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Parliamentary questions
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17 April 2019
Answer given by Mr Oettinger on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-000248/2019

The Commission is not in a position to answer the Honourable Member as regards the rules on gender-neutral language that each European institution could have adopted.

The Commission would like however to draw the Honourable Member’s attention to the Interinstitutional style guide for which the Publications Office of the EU is the lead service. This Guide contains useful recommendations for the staff of all EU institutions as regards the use of gender-neutral forms(1).

As regards more specifically Commission services, several language departments in the Directorate-General for Translation (DGT) have developed language-specific style guides with chapters concerning gender-neutral language(2). The ‘Clear Writing’ campaign run by the editing Unit of DGT also includes useful recommendations on the use of gender-neutral forms.

Concerning the Directorate-General for Interpretation, interpreters, by training, are aware of gender-neutral language standards in their working languages. Nevertheless, their mission is to convey the overall message staying faithful to the content and form of the original speech.

Finally, the Commission would like to reiterate that it strives for the strict application of the principles of equality between men and women and of non-discrimination, including as regards the use of language. To that extent, and while the different EU languages do not always provide to the same extent for a linguistically satisfactory gender-neutral form, the Commission will continue to pay attention to this aspect in the various language versions of its documents, which have equal value.

(2)For example: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/styleguide_english_dgt_en.pdf https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/styleguide_bulgarian_dgt_bg_0.pdf

Last updated: 17 April 2019Legal notice