Multilingualism is a key element in European Integration

Mon 13 Aug 2012 01:20:00 PM EEST

The civil society platform form the promotion of multilingualism held its latest General Assembly in the end of June 2012 in Brussels with a renewed spirit to continue its efforts to promote multilingualism in Europe as one of the key elements to foster European Integration and contributing to the promotion of intercultural dialogue, mutual understanding, cultural diversity, but also mobility, employment and economic growth in Europe.

The meeting was chaired by Uwe Mohr, President of the Platform, and Belen Bernaldo de Quiros, Head of the Unit of Multilingualism at the DG EAC of the European Commission. They both highlighted the strategic developments in multilingualism policy and the Council conclusions on language competences to enhance mobility. The European Commission also presented the results of the latest Eurobarometer 2012 on Europeans and their Languages published a few days before, as well as the results of the European Survey on language competencies. The participants in the meeting, representing 23 organizations working at European level on the promotion of multilingualism in Europe and representing all UE countries, had also the opportunity to debate and dialogue about the future role of the Civil Society Platform in the new political and economic context, and discussed about new objectives and working methods to achieve its goal. During the meeting good practices were presented by the Goethe-Institut in the field of Professional Mobility Language Learning, and by the Instituto Cervantes in the area of Online Language Learning/project AVE (Virtual Spanish Classroom). Miguel Martin, from the European Academy of Yuste Foundation, one of the members of the Platform, launched a debate about how to create an effective structure dialogue within the Platform and with the EU Institutions to raise the importance of multilingualism in the political agenda.

In this sense, the Platform will continue to promote multilingualism and policy developments within the European Union in a way that aligns with the new challenges and priorities that the European Commission has outlined for the coming years, especially with regard to the upcoming Erasmus for All programme that will come into effect in 2014. At the same time it will emphasize and advertise the acquisition of languages for professional growth and mobility for a more dynamic and competitive Europe, and will reveal avenues for stakeholders to collaborate and get involved at the EU policy level for a more effective promotion and development of EU-wide multilingualism policy;

In order to achieve its goals the Platform will address the following themes, during the following two years:

  • Innovative ways and methodologies to promote the acquisition of language competences with a view to achieving the Barcelona objective of "mother tongue plus two" for every citizen.
  • Extend the work achieved on early language learning to other levels of education with special regard for the vocational education and training (VET) and adult learning fields.
  • Removal of linguistic barriers to mobility particularly for disadvantaged groups
  • Consolidation of the collection of data on migrants' linguistic integration and social inclusion;
  • Exchange information on accessible language learning resources
  • Explore how to best make full use of the new Erasmus for All programme for education, training, multilingualism and youth 2014-2020 as well as of the European tools for education and training.
  • Get expert input on partnerships, experimentation and new approaches to language teaching and learning with a view to the upcoming Erasmus for All programme, involving universities, research centres, cultural and language Institutes, the language industry and other interested parties;
  • Expand opportunities available for social and professional mobility through language acquisition, in line with the Commission's own strategies and goals for growth;
  • Explore the possibility of exploiting the full potential of the involved parties by putting forward a proposal for a language knowledge alliance.

List of platform members:

  • EEE-YFU-Youth For Understanding
  • Federation of European Publishers
  • RECIT-Réseau européen des centres internationaux de traduction littéraire
  • Culturelink Network´
  • Literature Across Frontiers
  • FIL - European Federation for Intercultural Learning
  • CEATL-Conseil européen des associations de traducteurs littéraires
  • CMFE Community Media Forum Europe
  • FAEY-Fundación Academia Europea de Yuste
  • FUEV-Föderalistische Union Europäischer Volksgruppen
  • EAEA-European Association for the Education of Adults
  • CEPI-European Coordination of Independent Producers
  • European Theatre Convention
  • "EBLUL - Eurolang Brussels"
  • ECA-European Council of Artists
  • ALTE - European Projects Officer
  • EEU -Eŭropa Esperanto-Unio
  • European Association for Terminology
  • The European Forum for Vocational Education and Training (EfVET)
  • EUNIC Brussels aisbl
  • Mercator Network of Language Diversity Centres
  • ECSWE-European Council For Steiner Waldorf Education
  • EFNIL - European Federation of National Institutions for Language

Text: Goethe Institut Brussels