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Document 52002DC0597

Report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - The Implementation and Results of the European Year of Languages 2001 (presented by the European Commission in accordance with Article 11 of Decision n° 1934/2000/EC)

/* COM/2002/0597 final */

In force


Report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - The Implementation and Results of the European Year of Languages 2001 (presented by the European Commission in accordance with Article 11 of Decision n° 1934/2000/EC) /* COM/2002/0597 final */

REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS - The Implementation and Results of the European Year of Languages 2001 (presented by the European Commission in accordance with Article 11 of Decision n° 1934/2000/EC)



Introduction to the Report

Part 1: Description of structures and implementation

1. Objectives and target groups of the European Year of Languages

2. Collaboration with the Council of Europe

3. Co-operation with Participating Countries

4. Resources

5. Meetings and events

6. Information and communications

7. Eurobarometer 54

8. Co-financed projects

9. Conclusions on the implementation of the European Year

Part 2: The results of the Year - policy and strategy

10. The results of the Year as defined by its objectives:

11. Political and strategic results

12. Future developments at a European Level

1. Principal recommendations of the external evaluation

2. Detailed breakdown of the European budget commitments

3. Detailed breakdown of expenditure in Participating countries

4. Project selection: statistical data

5. EYL co-financed projects and other activities: Examples of good practice:


2001 was designated the European Year of Languages 2001 by the European Union and the Council of Europe, with the general aim of encouraging language learning by all persons residing in Europe. 45 European countries participated in the Year and its implementation in the EU Member States and EEA countries was the responsibility of the European Commission. At a national level the implementation was undertaken by a network of Co-ordinating Bodies, appointed by national authorities.

The European Year budget was EUR11 million, and it was allocated to co-financed projects, an information campaign, events to mark the launch and closing of the Year at European and national levels and a Eurobarometer survey. Two points during the Year were identified to act as focal points: a Week of Adult Language Learners in May, and a European Day of Languages in September. These instruments were defined to provide stimulation for activities to be organised on a wide scale. An external evaluation of the Year was undertaken between January and June 2002.

190 co-financed projects took place at local, regional, national and transnational levels. Projects typically included 3 or 4 different types of activities, such as festivals, conferences, seminars, exhibitions, open-days, mini language courses and competitions. The majority of them included a web-site and publications which were widely distributed. The projects covered over 60 languages, with a good balance between official languages, regional and minority languages, languages of pre-accession countries and sign languages. Each project on average reached more than 12.000 people. The selection included a small number of media initiatives which reached several million television viewers and radio listeners.

The information campaign had three main elements: a press and communications campaign; the production of a logo, publications and promotional items; and a European Website. The press and communications campaign included direct support to NCBs and three specific press initiatives during the Year (the Eurobarometer survey, the co-financing of projects and the European Day of Languages). The publications included an information pack and a leaflet about the European year and its objectives as well as a Guide for language learners and a brochure containing highlights of the Year. Over 4 million promotional items were produced and distributed during the Year including pens, T-shirts and posters. Postcards were distributed with official EU publications and also directly through bars and cafés. The website was highly interactive and available in 11 language versions. It remained on-line until the end of the Year. It was designed to provide information about the Year and its objectives and activities, links directly to national websites and to other language-related sites and a range of resources to assist people with language learning. Furthermore, services across the EU Institutions contributed to the visibility of the Year through their respective communication activities.

Overall, the European Year of Languages succeeded in creating a framework to encourage grassroots activity with a common European identity. This common framework was flexible enough to accommodate national contexts and priorities, both in terms of the objectives pursued and in terms of instruments chosen.

The Year fulfilled all its objectives. It supported the promotion of a large number of languages and different types of language featured side by side in activities as well as in strategic and political developments.

Overall, the impact of the Year was particularly strong amongst professionals (teachers and students) and policy officials. Activities, particularly around the European Day of Languages and the European Week of Adult Learners, acted as focal points for the media and the results of the Eurobarometer survey were also widely covered in the press. The presence of well known persons taking part in EYL activities was also effective in attracting media attention.

It is too soon to say what the lasting impact of the Year will be, particularly on the take up of language learning. There is some anecdotal evidence of increased demand for language learning, especially from adults, or for new language courses. One of the strongest impacts of the Year has been better links between organisations with an interest in language issues. The value of these new networks cannot be overstated.

In addition to raising awareness of the general public, the Year was an opportunity for national and regional authorities and NGOs to debate language teaching and learning. Conferences, seminars and scientific events provided a good arena for policy makers, scientists and language teaching professionals to discuss language learning. Several policy papers promoting multilingualism and linguistic diversity resulted from these debates and have already led to some changes in language policies. The Year was also an opportunity for a number of countries to consider the implementation of the Council of Europe's Language Portfolio and Common European Framework of Reference.

The proposal that European school leavers should have as a minimum "Mother Tongue plus 2 languages" appears in many policy statements and was endorsed at a European level by the Barcelona Council. Other political debates have focussed around the status of language as a basic skill for European young people. There is also a growing opinion that it is important to ensure a communicative level of competence in English for all citizens, but that English alone is not enough.

The experience of the European Year has demonstrated conclusively that all languages present within communities can be promoted in an integrated fashion. Consideration needs to be given to the notion of mainstreaming the promotion of regional and minority, sign and immigrant languages and of developing a more integrated approach to enable the skills of bilingual citizens to be valued and promoted.

There is a clear call from the national bodies responsible for the European Year for the momentum created within the Year to be sustained. Specific actions need to be continued in the short term, and Community Programmes are seen as essential tools. Examples of good practice for the promotion of language learning and linguistic diversity need be made widely available to inspire others to organise future activities.

At European level, the Year provided a stimulus for future developments defined through a series of resolutions and opinions passed by the European Parliament, the Committee of regions and the Council of the EU. The Commission will present, in mid-2003, a Communication to the European Parliament and the Council on an Action Plan to promote linguistic diversity and language learning, using resources available within existing Community Programmes and Activities.

Introduction to the Report

1. 2001 was designated the European Year of Languages 2001 on the 17 July 2000 by Decision of the European Parliament and the Council [1] with the general aim of encouraging language learning by all persons residing in the Member States. The European Year was also included in the EEA Agreement on 15 December 2000 [2]. It was organised in collaboration with the Council of Europe. The Year was therefore organised in 45 European countries.

[1] Decision No 1934/2000/EC published in the OJ no L 232 of 14 September 2000, p. 1.

[2] Decision N° 112/2000 of the EEA Joint Committee, published in the OJ L 52 of 22 February 2001, p. 37.

2. The content of the Report has been drawn from a number of sources, notably: the independent evaluation undertaken by ECOTEC Research and Consulting Limited, who were appointed after an open Call for Tender [3] and whose report was submitted to the European Commission in September 2002 [4]; national evaluation reports (where available) and the evaluation report produced by the Council of Europe; policy documents produced by national and regional authorities and by NGOs published during, or as a result of, the Year; the final report submitted by EurO&M, who were appointed to supply communications and production services after an open invitation to tender [5] and the final reports of co-financed projects.

[3] By open procedure, through public service contract N° DG EAC/28/2001 published in the OJ 2001/S 128-086687 of 6 July 2001. Prior information notice published in the OJ 2001/S 100-068433 of 26 May 2001.

[4] See Annex 1 for the principal recommendations of the evaluators.

[5] By open procedure, through public service contract N° EAC 31/00 published in the OJ 2000/ S 67-043013 of 5 April 2000. Prior information notice published in the OJ 2000/S 33-019578 of 17 February 2000.

