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Language and democracy, language and power, language and identity

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GEM+ wanted to respond to the article published by Politico on 27 February 2021, “Brexit means … Euro-English?”. Here it is.

Madam, Sir,

We represent GEM+ (for Governance, for Europe and for Multilingualism), a non-profit organisation whose purpose is to take action to promote multilingualism in the European institutions and their environment.

We refer to your article published in Politico on February 27 entitled “Brexit means … Euro-English?”

In a nutshell, this article exposes two different points of view regarding the way English, as an alleged standard second language in the EU, should develop in the EU since the departure of the UK. Some believe that the EU should actively promote Euro English, some others British English. In the article, one of the supporters of British English points out that this is also a question of power and democracy because the European citizen wants to, can and does speak in English.. You then point out that “….English has become the lingua franca of civil servants’ meetings”. Finally, you have brushed aside the question of multilingualism by mentioning a linguist who said that “multilingualism” is not practical to communicate across the continent.

So, let us react on these statements which, in our view, do not raise the fundamental questions that underpin the future of languages in the EU, as they touch upon very important notions: democracy, power and (implicitly) identity.

Language and democracy