Accept Refuse

EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Document 52000PC0321

Amended proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council - European Year of Languages 2001

/* COM/2000/0321 final - COD 99/0208 */

OJ C 311E , 31.10.2000, p. 259–272 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT, FI, SV)

52000PC0321

Amended proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council - European Year of Languages 2001 /* COM/2000/0321 final - COD 99/0208 */

Official Journal C 311 E , 31/10/2000 P. 0259 - 0272


Amended proposal for a DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL European Year of Languages 2001

(presented by the Commission pursuant to Article 250 (2) of the EC Treaty)

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

On 13 October 1999, the Commission presented a proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Year of Languages 2001 [COM(1999) 485 final of 13 October 1999].

The European Year of Languages 2001 should make it possible to organise a major awareness-raising and information campaign aimed at the general public on the subject of the richness of linguistic diversity within the European Union, the need for lifelong learning of languages and the advantages thereof, while at the same time disseminating information on how to learn languages.

This initiative complements other activities in the field of language learning which are primarily aimed at improving the learning environment and are intended for those learning as well as for experts, teachers and others involved in learning.

The Year will be organised in cooperation with the Council of Europe, which has already designated 2001 the European Year of Languages.

Following the opinion of the European Parliament at first reading on 13 April 2000 the Commission, under the terms of Article 250 (2) of the EC Treaty, is presenting an amended proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council containing in full the 37 amendments adopted by the European Parliament. These take into account the textual changes requested during discussions by the responsible bodies within the Council, in order to reach agreement at first reading.

The particular aim of the European Parliament amendments was to develop the following aspects in greater detail:

- the importance of linguistic and cultural diversity in the construction of Europe;

- groups which could be targeted more specifically;

- cooperation with the Council of Europe;

- the description of certain activities in an annex, and the insertion of guide percentages for budget take-up for the various types of action.

The text has also been adapted to take account of new agreements on committee procedures.

Amendments to the initial proposal by the Commission have been highlighted by striking through the deleted passages and underlining or printing in bold type the new or amended passages.

1999/0208 (COD)

Amended proposal for a DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL European Year of Languages 2001

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community and in particular to Articles 149 and 150 thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission [1],

[1] COM (1999) 485 final of 13 October 1999

Having regard to the opinion of the Economic and Social Committee [2],

[2] CES 1129/99 (99/0208 COD)

Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions [3],

[3] CdR 465/99 fin

Acting in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 251 of the EC Treaty,

Whereas:

(1) In the preamble to the EC Treaty, it is stated that the Member States are: "Determined to promote the development of the highest possible level of knowledge for their peoples through a wide access to education and through its continuous updating";

(2) Article 18 of the EC Treaty establishes the right of every citizen of the European Union "to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States", and whereas the ability to use foreign languages is essential to the ability in practice fully to exercise that right;

(3) Article 151 of the EC Treaty states that the Community shall contribute to the flowering of the cultures of the Member States while respecting their national and regional diversity, and shall take cultural aspects into account in its action under other provisions of the Treaty; whereas among the cultural aspects, matters pertaining to languages are of great importance;

(4) All the European languages, in their spoken and written forms, are equal in value and dignity from the cultural point of view and are an integral part of European cultures and civilisation;

(5) The languages question is a challenge that must be tackled as part of the European integration process and the European Year of Languages may therefore prove to be highly instructive as far as the formulation of measures to encourage cultural and linguistic diversity is concerned;

(6) Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union states that the Union shall respect fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms signed in Rome on 4 November 1950;

(7) Access to the vast literary heritage in the languages in which it was originally produced would contribute to developing mutual understanding and giving a tangible content to the concept of European citizenship;

(8) It is important to learn languages as it enhances awareness of cultural diversity and helps eradicate xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism and intolerance;

(9) In addition to the human, cultural and political advantages, learning languages is also of considerable potential economic benefit;

(10) A command of the respective mother tongue and knowledge of the classical languages, in particular Latin and Greek, can make it easier to learn other languages;

(11) It is important to raise awareness among public and private decision-makers of the importance of easy access to language learning facilities;

(12) The Council Conclusions of 12 June 1995 on linguistic diversity and multilingualism in the European Union emphasised that "linguistic diversity must be preserved and multilingualism promoted in the Union, with equal respect for the languages of the Union and with due regard to the principle of subsidiarity", and whereas Decision 2493/95/EC of the European Parliament and Council, adopted on 23 October 1995 and establishing 1996 as the European Year of Lifelong Learning [4] highlighted the importance of the role of lifelong learning in developing competencies, including linguistic, throughout an individual's lifetime;

[4] OJ L 256, 26 October 1995.