3. The Year was managed with a high degree of decentralisation, with funding from a wide range of sources. As a result, comparable and complete data have not always been available, especially for national budgets, and for the quantification of activities and press coverage. Nevertheless the report does cover major trends and includes all available quantitative data (which, because incomplete, are underestimates).

4. This report covers activities undertaken in, and on behalf of the 15 EU Member States plus 3 Members of the EEA, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway. All candidate countries were included in the general campaign through their membership of the Council of Europe. "EYL", "the Year" and "the European Year" refer to the European Year of Languages and "NCB" refers to the national implementation services known as the National Co-ordinating Bodies.

5. The Report is organised into two Parts. Part 1 deals with descriptive information on the structures and content of the Year as well as conclusions on its implementation. Part 2 deals with the political and strategic results of the Year.

Part 1: Description of structures and implementation

1. Objectives and target groups of the European Year of Languages

Five specific objectives were set by the Decision establishing the European Year, which can be summarised as follows:

- Raising awareness of the Linguistic and cultural Diversity in Europe

- Encouraging multilingualism

- Promoting the advantages of having skills in several languages

- Promoting life-long learning

- Publicising different methods for teaching and learning languages

The Decision covered all persons residing in Member States and provided that the 11 official languages of the EU [6] would be included along with Irish and Letzeburgesch. Additionally it opened the possibility for Member States to include other languages and as none of them wished to produce a restrictive list of languages, the Year in practice covered all languages used and learned by Europeans.

[6] castellano, dansk, Deutsch, elliniká, English, français, italiano, Nederlands, português, suomi, svenska

The measures specified in the Decision included meetings and events at European and national level, information and promotional campaigns, surveys and studies, a limited number of co-financed projects and moral support for activities organised without EU funding. The year had three main elements: an information and communications campaign managed via an external communications company, EurO&M; co-financed projects, selected as a result of a call for proposals managed in 2 selection rounds and the labelling of other activities which did not receive any funding from EU budgets, but which carried the identity of the European Year of Languages 2001 and which contributed to the achievement of its objectives.

2. Collaboration with the Council of Europe

The collaboration with the Council of Europe was one of the strengths of the European Year. Not only because it extended the Year to a larger geographic area but also because it enabled a cross-fertilisation of expertise. It focussed on a number of joint initiatives: the European opening event in Lund and the closing event in Brussels (organised with the Swedish and Belgian presidencies respectively); the European Week of Adult Language Learners (5 - 11 May 2001) and the European Day of Languages (26 September 2001); the publication of a guide for adult language learners entitled "How YOU can learn a language"; the development of a joint web-site for the Year; the definition of a logo (four heads superimposed) and slogan for the Year (Languages open doors).

The Council of Europe and the European Commission played an active role in each other's committee structures, organised joint meetings of the bodies responsible for co-ordinating the Year at national level and many Countries appointed the same contact people for both the Council of Europe and the EU. The European Commission allocated a proportion of the publications and promotional items to the Council of Europe to be distributed to its non EU/EEA members and made all graphic designs available in electronic form to the authorities in the Council of Europe's Member States. The Council of Europe and European Commission evaluators have also shared information on their respective evaluation exercises.

3. Co-operation with Participating Countries

An Advisory Committee, established by the Parliament and Council Decision, was set up in September 2000 and met on 5 occasions between September 2000 and July 2002. Prior to this a working group of national experts met in February and May 2000 and enabled work to start before the Decision was finalised. There was a high degree of overlap between the membership of these two groups. The Decision also required the Member States to set up National Co-ordinating Bodies (NCBs) for the EYL. These bodies had a substantial workload: the selection of co-financed projects; dissemination of information on the EYL; relations with the national media and with the public; the organisation of activities and events at national level. NCBs in many countries did not have previous experience of working with the European Commission and the national resources available were sometimes extremely limited.

4. Resources

Data provided to the European Commission indicates that an investment of at least EUR30.7 million was made in the 18 countries covered by this report. This figure includes the contributions of national and regional ministries as well as those of co-financed projects co-ordinators and direct EU budgets. It does not include the investments made by the organisations who undertook EYL activities without financial assistance from the EU or from their national or regional governments. The total investment is therefore clearly significantly higher. The global situation hides significant variations from one country to another although, taking population into account the investment per capita is more coherent: in the majority of countries the investment amounted to between EUR 0.10 and EUR 0.50 per capita.

4.1. European budget

The EU budget for the Year amounted to around EUR11 million and was divided into two parts: measures which could be financed up to 100% and measures which could be co-financed up to 50% [7]. Between 1999 and 2002 the European Commission invested approximately 170 months of staff time in the core activities of the European Year.

[7] See Annex 2 for a breakdown of the European budget commitments.

Although the management of the EYL budget was centralised, in fact 70% of it was channelled directly into organisations operating at a national, regional or local level. EUR 7.6 million was invested by the EU in projects, launch events, promotional items and publications distributed directly by NCBs, communications training and support for NCBs and specific national activities organised by the European Commission to celebrate the European Day of Languages on September 26th. The remainder was used centrally to provide graphic design, a website, studies, materials distributed centrally and technical assistance related to the selection of projects.

In recognition of the fact that the budget for the Year was modest compared with the objectives, the European Commission made every effort to ensure that the impact of each element of the budget would be maximised. To reduce the costs of articles created for activity organisers and thereby raise the number of units, all promotional items could be used in all linguistic settings. To ensure that the EYL messages and visual identity reached as many people as possible, the publications and promotional items were distributed through various channels: NCBs, the Council of Europe and the Commission's own services. To encourage as high a level of press coverage during the Year as possible, press releases were produced centrally with significant input from NCBs to ensure the final product would be relevant in a local context, and the selection of projects also took into account the potential media interest they could create.

4.2. National Resources

EUR 19.7 million was invested in the Year by ministries, private sponsors and project co-ordinators [8].

[8] See Annex 3 for a detailed breakdown of expenditure in Member States

- EUR 10.7 million was contributed directly to NCBs by ministries

- EUR 1.8 million was provided by private sponsors

- EUR 7.2 million was invested in co-financed projects by beneficiary organisations;

However, this is clearly a conservative estimate as it excludes the investment of organisations in as many as 8.000 other activities for which no financial data is available. The Commission does not have access to complete information about how the resources were allocated within countries: in some cases national budgetary information includes, for example, staffing costs and in others it does not. Nevertheless globally it can be said that all countries organised at least one strategic or festive event in addition to an official launch, many also organised a closing event. Almost all countries produced their own promotional items including postage stamps, directories of language learning resources and exhibition panels.

5. Meetings and events

5.1. European Launch events

The Belgian and Swedish presidencies organised, in collaboration with the European Commission and the Council of Europe, specific events to celebrate the opening and closing of the Year. The opening event included a high-level round table, performances and activities celebrating linguistic diversity, demonstrations of teaching methods, and debates. Commissioner Viviane Reding and Walter Schwimmer, Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, attended. The event attracted significant media coverage around Europe, mainly as a result of the simultaneous press announcement of the results of the Eurobarometer survey mentioned below. The closing event, organised in the European Parliament, was opened officially by HRH Prince Philip of Belgium and included an exhibition of projects and a number of round-table discussions, led by organisers of European Year activities.

5.2. National Launches and presentations

Launch events were held in all countries, and most of them received some co-financing from EU budgets. They varied enormously: some were festive, some political and others information-based. Almost all of them were endorsed by high-level politicians and celebrities.

