Skip to Content

Union Jack. Wikipedia

European Commission: French speakers denounce domination of English

In an open letter to their future president, Ursula von der Leyen, EU officials said that they regretted the omnipresence of English within the institution.

Published: September 19, 2019, 12:21 pm

    Brussels

    “We want to have the right to work in French … ” French daily Les Echos noted that a group of European officials had decided to alert their future president, Ursula von der Leyen, to the increasingly overwhelming role of English within the European Commission.

    “In just a decade, the situation has deteriorated dramatically. […] Even when the whole hierarchy is French-speaking, we are given oral instructions not to produce documents in languages ​​other than English”, one of the authors of this open letter stated.

    According to Les Echos, French is nevertheless, with English and German, one of the three “procedural languages” of the European Commission. But the ‘three working language’ rule has never been codified into law, and an attempt to add it into the EU constitution of 2004 was rejected by voters. The provision was eventually removed from its successor, the Lisbon Treaty.

    The French public servants wish to have the opportunity to express themselves, to take tenders or to communicate on social networks in French, they say. “You are our last resort,” they told Ursula von der Leyen who is trilingual herself (German, English, French).

    “When one wants to speak French, one is quickly accused of arrogance, whereas nobody uses this word when the Anglophones impose their language. […] English is becoming a smaller common denominator, we read the same media, we speak the same language in an impoverished form, and we no longer conceptualize the world in our own language, which is a shame for a European Union supposed to apprehend reality in its diversity!”

    This document is currently circulating within the European Commission to collect the maximum number of signatures.

    Currently, 51 percent of EU citizens can speak English as a first or second language. Some 26 percent can speak French while 32 percent can speak German. Even if the UK leaves with Brexit, that would still leave 45 percent of the EU population able to speak English.

    Moreover, some 90 percent of European schoolchildren learn English at some stage of their compulsory education and this figure is rising, according to a study by the Eurydice network on behalf of the European Commission.

    The study, from 2008, entitled ‘Key Data on Teaching Languages at School in Europe’, revealed that in 13 EU countries, English was the mandatory first foreign language. Moreover, some 90 percent of students in upper secondary education learn English even if it is not compulsory to do so.

    French is competing with English as one of the 12 global “supercentral languages”. They are: English, French, German, Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swahili – each of which (except for Swahili) boast 100 million speakers or more. But English is the only truly global language.

    Researchers at the IULM University in Milan have noted that, over 50 years, Italian syntax has shifted towards English patterns, for instance in the use of possessives instead of reflexives to indicate body parts and the frequency with which adjectives are placed before nouns.

    German has also been adopting English grammatical forms, while in Swedish its influence has been changing the rules governing word formation and phonology.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Europe

    In Italy’s legal Roma camps almost no one pays municipal taxes

    RomeThe complaint of the councilor of the League, Silvia Sardone was made public: "It is the umpteenth shame for a left that continues to be mocked by the nomads."

    NGO rescue vessel Alan Kurdi entered Italy by evading controls

    The ship of the German NGO has been in Italian waters since late afternoon on Tuesday, well before Rome's authorization arrived to give the vessel the green light.

    Brussels launches new struggle against ‘Afrophobia’

    BrusselsThe EU watchdogs have a new favorite enemy: the perpetrators of "Afrophobia". The notion has been at the basis of a resolution adopted by the European Parliament in March in order to afford privileged protection to the "fundamental rights of people of African descent in Europe".

    NATO needs a billion dollars to keep AWACS in the air

    BrusselsIt was NATO secretary Jens Stoltenberg himself who reported that a billion dollars would be needed to extend the operational life of the AWACS. AWACS is the acronym for the US Airborne Warning and Control System, an airborne alarm and control system.

    London Bridge: one of ‘heroes’ a murderer, victim pro-immigration

    LondonConsidered a "hero" by the media, James Ford strangled and killed 21-year-old Amanda Champion in 2004: her body was found near her home in Kent, in the UK.

    Terror returns to Europe

    The HagueFear has returned to the continent. A terrorist killed 2 people in London and another wounded 3 others in The Hague.

    Italian Appeal Court agrees with Salvini: ‘NGOs should land in their countries’

    RomeThe Italian Appeal Court has annihilated the theses of left-wing magistrates that NGOs rescuing migrants at sea have the right to land anywhere in the EU.

    Farmers invade Berlin: ‘We farm for you!’

    BerlinStretching from the Heerstraße to the Victory Column to the Brandenburg Gate, on Tuesday a long column of tractors invaded Berlin, while parts of Berlin's traffic were paralyzed.

    Belgorod: Russia’s submarine is making waves

    St PetersburgOn April 23, 2019, a ceremony was held at the arsenal of Severodvinsk, the Russian naval base on the White Sea in the Archangel Oblast, for the new nuclear-powered submarine destined for special missions.

    Childminders reject toddler because the parents support the AfD

    In a case from Königs Wusterhausen in Brandenburg, Germany, two childminders rejected a toddler because the parents are AfD supporters.

    Go to archive