Languages of The European Union

The languages of the European Union are languages used by people within the member states of the European Union. They include the twenty-three official languages of the European Union along with a range of others. The EU asserts that it is in favour of linguistic diversity and currently has a European Commissioner for Multilingualism, Androulla Vassiliou.

In the European Union, language policy is the responsibility of member states and EU does not have a common language policy; European Union institutions play a supporting role in this field, based on the principle of "subsidiarity", they promote a European dimension in the member states' language policies. The EU encourages all its citizens to be multilingual; specifically, it encourages them to be able to speak two languages in addition to their mother tongue. Though the EU has very limited influence in this area as the content of educational systems is the responsibility of individual member states, a number of EU funding programmes actively promote language learning and linguistic diversity.

The most widely spoken mother tongue in the EU is German, while 51% of adults can understand English. All 23 official languages of the EU are accepted as working languages, but in practice only three are used most often: English, French, and German. Of these, English is the most common. French is an official language common to the three cities that are political centres of the Union: Brussels (Belgium), Strasbourg (France) and Luxembourg city (Luxembourg), while Catalan, Galician and Russian are the most widely used non-recognized languages in the EU. In 2005 a French report showed that the use of Esperanto for the international communication would be the more fair and effective.

Read more about Languages Of The European Union:  Official EU Languages, No Official Recognition, Knowledge, Working Languages, Policy

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