Promoting multilingualism - A shared commitment: extracts from the joint press briefing by Commissioner Leonard ORBAN and Milan ZVER, Slovenian Minister of Education, and family picture with the participating ministers
Type: Press conference
Lieu: Brussels, Belgium - EC/Berlaymont
End production: 15/02/2008 First transmission: 15/02/2008
On the initiative of Commissioner Leonard Orban and the Slovenian presidency, the Ministers of Education of the EU Member States meet today for a Ministerial Conference on "Promoting Multilingualism: a shared commitment". It was the first meeting ever on this topic at this ministerial level and they discussed the proposal on developing the idea of introducing a "personal adoptive language", a language that should be studied as if it was the mother tongue.
Commissioner Orban explained that the idea was welcomed by some member states but also criticized by other that qualified it as an utopia.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||General view of the press conference room: arrivals
||SOUNDBITE (English) Milan Zver, Slovenian Minister of Education: As you know, the European Union is based on the cultural diversity and multiculturalism. And we are here to improve the competences in the framework of schools, but not only in the former school system, we have to develop also teaching and learning foreign languages on the framework of life long learning.
||Cutaway journalists attending the press conference
||SOUNDBITE (English) Leonard Orban, EC Member in charge Multilingualism: What they are proposing is to have, beyond the mother tongue, to have a language, to learn a language, to master a language of international communication which is called "personal adoptive language" that can be seen more than a foreign language which should be learned as a second mother tongue. It should be seen as a language that should be learnt not only studying the grammar rules but knowing a lot about the culture, the literature, the history of the communities, the countries where the language is spoken.
||SOUNDBITE (English) Leonar Orban: The question of languages is a very sensitive subject. The multilingualism policy is a very political portfolio. I saw so many examples of good practices but also I see languages that are used as weapons. And from this point of view, we decided to discuss with all the member states but also all the stakeholders, the European Institutions, to see what is their reaction, what are their opinions. Today there were very diverse opinions: there were representatives not being very enthusiastic about this, but on the other hand there were many representatives from the member states welcoming their proposals.
||Cutaway (4 shots)
||Group photo of ministers and other representatives participating at the ministerial meeting on multilingualism (4 shots)