5.3. Other meetings

In October 2001, a conference was held in Rotterdam which presented a variety of latest developments in language teaching and learning methods, and notably those which had been developed through the Socrates and Leonardo da Vinci Programmes. The event was organised by the Dutch Ministry of Education in collaboration with the European Commission and the Council of Europe, and was co-financed from Socrates and Leonardo da Vinci funds, enabling the pre-accession countries to participate fully within EU budgets.

In addition to the national launches, almost all countries organised at least one major event in the course of the Year, focussing on the main national strategy for the Year. These varied from the festive to the political and involved almost all sectors with an interest in education, training, culture and integration. As a result declarations and policy documents are now under scrutiny by political authorities in many countries.

5.4. The European Week of Adult Language Learners (5-11 May 2001)

A week of activities was organised to emphasise life-long language learning and specifically the needs of adults. The guide for adults, "How YOU can learn a language", was published and widely distributed during the Week. The European Commission also produced one promotional item specifically for this week, a notebook with language learning tips in 11 languages, and promoted it particularly during the 9th May celebrations in Strasbourg and Brussels. Some co-financed projects also focussed their energies on this week. Activities including festivals, publications, language-taster events and conferences were held in most participating countries, and the Week was widely covered by the media.

5.5. The European Day of Languages (26 September 2001)

The Day of Languages was a resounding success. It acted as a focal point for many thousands of festivals, conferences, publications and other activities, was celebrated by well over half of the co-financed projects and attracted more press and media coverage than at any other time during the Year. The European Commission organised activities in 17 countries in partnership with a national or local radio station.

6. Information and communications

6.1. Introduction

The Information campaign was the second largest EU contribution, absorbing 30% of the total funds. Significant though it was, it was nowhere near sufficient to fund a paid media advertising campaign across the EU, and the strategy for managing the campaign was based on the creation of multiplier effects. Each of the major aspects is dealt with below.

6.2. Press and communications campaign

The strategic campaign rested on two key observations. First of all, without the resources for a centrally delivered, high profile advertising campaign, the Year would need to rely on its ability to attract editorial content in the media. Secondly, a press campaign needed to be delivered at a national and local level. As a result, collaboration with the NCBs was extremely important in delivering this aspect of the campaign.

Initially EurO&M undertook an audit of all NCBs to ascertain their level of knowledge and experience with press and PR matters, as well as their priorities and planned activities. The audit determined that there were specific needs in NCBs which varied in nature and volume across countries. Consequently it was decided to establish a contract between each NCB and a local PR company, reflecting the needs defined in the audit. A training course on communications and media issues was also organised in January 2001 and was well received, but would have been welcomed much earlier. A communications handbook was published in February 2001 and circulated to all NCBs. A modified version of it was produced and sent to all co-financed projects.

Key points in the Year were identified for which a specific media push could be effective. These were: the publication of the Eurobarometer results in February 2001, coinciding with the European launch; the publication of the list of co-financed projects in June 2001 and the European Day of Languages in September 2001. On these occasions, in addition to a standard European press release, 20 individual press releases were developed and published, each one drawing on the national situation and published in the national language(s).

The information and communication campaign relied heavily on multiplier effects though activities in participating countries. Press coverage of the European Year of Languages was generally strong, particularly around the European Day of Languages in September 2001. Coverage was often linked to strong statements supported by factual material, such as the results of Eurobarometer surveys, or to the involvement of high-profile individuals. The role of projects in generating local and regional press coverage was also substantial and successful. Many NCBs and committee members did feel that that greater television exposure would have been desirable, although they were realistic about the opportunities for this.

6.3. Logo, promotional items and publications

The logo for the Year was developed as a result of a call for tender [9] and after consultation with the Council of Europe and Member States. It was made widely available through NCBs, European and national websites, and directly to interested parties. There was a set of rules explaining how the logo could be used. The external evaluation concludes that the logo scored well in terms of use, appropriateness and recognition. It will continue to be used to brand the annual Day of Languages, which will be celebrated on September 26th every year under the auspices of the Council of Europe.

[9] By restricted procedure N° DG EAC/33/00 of 31 March 2000, based on a list of graphic designers established as a result of Call for Expressions of Interest N° 97/S 153-97419 of 8 August 1997

The European Commission, via EurO&M, also produced and distributed about two million promotional items (posters, tee-shirts, postcards, pens, pencil boxes, notepads, balloons, plastic bags, mouse mats). There were materials suitable for most target groups, with a strong emphasis on children. The art-work for all these items was made available on the European website for any parties to use, thus ensuring a coherent look for EYL products, and also enabling linguistic and design adaptations to be made to suit individual requirements. A short animation was produced and widely distributed to television stations, projects and events organisers. It was also available via the European Website.

A range of publications was produced and distributed: an information pack, providing information about the European Year, the activities of the EU and the Council of Europe in language learning and some statistics; a leaflet which was based on the information pack; a guide to language learning for adults and a brochure providing some highlights of the Year. All of these were published in the 11 official languages of the EU and the artwork and content was made widely available to enable other language versions to be developed using the same house style. The reactions to these were generally favourable.

All material was produced centrally and 72% was distributed nationally by NCBs. The EU distributed 18% directly, mainly via conferences and exhibitions, and the Council of Europe distributed 10%. This arrangement generated a significant amount of work at national level. The promotional items were well received although many NCBs felt that the stocks of some items were too low and the external evaluation concluded that higher quantities of a more limited range of items would have been more appropriate. Feedback also suggests that overall this aspect of the campaign was successful, however European Year budgets need to take fuller account of the costs and logistics of storage and distribution. The impact of the animation is not known, although it was certainly broadcast on national television in Greece.

6.4. European Website

A central feature of the information campaign was the website, which used around one quarter of the information campaign budget. Its URL was featured on almost all publications and promotional items. The website was available in the 11 official languages of the EU. It was fully on-line from mid-February 2001 to the end of January 2002 and attracted over 75.000 unique visitors and just over 170.000 visits.

The website was structured in 4 distinct areas and interactivity was a key component: an information section, providing explanations of the EYL, information about activities, downloads of the logos and all of the publications and news stories; a learning section with tips on language learning and information about the EU's and the Council of Europe's activities; a poetry section in which children could contribute and translate poetry; a discussion forum. There was also an extensive list of links which were organised into categories.

700 users contributed to an on-line survey and views were also sought from the NCBs and project co-ordinators. On the whole the site was well received and valued by its users. It was felt to be well designed with good clear navigation. It appears to have been mainly used by those interested in language learning issues and chiefly as a mechanism for gathering information. The short life span of the site was brought into question in the evaluation however all the material from the site has been reserved by the European Commission for future use. The ability to link to the websites of NCBs was applauded, as was the wide variety of links available from the site. All language versions of the site were used although there was a frustration among some users that the site was not available in even more languages. Some 50.000 downloads of documents have been recorded, which suggests that just under 30% of visits generated a download.

6.5. Additional promotional activities

European Commission services contributed significantly to the visibility of the European Year and its objectives through their respective core activities. A set of EYL panels for the main exhibition stand and two portable stands, which were used by organisations around Europe, and a short video clip promoting the objectives of the Year were produced by DG EAC. The Office of Publications produced 2 million postcards and distributed them as inserts in official publications. The Translation Service and the Joint Interpreting and Conference Service collaborated on the publication of a handbook [10] containing information for people interested in working as translators or interpreters, and providing tips on how to get the best results from translation and interpreting services. DG Press collaborated to organise an awareness-raising activity for the Brussels Press Corps in advance of the European Day of Languages. The European Parliament organised a conference and also produced and distributed a poster for the European Year.

