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Polyglot or mono: the Term wars in Brussels

Last updated on October 9, 2019

Events to observe multilingualism day are held across the European Union.

And there are still a lot of folks working in and about the EU institutions that are unhappy about the dominance of English.

On the streets of Brussels, it is possible to talk whatever language you want, although the EU associations here observe the 24 official EU languages, there are lots of French men and women who think their diplomatic language was sidelined.

“There is a mono language regime and it’s Anglophone. Here if you do not speak English, this”international English”, some sort of naturalized English, well then, only, you hardly exist,” comments French journalist Jean Quatremer.

The European Commission claims that the EU is working hard to link everyone through speech.

“I believe 25 percent of our civic team in Brussels are translators and interpreters since each European citizen should have the chance to communicate with us, the European associations, in their native language,” explains Johannes Hahn, Austria’s EU Commissioner.

Despite getting the first language speakers, German is not compulsory for the EU Commission’s spokespeople.

“It is our fault that there is not so much German spoken. Essentially, German officials are too pleased to talk from other languages such as English – they are sort of Polyglot.

European Parliament plenary sessions could be listened to in some of the EU’s 24 official languages, and lots of meetings and media conferences across the EU have simultaneous interpretation.

But forecasts for diversifying from English will only intensify if Britain departs the bloc.