(4 13) The Commission's 1995 White Paper 'Education, training, research: Teaching and learning: towards a learning society' [5] established as its Objective Four proficiency for all in three Community languages and whereas the Commission's 1996 Green Paper 'Education, Training, Research: The obstacles to transnational mobility' [6] concluded that "learning at least two Community languages has become a precondition if citizens of the European Union are to benefit from occupational and personal opportunities open to them in the single market";

[5] Commission's White Paper: 'Education and Training: Teaching and learning - Towards the learning society' (based on COM(95)590 final, 29 November 1995), Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 1996

[6] Commission's Green Paper 'Education, Training, Research: The obstacles to transnational mobility' (based on COM (96)462 final, 2 October 1996), Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 1996

(14) The Council resolution of 31 March 1995 on improving and diversifying language learning and teaching within the education systems of the European Union [7] stipulates that pupils should, as a general rule, have the opportunity of learning two languages other than their mother tongue(s) for a minimum of two consecutive years for each language during compulsory schooling and if possible for a longer period;

[7] OJ C 207, 12.8.1995, p. 1

(15) The measures in the Lingua programme, adopted on 28 July 1989 under Decision 89/489/EEC of the Council [8], were reinforced and partially integrated as horizontal measures into the Socrates programme established on 14 March 1995 by Decision 819/95/EC of the European Parliament and the Council [9] and modified on 23 February 1998 by Decision 576/98/EC [10], and whereas those measures have promoted the improvement of knowledge of the languages of the Union and have thus contributed to greater understanding and solidarity between the peoples of the Union; whereas the Council in its common position of 21 December 1998 proposes that those measures be further developed and reinforced in the second phase of the Socrates programme [11];

[8] OJ L 239, 16 August 1989.

[9] OJ L 87, 20 April 1995.

[10] OJ L 77/1, 14 March 1998.

[11] OJ C 49/42, 22 February 1999.

(16) The Leonardo da Vinci programme, established on 6 December 1994 by Decision 94/819/EC [12] of the European Parliament and the Council, has, building on the results achieved under the Lingua programme, supported activities aimed at developing linguistic skills as part of vocational training measures; whereas that support will be further developed and reinforced in the second phase of the Leonardo da Vinci programme, established on 26 April 1999 by Decision 99/382 EC of the Council [13];

[12] OJ L 340, 29 December 1994.

[13] OJ L 146/33, 11 June 1999.

(17) The 'Culture 2000' programme, established 14 February 2000 by Decision 508/2000/EC of the European Parliament and the Council, also contributes to improving mutual understanding of the cultural achievements of the European peoples, especially by highlighting cultural diversity and multilingualism;

(18) A multiannual programme to promote the linguistic diversity of the Community in the information society was established by Council Decision 96/664/EC of 21 November 1996;

(19) The Report of the High Level Panel on the Free Movement of Persons [14] presented to the Commission on 18 March 1997, considered "the multiplicity of European languages [to be]... a treasure to be safeguarded" and suggested measures to foster language training and the use of languages in the Community;

[14] Report of the High Level Panel on the Free Movement of

(20) In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as defined in Article 5 of the EC Treaty, the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, inter alia because of the need for a coherent Community-wide information campaign avoiding duplication and achieving economies of scale; whereas those objectives can be better achieved by the Community, owing to the transnational dimension of Community actions and measures; whereas this Decision does not go beyond what is necessary to achieve those objectives;

(21) However, it is also important that there should be close cooperation and coordination between the Commission and the Member States, so as to ensure that actions undertaken at European level are underpinned by small-scale actions undertaken at local, regional and national level which are likely to be more suited to the needs of target groups and specific situations, and that cultural diversity is strengthened as a result;

(22) It is important to develop appropriate cooperation between the European Community and the Council of Europe so as to ensure consistency between actions undertaken at Community level and those undertaken by the Council of Europe, and whereas such cooperation is expressly mentioned in Article 149 of the Treaty establishing the Community;

(23) It is important to take into account the fact that the European Year will take place against the background of preparations for the enlargement of the Union;

(24) This Decision lays down for the entire duration of the programme, a financial framework constituting the prime reference, within the meaning of point 33 of the Interinstitutional Agreement between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission of 6 May 1999, for the budgetary authority, during the annual budgetary procedure [15];

[15] OJ C 172, 18 June 1999.

(25) The Joint Declaration of 4 May 1999 by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission sets out the practical arrangements for the implementation of the procedure laid down in Article 251 of the EC Treaty [16],

[16] OJ C 148, 28 May 1999.

(26) The measures to be taken for the implementation of this Decision should be adopted in accordance with Council Decision 1999/468/EC of 28 June 1999 laying down the procedures for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission [17];

[17] OJ L 184, 17.7.1999, p. 23

HAVE DECIDED AS FOLLOWS:

Article 1 Establishment of the European Year of Languages

1. 2001 shall be designated as the 'European Year of Languages'.

2. During the European Year, information and promotional measures will be undertaken on the theme of languages, with the aim of encouraging language learning by all persons residing in the Member States. These measures will cover the official languages of the Community, together with Irish, Letzeburgesch, and other languages as identified by the Member States for the purpose of implementing this Decision.

Article 2 Objectives

The objectives of the European Year of Languages shall be:

a) to raise awareness of the richness of linguistic diversity within the European Union and the value in terms of civilisation and culture embodied therein, acknowledging the principle that all languages must be recognised to have equal value and dignity and encouraging multilingualism;

b) to bring to the notice of the widest possible public the advantages of competencies in several languages, as a key element in personal and professional development (including in finding one's first job), in intercultural understanding, in making full use of the rights conferred by citizenship of the Union and in enhancing the economic and social potential of individuals, enterprises and society as a whole; the public referred to above shall include, among others: pupils and students, parents, workers, job seekers, the speakers of certain languages, the inhabitants of border areas, the peripheral regions, cultural bodies, deprived social groups, migrants, etc;

c) to encourage the lifelong learning, where appropriate, starting at preschool and primary school age, of languages and related skills, involving the use of languages for specific purposes, particularly in a professional context, by all persons residing in the Member States, whatever their age, background, social situation or previous educational experiences and achievements;

d) to collect and disseminate information about the teaching and learning of languages, and about skills, methods (especially innovative methods), and tools which assist that teaching and learning, including those that are developed in the framework of other Community actions and initiatives, and/or facilitate communication between users of different languages.

Article 3 Content of actions

The actions designed to meet the objectives set out in Article 2 may include, in particular:

- the use of a common logo and of slogans in collaboration with the Council of Europe, in accordance with Article 10;

- a Community-wide information campaign;

- the organisation of meetings, competitions, prizes and other activities ;

Details of these actions are set out in the Annex.

Article 4 Implementation of the Decision and cooperation with Member States

1. The Commission shall ensure the implementation of the Community actions pursued under this Decision.

2. Each Member State shall designate one or more appropriate bodies to organise its participation in the European Year, and to be responsible for the coordination and implementation at national level of the actions provided for in this Decision, including through assistance with the selection procedure described in Article 7.

Article 5 Committee

1. The Commission shall be assisted by aan committee .

2. Whenever this article is referred to, Articles 3 and 7 of Council Decision 1999/468/EC shall apply, without prejudice to Article 8 thereof.

3. The Committee shall draw up its own rules of procedure.

Article 6 Financial arrangements

1. Actions which are Community-wide in nature, as described in Part A of the Annex, may be financed in total by the Community budget.

2. Actions which are local, regional, national, or transnational in nature, as described in Part B of the Annex, may be co-financed by the Community budget, up to a maximum of 50% of the total cost.

Article 7 Application and selection procedure

1. Applications for the co-financing of actions from the Community budget under Article 6(2) shall be submitted to the Commission through the body or bodies designated under Article 4(2). They shall include information enabling the outcome to be assessed on the basis of factual criteria. The Commission shall take the utmost account of the assessment provided by the bodies concerned.

2. Decisions on the financing and co-financing of actions under Article 6 shall be taken by the Commission in accordance with the procedures set out in Article 5. The Commission shall ensure a balanced distribution among Member States, among, where appropriate, the various languages referred to in Article 1 and among the different relevant fields of activity.

