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September – the month of multilingualism

In line with what Multilingualism Commissioner, Leonard Orban says about linguistic diversity, i.e. that the "harmonious co-existence of many languages in Europe is a powerful symbol of the European Union’s aspiration to be united in diversity”, the European Commission adopted on 18 September a communication entitled “Multilingualism: an asset for Europe and a shared commitment”. The element of novelty of the current policy document is the approach of multilingualism in the wider context of social cohesion and economic prosperity, militating for the inclusion of multilingualism across a wider range of EU policy areas.
The main objective of this communication is to “raise awareness of the value and opportunities of the EU’s linguistic diversity and encourage the removal of barriers to intercultural dialogue”. The policy document invites member states and the European institutions to collaborate in encouraging and assisting European citizens to acquire language skills, integrating also the Barcelona objective, which calls for European citizens to speak two languages in addition to their mother tongue. Furthermore, the communication enumerates the responsibilities of both the Commission and the member states in reaching the common objective. However, no additional funds will be released to support the EU language policy until 2013.

September turned to be the EU month of languages, as in addition to the multilingualism communication, linguistic diversity in Europe was celebrated on 26 September – the eight European Day of Languages.

European Commission