[10] Can be downloaded from

7. Eurobarometer 54 [11]

[11] Eurobarometer 54 'Europeans and Languages' 2001:

A Eurobarometer public opinion survey, which was conducted in December 2000 among 16 000 citizens of the European Union, provides information on the language knowledge of Europeans, their opportunities to use the foreign languages they know, their opinions on the usefulness of speaking other languages, their interest in speaking these languages and the ways in which languages are learned. The report was released to the press in February 2001 on the occasion of the European launch for the Year in Stockholm. The results of the Eurobarometer survey have been widely quoted since they were published and they continue to be featured in strategic and policy papers around Europe.

8. Co-financed projects

The Commission allocated EUR 6 million to a total of 185 co-financed projects, and placed a further 21 projects on a waiting list which was used once all budgetary allocations had been finalised. A total of 190 projects finally took place, 40 more than the number estimated in the Call for Proposals. Projects on average received EUR 32.000 and invested EUR 41.000 in other funds bringing the average total cost to EUR 73.000. As part of their independent evaluation, Ecotec undertook a detailed survey of co-financed projects via an electronic questionnaire. Just under 50% of the projects returned the questionnaire. Additionally some 45 co-financed projects were selected for an in-depth interview along with 27 activities which were not co-financed.

8.1. The selection procedure

Applications, made as a result of a Call for Proposals [12], were submitted via NCBs who sent them to the European Commission with a commentary. The selection was made by the European Commission, assisted by a panel of experts nominated by the Advisory Committee, taking into account the commentaries received. Almost 1300 applications were made, requesting over EUR 47 million. Many applications could not be financed because they proposed activities which could be funded under existing measures. These applicants were redirected to other Community initiatives.

[12] Call for Proposals No EAC/66/00 published in the OJ C 257 of 8 September 2000, p. 6. Deadlines for submission 02 October 2000 and 15 February 2001.

The majority of NCBs were satisfied with the selection procedure, although some felt that the selection placed a heavy administrative burden on the NCB. Some also felt a decentralised selection would have been more effective. The project co-ordinators felt that the procedures for the selection, management and reporting were cumbersome, although those interviewed generally recognised that a fair selection requires detailed information and the majority of them felt that their contacts with the European Commission staff responsible for the projects were positive.

The European Commission considers that a centralised procedure ensured that the final selection included a wide variety of activities and a consistent approach to the published eligibility criteria and priorities. The approach adopted also enabled national priorities to be taken into account and ensured that scarce European Year funds were not allocated to activities that could be financed under existing measures. It also enabled NCBs to have a direct relationship with the co-financed projects.

8.2. Characteristics of the projects selected

Projects could be organised at local, regional, national or transnational level. Although only organisations located in the 18 participating countries could be funded, the impact of certain projects went beyond these geographical limitations, the participation of organisations from other countries having been funded from other sources. A wide variety of institutions managed the projects. By far the most common lead organisations were non-profit associations, followed by public authorities and higher education institutions. Adult or continuing education providers also featured and private companies and schools were less common.

Most projects included 3 or 4 different types of activity [13]. Conferences and festivals were most commonly classed as the 'main activity' and the most common 'side activities' were media related. Language tasters and competitions were also common particularly as elements within festivals. Most of the projects worked on a regional and local level.

[13] See Annex 4 for statistical data relating to the projects selected

Although most of the activities focused on the general public, expert-focused activities were also common. Festivals, language tasters and competitions reached large numbers of people (11.000 people on average) although media activities such as television and radio broadcasts reached even more. EYL projects targeted mostly "the general public", followed by students and teachers at various levels of education. It is also worth noting that policy makers were targeted by almost 50 activities within projects, making it the 8th most important target group out of 17, and providing potential for longer-term impact. On average, each of the projects targeted 12 different languages. At least 65 different languages were targeted, with a good spread between EU languages, the languages of Central and Eastern European countries, non EU languages, sign languages, regional and minority languages and languages of immigrant communities.

8.3. Results and impact of co-financed projects [14]

[14] Some examples of project activities can be found in Annex 5.

High number of beneficiaries

The projects which reached the highest number of people were those which centred on television or radio broadcasts. It is clear that one broadcast on prime-time national television reaches many millions of viewers. Similarly one series of radio programmes, syndicated across partner stations in a number of countries, and broadcast in the same time-slot reached a vast audience. The main purpose of this type of activity was awareness-raising and the main themes were the diversity of languages in Europe and the value of language skills. Other broadcasting initiatives however took place outside the co-financing framework which enabled wide promotion of EYL objectives and activities.

High impact on the promotion of language learning

Many language tasters / mini-courses were carried out during the Year. Organisers tended to offer more than one session within a project, and frequently offered a wide selection of languages. The impact of these projects on the promotion of language learning is extremely high, as they involve participants in the process of language learning. In so doing, they may also inform them directly about the various ways of learning a language and demonstrate that these can be fun and useful.

High impact on language policy

The external evaluation identified that a significant number of activities, particularly conferences, seminars and surveys, were targeted upon decision-makers and multipliers, notably teaching professionals. A synthesis of the results of many of these activities is presented in Part 2 of this report.

Awareness-raising about the European Year

All projects were contractually required to advertise the European Year through the use of the logo. Additionally the European Week of Adult language Learning and the Day of Languages provided a framework within which many activities were organised. Some projects went much further and, using existing networks or creating new ones, generated activities in many locations. In one case a European Association organised a simultaneous language lesson in 50 cities across Europe; in another a national association of adult education provided an information base for their members, who undertook a public opinion survey in 7 major cities in the context of a Day of Languages festival.

Creating a language-friendly environment

A significant number of EYL activities, notably festivals, demonstrated what a true language-friendly environment could be like. As an example, a core festival might include cinema from other countries in the original version, and provide information about language learning facilities, or give people the opportunity to try out new ways of learning a language. School children might explore the languages present in their communities, the languages and cultures of their friends and of their partner schools. Encouraged by this activity, the local media could discover a range of related stories which were both journalistically and visually interesting. The Internet would then act as a source of further information and a provider of more language practice. Local businesses, keen to create closer links with their future employees, might provide sponsorship and prizes for examples of good practice.


The Evaluation included detailed interviews with organisers of 72 EYL activities, of which 45 were co-funded and 27 were not. The organisers were asked specifically if they had plans to continue. Almost 3 out of 4 activity organisers anticipate some degree of sustainability for their activities. Co-financed initiatives are more likely to be sustainable than activities which were not co-financed.

9. Conclusions on the implementation of the European Year

Drawing specifically on the external evaluation report, it is clear that the three types of activity around which the Year was organised (the information campaign; co-financing a small number of projects; and encouraging "spontaneous" activities to take place which carry the European badge) were broadly successful. Despite a late start, limited staff resources and a modest budget compared to the tasks required, the EYL was a catalyst which stimulated the development of more than 8000 activities at grass root level, and laid the foundations for future policies at national and European level. The co-financed projects contributed in a tangible way to these results, and the information campaign provided materials, guidance and a graphic identity that were usable and used by actors at all levels.

While there is evidence that the implementation therefore has been successful in its own right, a number of practical issues nevertheless merit consideration for future European Years.

* A European Year is a 3-year initiative. Funding and staff resources are required for a preparatory year, during which strategies can be developed, briefing and training can take place, projects can be selected, information and publicity material can be produced and a website can be established; the implementation year in which the emphasis is on co-ordination and monitoring; and a concluding year during which activity is focussed on reporting and evaluating. The European Year of Languages suffered from insufficient staff and financial resources in the preparatory year, with the result that in 2001 the staff available were still developing key features while they also had to implement the activities that had been planned.