3. The Commission (in particular through its national and regional information points), in cooperation with the bodies referred to in Article 4(2), shall ensure that calls for proposals are made in sufficient time and circulated as widely as possible.

Article 8 Coherence

The Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, shall ensure:

- consistency between the actions provided for in this Decision and other Community actions and initiatives, in particular those in the field of education, training and culture;

- optimal complementarity between the European Year and other existing Community, national and regional initiatives and resources, where these can contribute to fulfilling the objectives of the European Year.

Article 9 Budget

1. The financial framework for the implementation of this action for the period 1 January-31 December 2001 shall be EURO 8 million.

2. The appropriations shall be authorized by the budgetary authority within the limits of the financial perspectives.

Article 10 International cooperation

In the framework of the European Year, and in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 5, the Commission may cooperate with relevant international organisations. In particular, there shall be close cooperation and coordination as well as joint initiatives with the Council of Europe in order to help establish links between the peoples of Europe.

Article 11 Monitoring and evaluation

The Commission shall submit, by 31 December 2002 at the latest, a detailed report containing factual information to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the implementation, results and overall assessment of every action provided for in this Decision.

Article 12 Entry into force

This Decision shall be published in the Official Journal of the European Communities. It shall take effect on the day of its publication.

Done at Brussels,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

ANNEX

1. Nature of the actions referred to in Article 3

(A) Actions which may be financed up to 100 % from the Community budget

As a guideline, such actions may be allocated 40% of the total budget, which the Commission may adjust pursuant to the procedure laid down in Article 5(2).

1. Meetings and events:

(a) organisation of meetings on a Community level;

(b) organisation of events raising awareness of linguistic diversity, including the opening and closing events of the Year;

(c) organisation in each Member State of one or more presentations of the Year designed to reach large numbers of people from different social backgrounds;

2. Information and promotional campaigns involving:

(a) the development of a logo and of slogans for the European Year, for use in the framework of all activities linked to the Year;

(b) an information campaign on a Community-wide scale, including, among other things, the setting-up of an interactive Web site and the dissemination of information on projects (including those referred to in section C);

(c) the production of tools and aids, for use throughout the Community, which are also accessible to socially vulnerable groups, designed to raise public awareness of the conditions for successful language learning and of effective teaching and learning techniques;

(d) the organisation of European competitions highlighting achievements and experiences on the themes of the European Year.

3. Other actions:

Surveys and studies on a Community-wide scale, having notably the possible aim of better defining :

- the situation in Europe with regard to languages (including sign languages and the classical languages), their use (including in scientific and university research) and language teaching and learning and the acquisition of related skills; as far as possible, all the languages referred to in Article 1 could be concerned;

- the expectations of different target groups (including those in bilingual areas) with regard to language learning and

- the way in which the Community could fulfil those expectations ;

- evaluation studies concerning the effectiveness and impact of the European Year, examining best practice in the field of language teaching and training and disseminating the results throughout the Member States.

(B) Actions which may be co-financed by the Community budget

As a guideline, such actions may be allocated 60% of the total budget, which the Commission may adjust pursuant to the procedure laid down in Article 5(2).

Actions at local, regional, national or transnational level may qualify for financing from the Community budget up to a maximum of 50 % of the cost, according to the nature and circumstances of what is proposed. These may include, inter alia:

1. Events around the objectives of the European Year;

2. Information actions and actions disseminating examples of good practice, other than those described in Part 1(A) of this Annex;

3. The organisation of prizes or competitions;

4. Surveys and studies other than those mentioned in 1(A) above;

5. Other actions promoting language teaching and learning, provided that those actions would be ineligible for funding under existing Community programmes and initiatives.

(C) Actions receiving no financial aid from the Community budget

The Community will offer its moral support, including written authorisation to use the logo and other material associated with the European Year, for initiatives undertaken by public or private organisations, where those organisations can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Commission that the initiatives involved are or will be in progress during the year 2001 and are likely to contribute significantly to one or more of the objectives of the European Year.

2. Technical assistance

In carrying out the action, the Commission may have recourse to technical assistance organisations the financing of which may be provided for within the overall envelope for the programme. It can, under the same conditions, have recourse to experts. The Commission shall consult the committee referred to in Article 5 on the financial impact of this assistance.

Top