Understanding Europe in one's mother language

The European Economic and Social Committee is holding an exhibition entitled The EU speaks your language to mark the 60th anniversary of the European Union's first legal act, Regulation No 1/58, which determined the languages to be used by the EU institutions. The exhibition is a tribute to a multilingual Europe and its richness.

On Wednesday 19 September, the EESC hosted the opening ceremony, which was attended by EESC President Luca Jahier and French philologist and philosopher Barbara Cassin, a member of the Académie Française and director of France's National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). A debate on the role of languages in the EU was moderated by Isabel Caño, EESC Vice-President for Communication.

Opening the exhibition, Luca Jahier focused on the role of culture in European Integration, "a beacon of hope for the future of Europe".  Languages are part of heritage and culture and help us find our soul, he said. They can be "a source of conflict, but also lead to listening and dialogue". Isabel Caño noted that, thanks to the multilingual system, citizens have the right to communicate with and understand Europe in their mother tongue. "Diversity begins with languages", she said. Barbara Cassin stressed that "translation can help improve the quality of European integration". The debate also focused on questions about the complexity of translation, the place of "globish” and Europe's regional languages.

The exhibition consists of a series of panels featuring the history of Regulation No 1/1958 and how, with the passing of time, the developing European Union has supported fundamental values such as equality, diversity and multilingualism. The exhibition, which is being held in collaboration with the Committee of the Regions, is part of the initiatives marking the European Year of Cultural Heritage. It is open to the public until 12 October 2018. (ab/dm)