* The skills necessary to run a Year at European level demand a certain amount of subject knowledge and certain generic skills such as communications, logistical and project management skills. A core team for European Years is essential, which would deal with the generic issues, leaving the subject-specific issues to be managed in partnership with the appropriate Unit.

* At a national level the same mixture of expertise is ideal to manage a European Year. The PR training and PR network could usefully be replicated in the context of other European Years. Agreement also needs to be in place as to the budgets and personnel necessary for the storage and distribution of publications and promotional items to ensure that they reach the target groups locally without using up badly needed staffing resources at NCB or Commission level. This could be the subject of a particular call for tender.

* The European Year of Languages was the first European Year to be significantly present on the Internet, and there are lessons to be learned from this. The European Commission considers that a multilingual website is an essential feature of any European Year designed to engage the public at large. The ambitions of such a website however, need to reflect the time available and the needs of the campaign. A specific site focussing on core activities and news, with download facilities and clear links to national and other relevant websites should be envisaged. The investment in an interactive website community cannot be justified within the constraints of a European Year, unless funds are available for the future hosting and management capacity.

Part 2: The results of the Year - policy and strategy

10. The results of the Year as defined by its objectives:

10.1. Raising awareness of Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Europe

Local communities in Europe are dominated by few languages: one or maybe two official languages and languages that are frequently learned. The European Year of Languages provided a framework in which Europe's diverse linguistic communities were able to publicise their presence and integrate the promotion of their cultures and languages into a wider context. 94% of the co-financed projects sought to address this objective and they included 65 different languages.

The true diversity of communities was revealed throughout the Year and at every level of operation. Certainly the languages taught frequently in schools had their place in many activities, but sign languages, regional and minority languages and other languages like Arabic or Turkish, which have arrived through waves of immigration, perhaps for the first time, shared the spotlight with more "dominant" languages. There is also evidence that the inclusion in the Year of all languages spoken in Europe has supported citizens who speak languages rarely used outside the home and given them a pride in their heritage.

10.2. Encouraging multilingualism

The inclusion of different languages is a welcome feature of the Year, which enabled the benefits of bilingualism and multilingualism - hitherto relatively undervalued - to be illustrated and promoted. Many projects have shown that people are curious about languages and interested in learning to communicate a little in a sign language, a regional language or a language formerly seen as exotic. The "language-taster" framework has been particularly effective in providing curious but perhaps sceptical people with information about new and different ways of learning languages and letting them try them out.

10.3. Promoting the advantages of having skills in several languages

As a result of the Year, there is evidence that the advantages of having skills in several languages are more widely recognised. Eurobarometer has demonstrated that the majority of European citizens are persuaded that having skills in several languages is important.

Through European Year of Languages projects thousands of school children have had the opportunity to reflect on the value of having language skills and to try out learning new languages. Major conferences and seminars have resulted in declarations and policy statements calling on national and institutional decision-makers to ensure that educational provision allows for diversity in the choice of languages learned, and in some Member States there are signs that this call is being answered. The media meanwhile has highlighted weaknesses in national contexts and actively promoted good practice.

10.4. Promoting Life-long Language Learning

European Year activities emphasised that life-long language learning begins at the earliest age and continues throughout schooling and professional and personal life. They gave visibility to many initiatives which promote starting in pre-primary and primary cycles. At every level of education and training, whether in formal or informal settings, activity organisers have encouraged a reflection on the purpose of language learning at each stage in life and demonstrated various approaches for different types of learners. The conclusions of these activities are varied but they emphasise a common belief: each phase of language learning within the formal education system needs to provide blocks of knowledge, skill and understanding upon which further language learning can be built.

The Year also demonstrated that many people have language skills that are underused in the workplace but also that employers are seeking to recruit people who already have language skills, experience of living in another country and also the ability to develop skills in new languages. The emphasis for adult education is placed in three areas: professional development, integration into the local community and leisure activities. Some EYL activities also focussed on the resources provided by retired people who have language skills.

10.5. Publicising different methods for teaching and learning languages

Eurobarometer showed that, while many citizens believe language skills to be useful for them and for their children, fewer think they have the time, the money or the skills to undertake language learning themselves, and many think that the language provision in their area is not good. These findings provide local, regional and national decision-makers with an agenda to review and improve language learning provision.

Many language schools opened their doors to the public and demonstrated new techniques for language learning; national and regional authorities established electronic and paper catalogues of language providers. Many seminars and conferences brought together experts from various countries to explain latest developments in language teaching and learning, and experts published handbooks for parents and schools explaining the benefits of developments such as content and language integrated learning (the learning of a subject through the medium of a foreign language).

11. Political and strategic results

The European year provided a platform for reflection and debate at all levels. At a European level both the European Parliament and the Committee of the Regions published declarations in 2001 in support of linguistic diversity in Europe and particularly on the promotion of regional and minority languages. A steady stream of policy and strategic documents issued by Ministries, NCBs, European Associations, research centres, local authorities and co-financed projects have been collected by the European Commission.

While it is not possible to provide a comprehensive list of these in this report, and generalisations risk over-simplifying complex issues, certain key issues and achievements merit inclusion in this report, with a view to broadening the reflection on core themes. Equally the European Year cannot take credit for all policy developments: some countries had begun the process of reviewing national language-learning provision before the Year, and it therefore provided a framework for broadening debate rather than an instigation to start debates. In other cases it is clear that the European Year was the impetus for future action.

This section provides an overview of the policies, declarations and reports that have already been submitted to the Commission, as well as a synthesis of the major themes under debate and issues arising from them.

11.1. Overview

At a national and regional level the European Year has supported the emergence of high level strategic developments. Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland and the UK have all published reports on the activities and results of the European Year. Many of these point to future policy developments. In France the ministerial announcement in April 2002 of the establishment of a Maison des Langues heralded also a wide array of developments the teaching of languages. In Denmark and the UK it has also been announced that the age at which language learning starts in schools is to be lowered and Ireland is in the process of producing its first national language policy. The debates inspired by these developments are still receiving significant press attention as 2002 draws to a close.

At a regional level the European Year inspired significant activities and several reviews of these as well as strategic documents have resulted. In Spain the Communidad de Madrid undertook a year long review of language teaching, and Cataluña published a full report on strategic and policy initiatives that had taken place during the Year. The German Länder all contributed significantly to the development of new practices across Germany and several regional educational authorities, notably in the UK and Italy have acted as a focal point for a variety of activities.

In advance of the European year, and indeed, in anticipation of it, some European Associations and NGOs already began a reflection on the themes of the European Year. The European Parents Association and the European Trade Union Committee for Education published a declaration on "Successful Language learning" as early as November 2000 [15].

[15] Available from and

In the course of 2001 Major European associations promoting specific languages mobilised their membership and reflected upon the position of the languages they represent. The European Union of the Deaf published its "EUD sign languages day resolution" [16] in December, while members of the EUD organised major events throughout the Year in many countries, and notably in Germany, Spain, Finland and Greece. Students and young people also took the opportunity to reflect on language issues in 2001. Although no official declarations were made during the European Year, the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages gave it a high visibility among its members. This contribution has clearly influenced events in many countries and given voice to EBLUL's existing resolutions. The Cultural Institutes celebrated the Year in many ways, and in a number of capital cities around Europe, the Institutes representing various languages and cultures worked together to increase the impact of their activities.

[16] Available from

In the school sector the Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions spent the autumn developing their statement about language learning, and specifically from the point of view that life-long learning starts in school [17] which will be published in the course of 2002. School teacher unions also prepared a resolution through the European Trade Union Committee for Education mentioned above. In Higher Education two landmark resolutions were published. In December the European Students' Forum - AEGEE published the "AEGEE Language Policy Paper" [18] while at an institutional level, the European Language Council developed its Berlin Declaration, "Language Studies in Higher Education: A key contribution to European integration" [19].

