Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament 1999 - 2019

The language of reform in the European Union

The Guardian - October 19th 2007


I have long been an advocate of reform of the European parliament's hugely expensive and increasingly unsustainable interpretation and translation policy (Never mind the treaty squabbles, Europe's real problem is Babel, October 18). The fact is that English, much to the chagrin of the French, has become the language of choice now in Brussels.

Further enlargement of the EU will cause yet more increases in costs and bureaucracy. I caused a lot of upset to Croatian nationalists recently when in a speech I called for Croatian, Serbian, Montenegrin and Bosnian all to be considered the same language if and when they become EU member states. I pointed out that the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia manages to use one synthetic language for these countries.

If the UN, with 192 member states, manages with six working languages, surely the EU does not need 23 languages for 27 countries. Diversity is all very well, but pandering to language nationalists and wasting lots of taxpayers' money is not a sensible policy.

Charles Tannock MEP
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