Tools, portals & partners
It is working with national governments to meet an ambitious goal: enabling citizens to communicate in 2 languages other than their mother tongue. This "Barcelona objective" was agreed in 2002 by the EU's heads of state and government.
The 2008 Communication "Multilingualism - an asset for Europe and a shared commitment" outlines the Commission's activities in this area. Priorities include:
The European Union's aspiration to be united in diversity underpins the whole European project. The harmonious co-existence of many languages in Europe embodies this. Languages can build bridges between people, giving us access to other countries and cultures, and enabling us to understand each other better.
Foreign language skills play an increasingly important in making young people more employable and equipping them for working abroad. They are also a factor in competitiveness; poor language skills cause many companies to lose contracts and hamper workers who might want to seek employment in countries other than their own.
Yet, too many Europeans still leave school without a working knowledge of a second language - reason enough to make language teaching and learning more efficient.
The European Commission responds to these needs by:
taking the actions recommend in the Communication on Rethinking Education and its Staff Working Document “Language competences for employability, mobility and growth”;
basing its policies on hard evidence, making them more effective;
taking part in working groups (including national government experts) on transferable skills with a particular emphasis on language skills.
It supports these activities by:
Finally, the new Erasmus+ programme offers new opportunities for young people to hone their language skills by engaging in learning and training abroad".