The European Union and Less-Used Languages

01-07-2002

In many parts of the European Union there are indigenous groups who speak a language different to that of the majority of the population of the state. It is estimated that nearly 40 million citizens of the Union regularly use a regional or minority language that has been passed on from generation to generation. The study is divided into two parts. Part one describes the initiatives taken at EU level to support regional and minority languages over the last ten years as well as an evaluation of the projects funded by the EU. It also discusses which Articles in the Treaty can provide a legal basis for Community actions in this area following the ECJ judgement of 12 May 1998. Finally, it puts forward conclusions and recommendations concerning improvements. Part two contains a brief analysis of the present state of the minority language communities in the following seven of the EU Member States: Greece, Spain, Finland, France, Ireland, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom.

In many parts of the European Union there are indigenous groups who speak a language different to that of the majority of the population of the state. It is estimated that nearly 40 million citizens of the Union regularly use a regional or minority language that has been passed on from generation to generation. The study is divided into two parts. Part one describes the initiatives taken at EU level to support regional and minority languages over the last ten years as well as an evaluation of the projects funded by the EU. It also discusses which Articles in the Treaty can provide a legal basis for Community actions in this area following the ECJ judgement of 12 May 1998. Finally, it puts forward conclusions and recommendations concerning improvements. Part two contains a brief analysis of the present state of the minority language communities in the following seven of the EU Member States: Greece, Spain, Finland, France, Ireland, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom.

Autor externo

Joan Becat, Dimitris Christopoulos, Jarmo Lainio, Marc Leprêtre, Peter Nelde, Padraig O Riagain, Antoni Strubell, Constantinos Tsitselikis, Jaume Vernet, Sergi Vilaró, Aina Villalonga, Nico Weber, Peter Weber and Glyn Williams (CIEMEN - Centre Internacional Escarré per a les Minories Ètniques i les Nacions)