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Multilingualism - an asset and a commitment

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Multilingualism - an asset and a commitment

This European Commission communication stresses the value of linguistic diversity in the EU. It presents the steps that should be taken to ensure that multilingualism is mainstreamed into EU policies, with the goal of reaching the Barcelona objective (Europeans should be able to communicate in two languages in addition to their mother tongue).

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - Multilingualism: an asset for Europe and a shared commitment (COM(2008) 566 final of 18.9.2008).

SUMMARY

This European Commission communication stresses the value of linguistic diversity in the EU. It presents the steps that should be taken to ensure that multilingualism is mainstreamed into EU policies, with the goal of reaching the Barcelona objective (Europeans should be able to communicate in two languages in addition to their mother tongue).

WHAT DOES THIS COMMUNICATION DO?

  • It proposes to make use of existing programmes and initiatives for promoting language learning and the assessment of language skills and to further develop the curricula for interpreters and translators.
  • It enhances student and worker mobility, communicates the results of the study on language skills, fosters creativity and innovation in language learning and provides a platform for relevant stakeholders to exchange best practices.
  • It encourages the use of subtitles and promotes the circulation of European works. It also supports projects involving language and communication technologies and cross-border administrative cooperation in order to reduce the language gap.
  • It stimulates the promotion of European languages in non-EU countries to strengthen economic and cultural ties.

KEY POINTS

  • Multilingualism is important for social cohesion and worker mobility. This is a key point in the 2008 Council resolution that highlights an EU strategy for multilingualism.
  • Greater focus needs to be placed on adults and those outside formal education, who are more likely to be monolingual. This idea is part of the lifelong learning principle that was formulated in the 2012 Council recommendation calling upon EU countries to offer citizens work opportunities based on informal experiences.
  • The lifelong learning principle is also a key element of the Erasmus + programme, which brings together the EU’s current schemes for sport, education, youth and training and offers more EU citizens the chance to live and gain skills abroad.
  • The language gap in the EU can be narrowed through the media, new technologies and translation services.
  • The importance of language learning and the assessment of language skills is reiterated in the Council’s 2014 conclusions on multilingualism and the development of language competences.

KEY TERMS

The lifelong learning programme (LLP) is a programme that allows Europeans to take up learning at any stage in their life. It falls under the Erasmus + programme.

Further information is available from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Education and Culture website.

RELATED ACTS

Council Resolution of 21 November 2008 on a European strategy for multilingualism (2008/C 320/01) (Official Journal C 320 of 16.12.2008, p. 1-3).

Council Recommendation of 20 December 2012 on the validation of non-formal and informal learning (2012/C 398/01) (Official Journal C 398 of 22.12.2012, p. 1-5).

1288/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing the Erasmus+: the Union programme for education, training, youth and sport and repealing Decisions No 1719/2006/EC, No 1720/2006/EC and No 1298/2008/EC (Official Journal L 347 of 20.12.2013, p. 50-83).

Council conclusions of 20 May 2014 on multilingualism and the development of language competences (2014/C 183/06) (Official Journal C 183 of 14.6.2014, p. 26-29).

19.12.2014

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