[17] For more information contact OBESSU through

[18] Available from

[19] Available from

11.2. Synthesis of the policy statements and declarations

The semantics of language policy has evolved: multilingualism has been expressed in terms of the rights of citizens to use their own languages, the needs of communities to have access to high quality language learning facilities for a broad range of languages, the benefits of language skills to society, commerce and individuals and the duty of governments and European authorities to promote Europe's linguistic diversity and to ensure that educational provision covers life-long learning of languages. Language issues have also been closely linked with those of social inclusion, particularly with respect to sign languages and the recognition that they are not only languages for deaf people and their families, and to the language skills of immigrants, where a significant focus has been placed on second language learning.

The minimum qualification for young people leaving formal education is reiterated across these statements as 2 languages in addition to the mother tongue. Continuity throughout the education system and beyond remains an issue in certain countries and there is a growing body of opinion recommending that foreign language be treated as a basic skill alongside literacy, numeracy and IT skills. Several countries have defined age thresholds for the introduction of each of at least 2 foreign languages into the curriculum and, where these existed before the Year, there are examples of the starting age being lowered.

Finally, policy statements released at national level express a strong desire for sustainability of the momentum created during the European Year of Languages. In some countries sustainability is seen as a political issue, and the presence, often for the first time, of moves to create a national language policy is seen as crucial. The networks created during the Year also feature strongly in national reports: the new relationships between educationalists, employers, social partners and cultural organisations are seen as crucial vehicles to further developments. Elsewhere the European Year activists and the legacy of their initiatives are seen as providing inspiration for more and better promotion of language learning and language awareness.

11.3. Specific proposals for action

The need for improved language skills

A new and urgent need to improve the language skills of all European citizens has been defined. Economic factors and professional demands provide a clear agenda, but issues relating to personal identity and the development of mutual understanding are also key factors. Employees with language skills are an asset to workplaces, not only because these skills can be used to benefit businesses, but also because people with language skills also have other useful skills: they are often communicators, strategic and logical thinkers and problem-solvers.

How to improve language learning

The key issue of motivation to learn languages is underlined and students declare they want to take responsibility for their own learning paths. They specify their need to discover and develop reasons for their own learning and recognise that developments should arise from co-operation between teachers and students. Teachers also call for closer involvement in the selection of appropriate materials and methods.

In Higher Education, students and professionals agree that there should be mandatory language study regardless of the course being studied and the provision of degree programmes or portions of programmes taught in other languages. Institutions need to create environments for independent language learning, exploiting ICT and e-learning as well as clear learning and communication objectives need to be set for all language learning programmes.

Direct contact with people from other countries is seen as an essential part of language study. Mobility is a key aspect of this although it is also recognised that ICT has an important role to play in bringing other languages and cultures into the classroom. Linguistic and intercultural preparation and support for mobility should be improved. This also underlines the importance of developing new learning pathways that enable students to acquire some communication skills in the countries of their partners, and in the countries where they will undertake periods of study or work placement.

How to improve the quality of language teaching

The relationship between teachers and students in the school and in the learning process is changing, and teachers are moving towards facilitating learning. Teachers also call for improved access to innovative practices and to the results of research programmes and would like more opportunities to organise and be involved in research projects.

An increase in the number of native speakers in the teaching force generally and in Higher education in particular would be welcomed, as would a requirement that all language teachers spend 6 months working or studying in a country of the language they teach. Higher education professionals call for highly qualified university language teachers through the introduction of postgraduate programmes and continuing education modules, and all should have and use the ability to teach through the medium of their foreign language. Additionally they propose a requirement that trainee language teachers should learn a new language as part of their programme of study.

The process of life-long learning needs to be emphasised. The teaching profession draws particular attention to the need to raise young children's awareness of different languages and cultures. They also refer to the specific needs of adults whose mother tongue is not the national language. Other aspects identified include the need to increase access to language learning for everyone after leaving formal education and to ensure a diverse range of opportunity, including summer schools and high quality distance-learning and e-learning.


"Mother tongue plus 2" is seen as a basic objective for the education system and many voiced the opinion that English is not enough on its own, although it is clearly seen as essential, and mentioned as a minimum for school-leavers. Graduates must achieve a high level of communication skills in language studies, and must also gain specific knowledge enabling them to adapt and further develop their linguistic repertoire in response to changing needs. Language students should be encouraged to study a second language beside their major and students following ab-initio courses should have access to intensive foundation courses preceding the degree proper.

Assessment and accreditation

There is general agreement that improvements are needed to systems for assessing language skills. Students indeed observe that many systems of language skill recognition exist, but that few are exploited. Students and professionals agree that language skills gained through non-formal education need to be recognised; these include the skills gained from mobility programmes as well as through summer schools and informal learning environments. The transparency and comparability of language skills and qualifications needs attention. There is agreement that the Council of Europe's Common European Framework of Reference and the Language Portfolio are key tools. Initiatives such as Dialang, a European project seeking to provide a facility for citizens to test their language skills on-line, are particularly welcomed.

12. Future developments at a European Level

The European Year gave new impetus and visibility to activities in the field of languages; the European Commission will ensure that the momentum is maintained.

On 13 December 2001 the European Parliament adopted a resolution [20] calling for measures to promote linguistic diversity and language learning, with emphasis placed on communication skills and the preservation and promotion of regional or lesser-used languages. As well as ensuring that the linguistic dimension remains present within its work on education and training, the Parliament, through its Committee initiatives has also been integrating the promotion of linguistic diversity and language learning in fields as diverse as film distribution, theatre and the performing arts, publishing and social exclusion.

[20] Resolution Published in the OJ C 177E of 25 July 2002 p. 334.

On 14 February 2002, the Education Council and the Commission adopted the Detailed work programme on the follow-up of the objectives of education and training systems in Europe, which explicitly mentions foreign languages among the 'basic skills' required by all European citizens. 'Improving foreign language learning' is a specific objective.

On the same date, the Education Council asked the Member States to take concrete initiatives and invited the Commission to draw up proposals by early 2003 for actions to promote linguistic diversity and language learning [21].

[21] Resolution Published in the OJ C 50 of 23 February 2002 p. 1.

At the Barcelona European Council of 15-16 March 2002, the Heads of State and Government called for further action to improve the mastery of basic skills, in particular by teaching at least two foreign languages from a very early age. They asked for the establishment of a common linguistic competence indicator in 2003 [22].

[22] The Conclusions of the Barcelona European Council can be consulted on

To assist the Commission in making progress on these issues, Member States have nominated a group of national experts in the field of languages. Its role will be twofold: to provide advice and information about practical ways in which Member States can implement the languages objectives they have set themselves, and to help in drawing up the proposals for action at a European level that were requested by the Council.

The Commission will publish a Discussion Document in the autumn of 2002 which will be based upon issues that have been highlighted both by the European Year and by the Commission's decade of involvement in promoting foreign language learning and supporting linguistic diversity. A wide consultation with relevant organisations will be undertaken. Arising from the responses to this consultation, the Commission will present in mid-2003, a Communication to the European Parliament and the Council on an Action Plan to promote linguistic diversity and language learning, using resources available within existing Community Programmes and activities.

The Commission therefore is now taking stock of its investment to date and is considering further ways and means of promoting linguistic diversity and language learning at a European level. It is committed to adopting a coherent and proactive approach across all of its actions and programmes in the fields of education and culture to complement the work of Member States.

