Brussels · WhyGone are the days when French was the lingua franca of Europe, the language of culture and elites. It conferred prestige and anyone who wanted to stand out had to justify it. Later, it was also the common language of Europeans that was the origin of what eventually became the European Union. And in schools all over the Old Continent, including ours, the first foreign language taught is the only one listed in the Constitution of the Republic: French. Now English has become the international language, but Paris is not giving up and is trying to stop this trend for some time – without much success. At least in the European institutions: he even filed a lawsuit against the European Commission.
Paris has complained to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) that Brussels is conducting job interviews for vacant positions in the aerospace, defense and economics departments where it only requires English proficiency. Neither French nor German, which together with English constitute the three working languages of European institutions.
This, according to France, constitutes discrimination against French citizens in favor of those whose mother tongue is English, and at the same time violates European Union treaties. In this sense, Paris remembers that it violates not only the linguistic rights of its citizens, but also the entire population that speaks other official languages of the EU, and signals that it shares this struggle with more Member States. In fact, Italy and Spain also criticized and condemned similar situations in which Italian and Spanish were belittled.
In addition, some member states, such as France, Italy and Spain, have taken over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in turn, and have lobbied for greater use of their language. Without going any further, the Spanish Government, which presided this semester, sent from the beginning all statements translated into Spanish and held press conferences largely in this language, in addition to actively betting on promoting its use in the Council. Although it is not one of the three working languages of European institutions.
Despite Britain's exit from the European Union
Since the United Kingdom left the European Union, English has been the official language of only two small member states, Ireland and Malta. According to the 2022 Ethnologue study, it is the mother tongue of only 5.5 million EU citizens, nearly half of the speakers in the European Catalan bloc, which has no official language recognition in the EU. On the other hand, there are 90 million Europeans who speak German as their first language, 74 million French, 65 million Italians, and about 46 million Spaniards.
However, the language of leaders, diplomats, journalists and civil servants in European institutions is English. Or rather what is popularly known asEuropean English Or the International, It is what she calls the poorly spoken English that prevails in Brussels and with which everyone eventually gets along. All legislative proposals are usually negotiated there, and press conferences are held mainly in English, which often angers well-known French journalists.
In this sense, the difference between generations is also noticeable. Usually, regardless of nationality, more journalists and veteran leaders tend to use the French language. On the other hand, young people usually choose English, and a large portion of them do not master Molière's language, even though the vast majority of European institutions are located in French-speaking regions.
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