Sacre bleu! French plot uses Brexit to remove English from EU’s working languages
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Almost 40 French politicians are backing the plans which argue that the UK leaving the bloc now means that English is no longer the bloc’s official lingua franca. During much of the EU’s history French was the dominant language in the corridors of power.
But after the UK joined the European Economic Community in 1973 this was challenged.
This shift was accelerated by the accession of Eastern European countries to the bloc in 2004 as English was a second language amongst large sections of these countries’ populations.
Currently English, French and German are the EU’s three official languages.
English or French tend to be preferred in meetings or press conferences.
Julien Aubert, a member of France’s Republicans party, has tabled a resolution for the French committee on European affairs.
It said: “The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union is a unique opportunity to reverse this trend.
“Once the United Kingdom has left the European Union, there is no longer any reason why the institutions of the Union should be so imbued with Anglo-Saxon culture.”
Mr Aubert told the Telegraph: “English is now the mother tongue of just one percent of the population of the EU, while French is the second language of many members and is the most-practised foreign language, after English.”
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The politician must now convince the committee to take up the resolution.
Even if he is successful, French President Emmanuel Macron would have to back it.
Then he would need to convince the 26 other EU leaders to support the bid – a highly unlikely task considering that German is the other official language.
The resolution admits that there are more German native speakers in the EU than French.
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However it claims that French has a greater international profile.
Currently most EU documents are translated into each of the 24 official languages of the bloc.
But the French have a reputation for guarding their language, even though it is the main one spoken in the European Court of Justice.
Ireland and Malta are the two remaining EU countries which have English as an official language.
“Brussels-English” is used around the EU institutions in the Belgian capital more often than French.
Mr Aubert’s previous outbursts including one in 2018 which said that anyone wishing to take French nationality should be forced to take a French first name from the Christian saints or the country’s historical heroes.
It said that only then would applicants, including British people wanting French nationality after Brexit, be given a passport.
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