languages, and 31 national and regional sign languages. Some of these have many millions of native and foreign speakers, whereas others are spoken by just a few thousand people each. Dominant languages can threaten the survival of 'smaller' ones with many fewer native speakers and which thus need protection. Multilingualism policy in areas such as language teaching and learning, and translation and interpretation, is necessary to facilitate communication among various language communities and for supporting languages with fewer speakers. Moreover, unaddressed language barriers hinder the economy of individual Member States and the EU in general. The digital shift and ICT technologies open rich possibilities of expression and business, yet these are not spread equally across language communities. Smaller languages are under-represented in digital environments, which could entail their digital extinction. New technologies can facilitate language learning, translation and interpretation. However, paradoxically, the smaller languages, which could benefit the most from these technologies, are the least resourced in data, in researchers specialising in both language and technology, and in human and financial means. Some solutions to these challenges could emerge from EU-supported and coordinated projects, a clear focus on language technologies in EU policies, and dedicated funding, provided in the clear awareness that these challenges not only have a human dimension but also economic implications for the digital single market and the economy of the EU as a whole.

Multilingualism and lifelong language learning

26-09-2017

Rooted in the Treaties, multilingualism reflects the cultural and linguistic diversity of the European Union's Member States. Language learning is critical to the construction of the European Union and imparts essential basic and transversal skills. Language acquisition starts at home, and early childhood education can further enhance self-expression. Yet it does not stop with schooling, adults too acquire language skills, even outside the formal educational system.

Rooted in the Treaties, multilingualism reflects the cultural and linguistic diversity of the European Union's Member States. Language learning is critical to the construction of the European Union and imparts essential basic and transversal skills. Language acquisition starts at home, and early childhood education can further enhance self-expression. Yet it does not stop with schooling, adults too acquire language skills, even outside the formal educational system.

Celebrating the European Day of Languages

20-09-2017

Following the success of the European Year of Languages (2001), the Council of Europe designated 26 September as the European Day of Languages. Since then, annual celebrations of this day have been held to promote the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe. The European Parliament has consistently acted to support endangered languages and linguistic diversity in the EU, calling on the EU and the Member States to commit resources to their protection and promotion.

Following the success of the European Year of Languages (2001), the Council of Europe designated 26 September as the European Day of Languages. Since then, annual celebrations of this day have been held to promote the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe. The European Parliament has consistently acted to support endangered languages and linguistic diversity in the EU, calling on the EU and the Member States to commit resources to their protection and promotion.

Legal aspects of EU multilingualism

26-01-2017

The multilingualism of the European Union – with 24 official languages since Croatia's accession – has no precedent, either among multilingual states or even at the level of international organisations. The principle of multilingualism is enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which obliges the European Union to respect linguistic diversity, prohibits discrimination on account of language and provides for the citizen's right to communicate with the institutions in any official language of ...

The multilingualism of the European Union – with 24 official languages since Croatia's accession – has no precedent, either among multilingual states or even at the level of international organisations. The principle of multilingualism is enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which obliges the European Union to respect linguistic diversity, prohibits discrimination on account of language and provides for the citizen's right to communicate with the institutions in any official language of the EU. In legal terms, EU multilingualism falls into three categories: the original (authentic) languages of the Treaties, the official languages of the EU and the working languages of the EU. Furthermore, each institution may create its own internal rules on working languages. The main legal act governing the official and working languages of the Union is Council Regulation No 1 of 1958, which has been amended numerous times. Currently it provides for 24 official and working languages of the EU. This includes Irish. However, a derogation for Irish remains in place until the end of 2021. The rules of procedure of each EU institution lay down detailed rules on multilingualism. The Parliament has opted for 'resource efficient full multilingualism', which means that the resources to be devoted to multilingualism are managed on the basis of users' real needs, measures to make users more aware of their responsibilities and more effective planning of requests for language facilities. The Council has opted for full multilingualism, while the Commission's rule is that any instrument of general application to be adopted by the college must be in all EU official languages. A different approach has been provided for in the rules of procedure of the Court of Justice, where the principle of the 'language of the case' applies for determining both the language of proceedings and the authentic version of the Court's judgment. However, judges and advocates-general may use the official EU language of their choice.

The Erasmus+ Programme (Regulation EU No. 1288/2013): European Implementation Assessment

06-07-2016

This European Implementation Assessment has been provided to accompany the work of the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education in scrutinising the implementation of the Erasmus+ programme. The Erasmus+ programme for Union action in the field of education, training, youth and sport was launched on 1 January 2014 and will run until 31 December 2020. It brings together seven successful programmes which operated separately between 2007 and 2013 (the Lifelong Learning Programme, five ...

This European Implementation Assessment has been provided to accompany the work of the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education in scrutinising the implementation of the Erasmus+ programme. The Erasmus+ programme for Union action in the field of education, training, youth and sport was launched on 1 January 2014 and will run until 31 December 2020. It brings together seven successful programmes which operated separately between 2007 and 2013 (the Lifelong Learning Programme, five international cooperation programmes and the Youth in Action programme), and also adds the area of sports activities. The opening analysis of this Assessment, prepared in-house by the Ex-Post Impact Assessment Unit within EPRS, situates the programme within the context of educationpolicy, explains its legal framework and provides key information on its implementation. The presentation is followed by opinions and recommendations of selected stakeholders. A separate chapter is dedicated to the sport, which is the new element of the Erasmus+ programme. Input to the EIA was also received from two independent groups of experts representing the Technical University of Dresden and the University of Bergen, and the Turku University of Applied Sciences.- The first research paper presents implementation of Key Action 1 (KA1) – Learning mobility of individuals in the field of education, training and youth.- The second research paper presents implementation of Key Action 2 (KA2)– Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices in the field of education, training and youth. The two research papers, containing key findings and recommendations, are includedin full as annexes to the in-house opening analysis.

Autorzy zewnętrzni

- Research paper analysing the implementation of the Erasmus+ programme – Learning mobility of individuals in the field of education, training and youth (Key Action 1), written by Prof. Dr. Thomas Köhler from the Technical University of Dresden and Prof. Dr. Daniel Apollon from the University of Bergen - Research paper analysing the implementation of the Erasmus+ programme – Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices in the field of education, training and youth (Key Action 2), written by Dr. Juha Kettunen from the Turku University of Applied Sciences

Endangered languages in the EU

20-04-2015

Many languages currently spoken in Europe are endangered and some are at imminent risk of extinction. Though education and language policies remain the competence of Member States, the EU has taken initiatives to promote multilingualism and preserve its linguistic diversity, including measures in support of regional or minority languages. A decline in linguistic diversity has been increasingly acknowledged to entail losses in terms of knowledge and cultural heritage.

Many languages currently spoken in Europe are endangered and some are at imminent risk of extinction. Though education and language policies remain the competence of Member States, the EU has taken initiatives to promote multilingualism and preserve its linguistic diversity, including measures in support of regional or minority languages. A decline in linguistic diversity has been increasingly acknowledged to entail losses in terms of knowledge and cultural heritage.

Commitments Made at the Hearing of Tibor Navracsics - Commissioner-Designate

06-11-2014

In his answers to the questionnaire and during the hearing on 1 October 2014 before the Committee for Culture and Education, commissioner-designate Tibor Navracsics made a number of commitments. Commitments relevant to the Committee on Culture are presented in this document.

In his answers to the questionnaire and during the hearing on 1 October 2014 before the Committee for Culture and Education, commissioner-designate Tibor Navracsics made a number of commitments. Commitments relevant to the Committee on Culture are presented in this document.