Germany: On April 26, 2013, German President Joachim Gauck stated that English should be designated the one and only official language of the European Union (EU), as opposed to the current situation wherein German, French, and English are considered the three official procedural languages of the EU. The reasons supporting this measure would be engendering a sense of commonality and communion, while fomenting language learning at the same time. The statement was part of a speech the President gave in Germany, which was televised across the country. Joachim Gauck spent the rest of the hour pledging for a strengthened Europe and communication between its members.
Joachim Gauck’s words were cheered and celebrated by his audience, who found it easy to support a cause that could lead to the European Union saving much needed money in times of economic crisis. The German President stated that both mother tongues and the English language can coexist, the former for the sake of poetry and the latter as a workable language for every life situation.
European Union and its Languages
German, French, and English are the three procedural languages chosen by the European Union. However, as from July 1, 2013, when Croatia joins the other European States, there will be 24 languages spoken by member states within the European Union. The number of translators needed has grown from approximately 250 to 2500 in recent years as a result of this language diversity, which already makes the choice of the three main languages a questionable one. In practice, German and French use is decreasing considerably as translation spending gets reduced, mainly due to severe budget constraints in today’s European Union. Documents are now being translated into the languages which are considered relevant to the topic or cause, and not into the official languages for no particular reason.
Against the Measure
Those against the measure assert that imposing the English language would mean an imposition of Anglo-Saxon notions about politics and economy as well. They are afraid of the consequences it could have in the European Union and its policies. Moreover, many think that language imposition is very far from the democratic spirit that the EU should have and would achieve the opposite of what is expected: divergence and conflict instead of unity.