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Why languages matter: European and national perspectives on multilingualism

European Day of Languages Conference

Date & Venue

25-26/09/2014, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Italy


The first European Day of Languages took place on 26 September 2001, one of the highlights of the European Year of Languages. For a number of years, a recurring feature of the European Day of Languages has been a major conference organised by the European Commission under the auspices of the Presidency of the European Union.

The aim of this year’s event was to highlight the importance of promoting multilingualism in a multilingual and multicultural Europe. 


The conference focused on the current priorities in the field of language learning, establish links between the necessity to develop language competences and the main policy initiatives of the Directorate-General for Education and Culture.

Several topics linked to multilingualism that takes into account the national and European dimensions, as well as language skills and competences in educational contexts and in the professional world were also on the agenda.

The conference was as well an occasion to have the first public demonstration of the online linguistic service to support mobility activities under Erasmus+ programme


The almost 300 delegates and speakers examined the question "Why languages matter" and responses were manifold, covering a wide array of subjects.

Captivating speeches and the ensuing exchanges of views unanimously confirmed the importance of foreign language knowledge. Contributions focused on the European dimension of language competences, examples of national policy initiatives, the latest developments in language teaching and learning, the relevance of language knowledge for the labour market and future jobs in the language industry.

A recurring issue in the panel discussions was the influence of "New European languages", spoken by millions of immigrants and changing the parameters of language teaching in classrooms across Europe.

Last but not least a novel feature of the Erasmus+ programme was revealed: the Online Linguistic Support. This new service offer online language assessment and language courses free of charge to participants in long-term mobilities in six languages.

Scroll down for pictures from the Conference, you can as well find a selection of interventions, presentations and pictures on the Conference website.