France - resolution on language diversity in the European Union
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Considering Article 88-4 of the Constitution
Considering the preliminary draft budget of the European Communities for the financial year 2004, General introduction (No E2275 Annex 1),
Considering the draft Council regulation amending the status of European Community agents and the conditions of employment of other agents of the Communities (COM  213 final/no E2024)
Considering the draft European Parliament and Council decision for a multi-annual programme (2004-2006) for effective use of information and communication technology (ICT) in Europe’s educational and training systems (eLearning Programme) (COM  751 final/No E2182)
1. States its support for language and cultural diversity inherent in the accession of ten new members.
I – Language reform of the European Institutions
2. Confirms the right of every national representative to express him or herself, whatever the circumstances, in his/her mother tongue and therefore believes that the system of full interpretation should be maintained at the European Council and during EU ministerial meetings.
3. Believes that the language arrangements at CFSC (Eng/Fr) and COREPER (Eng/Fr/Ger) should be formalised, because they are based on established and accepted practice
4. Opposes any increase in the number of meetings held without interpretation, as it would promote the use of a single language, which is contrary to Europe’s principle of multilingualism
5. Recommends that any compromise on the language arrangements for meetings of Council working groups, other than COREPER or CSFP, be based on the principles of language pluralism, flexible management and fair division of the financial costs; it believes that any market-based system could only work if these conditions are met.
6. Calls for a trial and assessment of the asymmetric system, which allows all participants to speak their own language with interpretation into a restricted number of working languages, with a view to generalised use of the system if agreement can be reached.
7. Suggests harmonisation of the language arrangements in EU agencies and community organisations, based on a restricted number of working languages.
II – Attacks on the principle of multilingualism within the EU
8. Recalls that publication of tenders and vacancy announcements in English only should be banned because it runs counter to the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of language, in the belief that as a bare minimum these publications should be produced in a restricted number of official languages.
9. Calls for systematic reporting whenever EU institutions breach their language obligations.
10. Proposes that the websites of EU institutions and bodies be subject to a “language charter” banning the placing on line of information in a single language, as is currently the case of the website of the European Central Bank.
III – Policy to promote French within European institutions
11. Maintains that promotion of the French language requires French civil servants to use only French when abroad, as set out in the Prime Minister’s circular of 14 February 2003 on the use of French
12. Believes that the promotion of French in European institutions will require better coordination between the appropriate branches of government working on an inter-departmental basis, and would like reform of the foreign ministry to promote possible synergies.
13. Welcomes the training in French given to officials from member states and accession states, which needs encouragement and financial support. To this end, the establishment in Strasbourg of a centre for preparing the EU competitive examination, now extended to cover professional development for European officials, should be analysed by the steering committee charged with designing a long-term strategy to promote Strasbourg as a European capital city.
14. Calls on the Assemblée nationale’s committee on EU affairs to report annually on changes in language practice in the European institutions.
IV – Learning foreign languages
15. Recommends that compulsory teaching of two foreign languages become the norm in the enlarged European Union, and that the teaching of the new languages of the EU be promoted in European education systems.
V – Changes in the Staff Regulations of European Officials and organisation of competitive examinations
16. Welcomes the compromise achieved on 19 May 2003 stipulating that officials recruited after the entry into force of the new Staff Regulations should, before promotion from entry grade, provide proof of their fluency in two languages in addition to their mother tongue.
17. Calls on the government to ensure that the terms of the compromise be written into the new Staff Regulations of European officials, which should provide for an objective and transparent procedure to assess language ability.
18. Proposes that the organisation of pre-selection tests in three languages for the recruitment of officials form future member states be extended, for a trial period, to all competitive examinations organised by the European Union
Debated at public session, Paris 6 January 2004
Recommended citation format:AIIC. "France - resolution on language diversity in the European Union". aiic.net March 19, 2004. Accessed January 25, 2020. <http://aiic.net/p/1422>.
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