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Multilingualism: an asset for an open European society


24 Mar 2009


Languages & Culture
EU Priorities 2020

During the plenary session in Strasbourg today, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on multilingualism which recognises its importance and highlights it as an asset for the EU. Certain paragraphs of the initial draft report, supported by the EPP, which formulated rather explicit criticisms against the linguistic teaching policy practised in several areas within EU member states were removed thanks to a compromise supported by ALDE, PES and the Greens.

ALDE Shadow rapporteur , Claire Gibault (Avenir Démocrate, France) explained "Cultural diversity and linguistics involve the respect of cultural identity, traditions and religion. By encouraging a multi-cultural European society, Europe recognises implicitly that language learning represents a crucial factor in the aptitude of people to communicate with each other. Multilingualism is also an opportunity for the future and to safeguard it has become a duty to our citizens."

"To recognize multilingualism is to recognise that there exists within the same state, areas which have their own language. We must follow active policies to ensure the use of these languages in teaching to avoid their decline. The EU does not want to call into question the decisions taken by the regions concerned, contrary to what the EPP recommends," declared Josu Ortuondo Larrea (EAJ-Partido Nacionalista Vasco, Spain)

For Henrik Lax (Svenska folkpartiet, Finland) representing the minority Swedish speakers in his country "Multilingualism includes all languages, national, regional and minority languages contribute to the wealth of Europe's diversity and is an added value connecting the people of Europe."

Languages are as threatened as our biodiversity and it would be pertinent, in conformity with our commitments at UN level as regards multilingualism, that the EU organise a European Conference on linguistic diversity and preservation", Marco Cappato proposed (Radical, Italy)

"Multilingualism is a wealth which we are proud of and this is why, for example in labelling goods, that the European consumer should have information in all the languages spoken in the country where the purchase is made", Ignasi Guardans (Convergencia Democratica Catalunya, Spain) concluded.

For more information, please contact:
Neil Corlett: +33-3-88 17 41 67 ou +32-478-78 22 84
Yannick Laude: +33-3-88 17 27 76 ou +32-495-22 78 37


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