Multilingualism And The European Union

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MULTILINGUALISM AND LEGAL CERTAINTY IN THE EUROPEAN UNION «Nous ne coalisons pas des Etats, nous unissons des peuples » These words, pronounced by Jean Monnet, one of the founding fathers of the European Union, well summarize the values underlying the Union’s approach towards multilingualism. In the following lines, I will briefly analyse the competing forces that concurred to the introduction of multilingualism in the EU, the main legal issues that it creates in terms of legal certainty and how the CJEU seems to be approaching them. SOME HISTORY The Union’s approach to multilingualism is strictly linked to its political transformation from a purely economic entity (ECCS) to a peculiar “new legal order” , which finds its legitimacy in…show more content…
Council Regulation 1/58, which significantly was the first act of the EEC, recognizes today 23 official and working languages of the Union. “UNITED IN DIVERSITY” EU multilingualism constitutes the result of historical and political tensions. As the Union’s legal system as a whole, it reflects a compromise between the Member States’ will to both protect their sovereignty and national identity and to enhance their cooperation . On the one hand, language, as an expression of sovereignty, represents a symbolic affirmation of power that Member States have traditionally been reluctant to give up . On the other hand, the EU represents a “reaction” to the negation of rights of the II WW, which inter alia lead to the strong affirmation of national languages over the foreign and minority ones . This is why the Treaties embedded almost from the outset those individual linguistic rights recognized only a few years earlier by Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In this sense, the Union’s multilingualism can be seen both negatively, as preservation of the national identities of its Member States, and positively, as one of its most ambitious democratic goals. LEGAL ISSUES OF EUROPEAN MULTILINGUALISM EU multilingualism creates however a number of legal issues. Firstly, having more than one “official language” inevitably leads to incoherencies between the different versions of the same legal
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