March 10, 2008
According to an article on EurActiv, the Commission’s translation chief, Juhani Lönnroth, considers the multilingual nature of the EU institutions “too politically sensitive” an issue to be dramatically reformed.
The equal treatment of all European languages without any exception is indeed the backbone for a peaceful European society. Each and every attempt to exclude a language on all levels, including the highest levels, or to emphasise the use of particular languages above others bears the germs of the ultimate destruction of the Union, even when these preferences are backed up by so-called neutral facts such as their relative importance.
This is one more “covenient lie”, implying that because all European cultures and by consequence their corresponding languages are to be considered equal something like relative importance simply cannot exist. There is only a different amount of people speaking a particular language. By consequence, people speaking a more widely-spoken language have an advantage when their language dominates or becomes exclusively used in the Union, which is incompatible with the basic equality of European citizens.
Nevertheless, the need for a ‘lingua franca’ is obvious. And it only makes sense when there is only one ‘lingua franca’. Efficiency, cost, and avoiding misinterpretations in translations are some pretty good arguments, among others, to get rid of the present Tower of Babel. In order to comply with the equal treatment such a lingua franca may never ever be one of the languages spoken in the union.
This dilemma can easily be solved by using an artificial language such as Esperanto and by consequence including it in basic education. Some people suggest Latin. Never mind, all ideas are welcome as long as no single language that is currently spoken somewhere is smuggled into the discussion. The advantages are obvious: people only need to speak their mother tongue and the ‘lingua franca’. All European activities, from discussions in the European Parliament up to legal texts, would occur in that ‘lingua franca’. It saves time and money for governments as well as for individuals. The choice to learn other languages becomes free and corresponds to private need or preference.
Whoever can present a better solution is invited to raise his hand.Andreas