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HomeLanguage NewsnewsCould French Prevail in Europe?

Could French Prevail in Europe?

This article appeared in Language Magazine's January 2022 issue.

France’s European affairs minister Clément Beaune is taking advantage of France’s presidency of the European Union’s (EU’s) Council for the first time since Brexit by trying to make French its leading language.

Beaune called it a “scandal” that French is not more widely spoken in the bloc and reaffirmed France’s call for French to become a more prominent language throughout the EU.

A motion has been introduced to provide more language classes to EU diplomats and members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in order to emphasize French’s importance in the union, according to Beaune, who told France Inter: “French must find a place in Brussels. However, it should not be done in a traditional manner. I had a lot of conversations with MEPs and diplomats about it. We came up with a very concrete proposal with Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, my Francophonie colleague. For example, starting January 1, we will train many more elected officials from all over Europe, European diplomats, and European officials in French. I’m sick of saying, ‘Friends, the document isn’t published in French,’ it’s a scandal.

“We need to push ourselves even more. We must entice people to learn French, return culture, and educate young people in the language,” Beaune continued.

With France assuming the rotating presidency of the European Union’s Council for the first half of 2022, a diplomat revealed plans to replace English as the bloc’s official “working language.”

Apparently, all Council meetings will be held in French, according to the unnamed diplomat, with notes and minutes being written in French first. “We will always ask the Commission to send us the letters it wishes to address to the French authorities in French, and if they do not, we will wait for the French version,” they added.

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