Language Use in EU institutions

Skippy   Sun Apr 12, 2009 2:54 am GMT
I'm having trouble finding actual information on the languages used in the day-to-day workings of the European Union. I read somewhere that in one of the columns it's something like split between French and English with a significant minority in German... And I also read that in the ECJ their day-to-day deliberating is in French (although, obviously, depending on those involved, they are guaranteed a right to have a trial in their native language, creatively titled the 'language of the case.'

Anyway, I'm curious, does anyone know more about this or know where I could find this information? I have a book called "Institutions of the European Union," but all it really mentions is the case of the ECJ. Thanks!
CommonAswhole   Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:06 am GMT
Shuimo's advise: the EU should use Chinese, for it's a neutral language from European perspective. I for one am fine with English, but these Romance speakers... Not to mention how much translations cost Europe.

We need one language and I hope it won't be soulless Esperanto.
Proud of EU   Sun Apr 12, 2009 10:24 am GMT
English is the facto the language of communication but luckily US Institutions respect cultural difference and languages are part of it. Of course Europe needs to spend more money on translation but I'm personally very proud of Europe being like this.

Skippy , this text is extracted from wikipedia. I put the interesting part here because the web page is large.
All languages of the EU are also working languages.[4] Documents which a Member State or a person subject to the jurisdiction of a Member State sends to institutions of the Community may be drafted in any one of the official languages selected by the sender. The reply shall be drafted in the same language. Regulations and other documents of general application shall be drafted in the twenty-three official languages. The Official Journal of the European Union shall be published in the twenty-three official languages.
Legislation and documents of major public importance or interest are produced in all twenty-three official languages, but that accounts for a minority of the institutions' work. Other documents (e.g. communications with the national authorities, decisions addressed to particular individuals or entities and correspondence) are translated only into the languages needed. For internal purposes the EU institutions are allowed by law to choose their own language arrangements. The European Commission, for example, conducts its internal business in three languages, English, French and German (sometimes called procedural languages), and goes fully multilingual only for public information and communication purposes. The European Parliament, on the other hand, has Members who need working documents in their own languages, so its document flow is fully multilingual from the outset.[5] Non-institutional EU bodies are not legally obliged to make language arrangement for all the 23 languages (Kik v. OHIM, Case C-361/01, 2003 ECJ I-8283).
According to the EU's English language website,[6] the cost of maintaining the institutions' policy of multilingualism (i.e. the cost of translation and interpretation) was €1123 million in 2005, which is 1% of the annual general budget of the EU, or €2.28 per person per year.

I hope it helps.
Skippy   Sun Apr 12, 2009 6:04 pm GMT
thanks, ya'll. I know EU citizens have a right to documents, court proceedings, etc. in their native languages. But what I'm really thinking about is, if I do a summer program or an internship during law school for a firm that spends significant time in the ECJ or the Hague, how frequently would I be running into German, French, etc?

It's safe to assume that in any case the number of English speakers will abound, but how often would it be more acceptable to speak another language, and what would they be? German, French, Dutch, Spanish, etc?

Thanks again, ya'll, I appreciate the information.
European   Sun Apr 12, 2009 8:15 pm GMT
I have never learnt this "ya'll" at school and it sounds really weird to me...
Guest   Sun Apr 12, 2009 8:54 pm GMT
The working language of all European Institutions should be German as it is the most spoken language in Europe. Using English makes Europe look like a kind of an overseas territory of the US.
ll   Sun Apr 12, 2009 9:10 pm GMT
Well, it doesn't really have to do with the US. It's simply that the UK is the most important and dominant country in Europe, and the fact that the British Empire spread English all over the world, establishing it as the world language. The US also had an important role in spreading English around the world. Because of the British Empire, the UK became the most important country in the EU, because no other countries established as many colonies around the world, that grew up to become major world powers like the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. Not even France or Germany can compete with that.
Spanish   Sun Apr 12, 2009 9:15 pm GMT
It's surprising that Spanish isn't as popular in the EU, as they had a lot of important colonies in Central and South America, as well as Mexico.
Guest   Sun Apr 12, 2009 10:07 pm GMT
Spanish is the 4th most spoken language in Europe behing English, German and French. Considering non native speakers in Europe it is even more spoken than Russian. Spanish not as popular as in America of course, but still it's relatively important in Europe.
saz   Sun Apr 12, 2009 10:35 pm GMT
They speak one language - the language of bureaucracy, idiocy, mindless onanism and inefficiency. Let the EU fall!
Guest   Sun Apr 12, 2009 10:51 pm GMT
That there are 22 official languages in the EU provokes that excess of bureaucracy and inefficiency. Consider the amounts of millions the EU spends into translating documents from one language to another. That Maltese is an official language is a joke.
lasdf   Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:31 pm GMT
They have to do it to give the illusion that the UK is not the most important member of the union
7ym   Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:03 am GMT
They speak one language - the language of bureaucracy, idiocy, mindless onanism and inefficiency. Let the EU fall!

aren't this the USA??!

They have to do it to give the illusion that the UK is not the most important member of the union

In fact it hasn't never been, it isn't and ever less (after this economic crisis) it will never be
no to maltese being offic   Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:38 am GMT
<<They have to do it to give the illusion that the UK is not the most important member of the union >.

The UK may or may not be the most important member, but one thing is certain, Malta definitely is NOT the most important member.
lasdf   Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:56 am GMT
I don't see how anyone could say that the UK is not the most important member, as the British Empire has had more influence over the world than any country in the world.