The results of the European Year of Languages 2001, as reported in this document, will certainly contribute significantly to these future developments.


1. Principal recommendations of the external evaluation

(1) Make available information on EYL projects and publications potentially through a compendium of EYL good practice projects. It should also be ensured that information on potential funding opportunities as well as activities planned for the European Day of Languages is widely accessible, to sustain the momentum generated during the EYL.

(2) Organisers of future European Years should recognise the time and resources required in planning and implementing a European Year. A Year is a short period of time in which to achieve ambitious objectives and hitting the ground running is an important factor in securing success. A three-year timescale would seem appropriate, consisting of a year of preparation, a year of implementation and a year to secure follow-up actions.

(3) When appointing National Co-ordinating Bodies, existing European networks should be used as far as possible and the management skills and obligations be explicitly recognised.

(4) The successful structure adopted by the EYL should be retained for future Years with the following considerations:

(a) The inclusion of a website should be maintained but its role and focus should be carefully considered in view of the limited resources available and the longer term objectives. It should be designed and resourced to last beyond the Year.

(b) The visual logo for the Year proved very successful. The need for a common slogan might be re-considered in the light of experience. Participating countries should be encouraged to adopt a slogan relevant to national circumstances.

(c) National PR support should be maintained and enhanced and its content clearly defined on the basis of NCBs' needs. It could prove useful to focus this support on helping NCBs to use co-funded activities more effectively in their national media campaigns.

(d) A smaller range of promotional items should be produced but in greater numbers. Provision should be made for the costs of storing and distributing promotional items.

(5) To capture the experience acquired, a "European Year operational template" could be designed for future Years, including the balance of financial and human resource needs at different phases, profile of the nature of human and financial resources required, the identification of types of activities, minimum monitoring requirements.

(6) It may also be useful to consider the appropriate strategic role which European Years play in the sustainable promotion of themes of European interest.

2. Detailed breakdown of the European budget commitments


3. Detailed breakdown of expenditure in Participating countries


Explanatory notes

(1) Source: all data is taken from interviews with NCBs, conducted by Ecotec between May and June 2002 except Luxembourg for which no data was available and Denmark for which data has been taken from the questionnaire submitted to the Council of Europe in March 2002.

(2) Source: EurO&M final report. The value of the radio coverage is based on feed-back provided from the radio stations which were official partners for the events. No radio partners could be found in France or Sweden.

(3) Source: European Commission records. All participating countries could apply for funding to co-finance national launch events and other presentations for the European Year. All participating countries except Finland, Iceland and Norway requested some funding. Financing was also provided to the Swedish and Belgian Presidencies for the European launch and closing events.

(4) Source: European Commission records. NCBs and ministries were not excluded from the Call for Proposals for co-financing projects. They were however required to declare if there was a conflict of interest and they therefore could not provide a national recommendation with respect to such projects. National initiatives managed by or involving NCBs and ministries were supported Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Finland and United Kingdom.

(5) Source: EurO&M final report. The data for publications and promotional items is reached by calculating the number of copies of each item that was distributed directly by participating countries according to the unit cost of production for each item. The remainder of the stock was distributed directly by EurO&M, the European Commission and the Council of Europe. These calculations do not include the costs of the time of core staff involved in the content or design of the materials

(6) Source: EurO&M final report. A part of the budget managed by EurO&M was reserved to establish contracts with PR companies in participating countries who worked directly and exclusively on tasks specified by the NCBs and in collaboration with them. This part of the budget also covers the costs of the NCB communications training held in January 2001 in Paris.

(7) Source: EurO&M final report. 18 participating countries are included although the Languages Lift-Off took place in only 17 of them: one withdrew after September 11th but a certain amount of expenditure had already been incurred in the preparations.

(8) Source: EurO&M final report. The postcard campaign was implemented at EU level as the text on the materials was in the 11 official languages.

(9) Source: European Commission project reports. Differences from the total amount committed are explained by the withdrawal of a small number of projects after the final commitments had been made.

(10) Source: European Commission project reports.

EYL spending in participating countries per capita of population


This table excludes data relating to European projects as the financing cannot be correctly allocated to specific participating countries.

4. Project selection: statistical data

Distribution of the co-financed projects according to types of activity


Themes developed within projects

// %

The learning of (a) specific language(s) // 73%

Knowledge about (a) specific language(s) // 72%

Specific language learning methods/approaches // 59%

The benefits of having language skills in the personal development of individuals // 94%

The benefits of having language skills in the professional development of individuals // 77%

Generic language-learning skills // 65%

Knowledge about specific cultures // 79%

Knowledge about and/or access to language learning providers // 57%

Knowledge about or increased use of e-learning (the use of internet &/or other technology in language learning) // 61%

Policy or institutional developments relating to teaching and language learning languages // 38%

Target Languages

Group of languages // Number of times a language from the group was targeted

Official languages (EU and EEA countries) [23] // 812

[23] Including Icelandic, Norwegian, Irish, Letzeburgesch

Languages of pre-accession countries // 111

Other Central / Eastern European Country // 68

Sign languages // 60

Regional or minority languages // 53

Languages significantly present in Europe as a result of migration // 42

Source: ECOTEC survey of co-funded projects

5. EYL co-financed projects and other activities: Examples of good practice:

Co-financed activities involving television or radio stations

Danmarks Radio ran a series of 10 radio programmes (each 15 minutes) and four radio programmes (30 minutes each) in other EU languages to encourage people to learn new languages. A total of 758,000 people have seen the programmes.

In Greece, ERT produced one hundred TV sports (2 minutes each) where celebrities talked about their personal experiences of learning languages. These spots were broadcast everyday on prime time TV after the news bulletin (8pm and 11pm) from the 26th of September to the 30th of November 2001. Approximately 200,000 people were reached every evening.

In Finland, a TV spot (20 second) was designed by the Federation of Foreign Language Teachers (SUKOL) aimed to encourage language take-up of children aged 10-14. The spot was shown 32 times on Channel MTV3 between the 17th and 26th of September 2001. According to the campaign analysis, the spot was seen 425,000 times and by 65 % of the target population, i.e. approximately 200,000 children of 10-14 years of age saw the ad approximately 2 times each. One of the success factors was the agreement with MTV3, which guaranteed to show the spot as many times as required to reach an agreed number of viewers.

TV5, an international francophone broadcasting company, produced 84 clips featuring young people speaking about why they enjoyed their ability to speak in different languages and what their language skills had helped them to achieve. Each of the spots was broadcast 20 times per day for 120 across transnational TV networks owned by TV5 and their partner networks, reaching a potential audience of 600 million viewers. The programme clips were also broadcast on a continuous loop in a central Paris Metro station all day for 1 year, and have been integrated into a teacher's pack that was sent directly to 14.500 teachers of French as a foreign language and is also available on TV5's website.

The Confédération nationale des Radios Libres in France, in collaboration with partner networks in Belgium, Italy and Spain, produced and broadcast 30 radio programmes dealing specifically with regional languages. The programmes were made widely available to the networks of the companies which produced them and were distributed to, and broadcast by 275 individual stations. Audience statistics for these programmes show that at least 4 million people tuned in, although this remains a conservative figure based only on reliable audience research. The CNRL has produced a specific internet facility dealing with regional languages and enabling the programmes to be downloaded, and has also appointed a Vice President post for languages.

Television and radio coverage which was not co-financed.

