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In an incredible outburst, French MEP France Jamet, ordered the Commission to drop the “gradual linguistic levelling” in favour of English. Despite English being one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, Ms Jamet pushed for it to be dropped now the UK has left the EU. In a question posed to the Commission on January 18, she claimed the EU had now forgotten French as one of its formal recognised languages.
Ms Jamet said: “Despite the departure of the United Kingdom, English remains the language of the EU, worse, the European institutions are expanding its influence.”
However, the MEP also referenced the European Central Bank’s guidance which makes it common practice to draft documents in English.
Despite the size of the financial districts in both the UK and US, she ordered the Commission to put an end to English’s dominance on EU institutions.
She said: “If the foreign exchange reserve operations only concern an admittedly limited part of the activities of the European bank, the fact remains that Europe thus formalizes a gradual linguistic levelling in favour of English.
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“We will also notice that European texts are translated less and less or more and more late, that interpreters are less available during debates, and that the EU seems to no longer recognize French as one of its official languages.
“Does the Commission intend to uphold the EU’s motto ‘united in diversity’ and finally put an end to an attitude which allows English to take over the functioning of the European institutions in a hegemonic way?”
French politicians have long pushed for the removal of English as the dominant language on the continent.
France’s EU affairs minister, Clement Beaune, reiterate the desire to drop “broken English” from the EU now the UK has left the bloc.
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With EU states so used to communicating in English, Mr Beaune insisted Brussels should rid itself of English.
He said: “It will be harder for people to understand, after Brexit, that we all stick to a type of broken English.
“Let’s get used to speaking our languages again!”
Such is the dominance of the language, some EU institutions have made efforts to improve efficiency by only using English.
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However, there is less demand for English to be dropped as the main language of the EU.
Indeed, the EU Commission has reiterated that both Ireland and Malta list English as their main languages alongside Gaelic and Maltese.
While French officials have lashed out at the use of English, German MEP David McAllister voiced his sadness over the loss of UK MEPs.
He said: “We also miss our British colleagues for their pragmatism, and their humour and rhetoric.
“We are operating in a parliament where a lot of English is spoken, but hardly any native speakers are still here.
“We have our Irish colleagues, we might have a few Maltese colleagues, and then we might have a few colleagues from other countries who like me have a British background.
“But we have a lot of political debates in working groups, in committees, in the plenary, speaking English but without the speakers being native English speakers.
“And that means that certain elements of political speech are just less now common here because the British are no longer there – when it comes to humour, irony, sarcasm, using proverbs or other style elements.
“The British MEPs were always at a huge advantage in an open debate because they simply have a better command of the English language.”
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.
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