Tools, portals & partners
The European Commission is committed to promote language learning and linguistic diversity across Europe as part of its aim to "improve the mastery of basic language skills in Europe",.
Within this context, the Commission is working with Members States towards the objective of enabling citizens to communicate in two languages in addition to their mother tongue. This goal was agreed between the EU’s heads of State and Government during a meeting in Barcelona in 2002, it is therefore often referred to as the “Barcelona objective”.
The over-arching activities of the Directorate General for Education and Culture in the field of languages is outlined in more detail in the 2008 Communication "Multilingualism - an asset for Europe and a shared commitment".
Priorities in field of languages include several important objectives:
The harmonious co-existence of many languages in Europe is a powerful symbol of the European Union's aspiration to be united in diversity, one of the cornerstones of the European project. Languages can serve as a bridge to other people and open access to other countries and cultures, promoting mutual understanding.
The ability to speak foreign languages is increasingly important to increase the employability and mobility of young people and is a factor in competitiveness. Poor language skills cause many companies to lose contracts and are a major obstacle to free movement of workers.
Yet too many Europeans still leave school lacking a working knowledge of a second language. This is why the efficiency of language teaching and learning must be improved.
The Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC) responds to these needs through three main activities:
Follow-up of the Communication “Rethinking Education – investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes” and its Staff Working Document “Language competences for employability, mobility and growth”;
Evidence-based policy-making to increase the effectiveness of policies;
Working groups with Member State governmental experts on transversal skills in general and language skills in particular.
In addition to this, DG EAC supports these activities through:
In addition, the new Erasmus+ programme will provide young people with the opportunities improve their language skills through learning and training abroad".