Language policy


How are we to deal wuth the plurality of languages across Europa?

What kind of proposal can make DIEM25 that allow Europe to grow together instead of parting like Valons/Flamish in Belgium or Spain/Catalonia

Because language is a very important element of the cultural identity as shown in the cases mentioned

I do not find myself in a position as to make a sensible proposal because I feel split in three diffrent national identities (mam, dad and residence)


Expand on what’s done right now. Free language courses, student exchange programs, multilanguage media.
The mentioned regions are not split due to language but economics. That is something all Europe has to deal with - to stop seeing economically weak regions as culturally or socially weak. We need some form of European redistribution to have a socially and culturally strong Europe wherever we go. Languages really are no barrier when the big issues are taken care of.


you have to belong to one of the communities speaking one of the minority languages to really understand the issue, I would like to hear opinions of people belonging to minority languages

you cannot compare “big” languages like English or Spanish with “medium” French, German Polish, Italian, and “small” Catalan, Dutch, Greek, Gaelic, etc…

Which policies should we promote to protect that small languages without hampering the rights of the citizens (both the users and the ones that do not know them)
It makes no sense that you have to speak Gaelic to visit Ireland, but if you live there there must be some compensation mechanisms to encourage the use of the language


First step: When in rome, do as the romans do…


Are you kidding? Catalonia’s rooted in Catalan, not in Spanish, and Flanders are rooted in Flemish Dutch, while Wallonia in French. Saying that it’s due to economics only is merely reductionism.


(Sorry for the length and the ugly links, but apparently I can’t include links here. Dunno why.)

It is not a simple question to be answered. So far, the EU recognizes at least three levels of officiality (*):

  1. 24 official languages;
  2. approx. 60 Regional and Minority Languages;
  3. one special language (Luxembourgish).

Language rights of sign languages and of heritage languages, i.e. languages spoken in families because of recent migrations, are not recognized in any sense by the EU.

There is a trade-off between inclusion and mobility, as it emerges clearly from the results of the EU-7FP Mobility and Inclusion in Multilingual Europe (MIME), in which I was one of the researchers (I am an expert in language policy and planning, or LPP, working at the University of Amsterdam).

I invite you (all) to download at least the Vademecum of the project:

  • mime-project . dot . org/vademecum/

Another very important document is the report of the recent consultation on Multilingualism in the EU made by the European Ombudsman. It is available in 23 official languages. I put the link to the English version, but have a look at your favorite language version:


Personally, I am striving for years for a vertical glocal multilingual policy, which means, that the dictum “2+1” should be interpreted in this way:

  • local level: either the RML and/or the heritage language of the community (also in schools, if enough pupils of the same community are there)
  • national level: in order to be able to actively participate, citizens should know at least one of the national languages of the state where they reside (for instance, in Belgium, either French or Dutch)
  • EU-level: we need a neutral, i.e. non-ethnic language to build up a European demos. This cannot be one of the official languages of the EU because this would be unfair and unjust, as native speakers will have an a-priori advantage. I am in favour of Esperanto as the best suitable candidate (it is not the only candidate).

These are my 5 cents. I do not want to convince anybody here, only to give my share of knowledge and opinion in a topic that I am investigating for many years.



(*) essential reference: