Buried within the depths of numbers and graphs in the proposed EU Budget for 2021-27 in very, very small writing, the EU has made a very interesting commitment:
“The withdrawal of the United Kingdom will result in a limited reorientation of some functions within the administration, but the scope of activities will not change…Translation and interpretation services in the English language will also remain unaffected.”
Despite all of his barks and jibes about the English language, Jean-Claude Juncker has had to admit that the English language will have to remain the dominant language even when the UK leaves the European Union.
Last year, Mr Juncker said that the English language was losing its importance in the EU, although he later claimed to be joking, the EU has been threatening to move towards French as the dominant language.
The EU has been viciously spreading rumours that Brexit negotiations would be conducted exclusively in French in order to undermine the British.
The EU has 24 official languages, making 552 combinations of language pairings, allowing each to be translated into 23 others.
Only three, however, are classed as working languages – English, French and German. English has been used more widely used than French since Sweden, Finland and Austria joined the EU in 1995, bringing in more speakers of English as a second language. The dominance of English became entrenched when central and eastern European countries joined in the mid-2000.
France is keen to restore the pre-eminence of its language, but is fighting a constant battle. Its EU ambassador walked out of a meeting last week when officials decided to use an English-only translation of the budget proposal.
Despite all of its bark, the EU clearly has no bite when it comes to this issue. The EU has been unable to deny that English is the global language; it is the dominant language in countries like the United States, Canada and Australia. The idea of replacing English has been to taunt Britain. Juncker however, has been unable to deny that Britain has spread its language across the globe much more effectively than any of the other EU27.
This particular attempt to punish the UK appears to now have been thwarted.