In Austria, ORF was closely involved during the EYL and the Year was extensively covered on the radio and TV. The project Sprachpavillon, jointly implemented by the Ministry for Education, Science and Culture and ORF has been a very successful example of awareness raising activity. It is a mobile construction, which is transported by a truck and contains mainly screens for presentations and internet stations. In May 2001, the truck made a tour through all Austrian provinces to support the regional launch events by attracting the general public with a wealth of activities. The Pavilion was also used to accompany smaller EYL events in Austria, such as the Youki project which was co-financed by the European Commission. All Sprachpavillon events were broadcast and featured in magazines on national and regional level. In most provinces, the regional ORF station co-operated with the regional broadcast of the neighbouring country (e.g. RAI Trieste, Radio Maribor).

In Ireland, the Language Bus was itself an awareness raising activity and received excellent television coverage. The initial impetus came from a press release for the launch of the bus, and which resulted in nation-wide publicity when it featured as the third story in that day's news broadcast. This helped the bus to gain identity, and led to numerous calls from people who wanted the bus to come and visit them.

In Norway, the Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) created 6 programmes specifically dealing with EYL in the series 'On the blackboard', a weekly programme for learning, development and teaching. Themes included 'Get to know your own and other's language', 'Language in Norway: more than the two written Norwegian languages', 'Who bothers to learn Norwegian?', 'The landscape of languages in Europe'. In addition, a summer series with tips for tourists in Europe (10 programmes) was also broadcast.

Development or information sharing on new language teaching material

One of the aims of the Eurosign conference, organised by the German Deaf Association in Munich, was to promote the use of new technologies for deaf people, including television, internet, Visicast (virtual language technology). The idea of creating a European Deaf University was also debated. The conference provided a forum for participants from 15 countries to discuss these topics. A network is now in place and a follow-up conference was held in Spain in June 2002.

In Weilburg, Germany, a conference was specifically organised to exchange experiences on language teaching and learning at schools. Teachers and academics were brought together to discuss issues such as language programmes, core curriculum, language learning in primary schools, bilingual teaching and the use of modern media. Results of discussions are a direct input in the development of a new curriculum in Hessen. The network created carries on working both in formal working groups and on an informal basis.

A method for an "auto learning class" was initiated as a side-activity of the KELTIC project (Spain) by a group of professionals in 2001 to be completed in 2002. The International Congress for foreign language acquisition at early ages also enabled exchanges of experiences and good practices on early language teaching. A publication of the conclusions is being prepared.

In Italy, IRRE Lombardia developed a CD Rom containing the outcomes of 16 conferences on different methodological aspects relating to teaching of foreign languages in nursery schools. Good practices in each territory were identified and discussed by regional study teams and information was disseminated at conferences. Each region will receive 100 copies of the CD Rom.

In Iceland, a website and a CD Rom on alternative approaches to language learning and teaching was created as a result of a conference organised on this theme. The CD and the website contain presentations from experts from all over Europe and the conference was attended by 200 foreign language teachers (i.e. 30-40% of all language teachers in Iceland). These presentations are therefore widely available within Iceland and elsewhere.

Development of awareness raising instruments

In Belgium, the Adult Education Centre of the Brussels' Chamber of Commerce, created a series of 30-minute Lingua-Snacks (taster courses) based on the total physical respond method. Adult students in the centre were recruited and trained to act as teachers for the EYL project. Taster courses were delivered to 417 participants in 15 languages. An interactive CD-Rom has been created by the project co-ordinator entitled "Lingua-Snacks - Teaching Language Taster Courses with Total Physical Response" and is available to all teachers and institutions willing to launch similar taster courses.

An open-air French course (Une classe dans la Ville) developed by the Association of French Teachers in Greece was broadcast by TV5 in the main square of Thessaloniki. A learning tool was made of the broadcasts as well as video-clips, language games and interactive activities. On the following day, a training seminar was organised bringing together local teachers which explained the method adopted during the course. A videotape has been produced to diffuse the learning tool. It contains extracts of the courses and explains the method used in the course based on TV and interactive activities.

A language Portfolio was also developed by the General Secretariat for Adult Education in Greece. Its innovation lies in that it is a portfolio for both informal and formal language learning, whereas most portfolio focus on formal language qualifications. This portfolio aims to raise the awareness of adults who may have some knowledge of words in another language without being conscious of it. The pilot portfolio was developed by 100 adults and a further 300 users will complete it in the course of 2002, before it is used by all adults participating on adult learning programmes.

In France, "la Fête de Toutes les Langues" consisted of two competitions for the best "fête" organised by a class to promote linguistic diversity. Preparation for the "fête" included research, learning ways of writing, looking at history of languages and linguistic differences and use of languages in the local neighbourhood. Four experimental teaching materials were also developed and distributed to schools to support them in their activities. These were adapted from the EV-Lang programme which had been financed by the European Commission.

As part of its awareness raising campaign on "Sign language: One of four languages", the Finnish Association of the Deaf developed a material package of sign language lessons, which was disseminated to 1200 lower and upper secondary schools in Finland. The material is also available on the website of the organisation.

Transborder initiatives

Germany and the Netherlands: A competition for "the most language-friendly authority" was organised among public services on both sides of the border. In judging the entries, the organisers ensured that on-site visits were made to assess the quality of the initiatives and also to provide information and advice for further developments.

Sweden and Denmark: A project of the municipality of Malmø, developed several activities in both sides of the Øresund in order to raise awareness and understanding among children in primary education and teachers of the language of the neighbour. A follow-up project is planned supported under the INTERREG III-A community programme for secondary education.

Austria and Czech Republic (and other CEEC's): Gymradio Hollabrunn is a radio programme that has been developed by teachers and pupils of the secondary school of Hollabrunn with the aim to develop a better understanding of the Austrian and Czech population in the border region. Language is seen as an important vehicle to do so and therefore, twice a week, the radio broadcasts some Czech language courses for beginners and advanced listeners. To create publicity, the Prime Minister of the Czech republic Vaclav Klaus was also interviewed. In 2001, the Austrian school undertaking the project and a Czech school close to the border created a partnership and the radio acts a platform for creating exchange of pupils, artists and regional tourist managers.

Ireland, Spain, and UK: The Irish Theatre project run by Artslab was designed to encourage young people in Ireland to create links with those who live in other bilingual regions of Europe such as Navarre and Catalunya. Although the international network already existed, past projects have concentrated on artistic issues rather than language. This time the importance of language was brought to the forefront and the project involved creative artists gathering for laboratory, training and performance time in 3 countries to celebrate 5 languages (Castillan, Euskera, Catalan, Irish and English). Activities resulted in a shared fiesta organised in each of the 6 participating towns.

Spain and other institutions from the countries in the "Atlantic Arc": The KELTIC project in Spain worked around networks. The project, which was organised around the 5 key objectives of EYL, developed a local/regional network with institutions around Asturias, a national network, and an international network, which involved institutions belonging to the Atlantic Arc. The main Activities involved a 3-day multi-activity languages and culture meeting, revolving around workshops and round tables, a video event in Oviedo and an international congress on early foreign language learning.

Rotterdam-Frankfurt-Brussels: The Language Train, a project organised by the academy of languages in Maastricht, brought together 20 young people of 4 different countries in a train. These young people were expected to learn each other languages during a train journey. Activities were reported in the media, including radio, newspapers and TV. Assignments were also organised during train stops to raise awareness of the general public. A new project with a train travelling from Athens to Brussels is currently being prepared.

France, Belgium, Luxemburg and Germany: A language bus that made a series of stops in France, Luxembourg, Germany and Belgium and organised a festival in each location in order to create publicity and awareness of neighbouring languages at each stop. Local town-halls and councils were closely involved in the preparation and implementation of this project and therefore the project was successful in both raising the awareness of local decision-makers on languages and bringing pupils, teachers and decision-makers together.