The EU's multilingualism policy

Key points

The EESC has opted to draft an additional opinion in order to follow up the policy encouraging language-learning and active multilingualism in Europe. It contains the following key recommendations:

  • The Commission should respect the fundamental rights of participants in the multilingualism  consultative platforms it has set up, which comprise representatives of civil society and/or the social partners, by allowing them to speak, listen, write and read in three or four pivot languages, including at least one language of a Member State that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007.
  • The Commission ought to make it easier to understand the steps to take for accessing programmes and procedures, particularly under the "Lifelong Learning Programme", whose seventh objective is specifically to encourage language learning and linguistic diversity.
  • It is recommended that the Commission draw up a clear picture of the situation showing the funds set aside solely for promoting multilingualism, budgeted for and already paid out, at both European and national levels.
  • EESC members should make up a contact group in order to carry out the necessary comprehensive, transparent and longer-term assessment of the language policy which is particular to the Committees, comprising both qualitative and quantitative elements.
  • The EESC should look into promoting the profession of interpreter so as to prevent any negative impact on the whole of the interpreting profession and to protect users or clients against improper practices. The Commission could launch Europe-wide consultation of the social partners to this end.