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EESC opinion: Multilingualism

Key points:

The Committee:

  • calls on the Commission and Member States to speed up the discussion on the objectives pursued in the "New framework strategy for multilingualism" before specifying the initiatives to be pursued through coordination in the fields of culture and education.
  • calls for the use of European structural funds, in particular cohesion funds, to help people achieve the Commission's objectives: for European citizens to have a command of their mother tongue, as well as two additional living language.
  • it encourages the Member States and the Commission to promote the diversification of other international languages of communication and to promote the learning and use of European languages in extra-Community exchanges.
  • believes that the learning of non-Community languages should also be encouraged, given its usefulness for extra-European cultural, social, political and economic relations.
  • recommends that local and regional authorities should have a practical role in developing educational provision of the future that is commensurate with the Commission's ambitions.
  • expects the Member States and the Commission to encourage the social partners to raise the issue in the social dialogue in order to discuss the problems together and find the best solutions and appropriate practices.
  • reminds the Commission and the Member States of the need to provide more effective recognition - as part of the European certification system – for informal learning.
  • calls on the Member States and the Commission to provide support for language-based professions such as teachers, translators and interpreters.
  • insists that the Commission and Member States make sure that the initiatives they undertake do not lead to discrimination and differences in treatment.
  • believes that the languages of migrants should be passed on to their descendants and to the public in the host country to the same extent as languages that are native to Europe.