What is the EU's role?

Member States shape their own education policies. The European Commission works with Member States and stakeholders, in line with the principle of subsidiarity, to ensure that objectives are shared, and assists them in their efforts, notably by encouraging the sharing of good practices. In the field of language teaching and learning, the role of the Commission is to coordinate efforts with national governments to pursue the objectives of the language strategy.

Why is it needed?

Foreign languages are essential to ensuring that European citizens can move, work, and learn freely throughout Europe. This will help boost jobs and growth, reducing unemployment and increasing living standards.

It is also essential to ensure that languages are not a barrier to participation in society, and that marginalised language groups can be identified, represented, and included in society.

What has been done so far?

Within the scope of the strategic framework for cooperation on education and training 2020 (ET 2020), the Commission has been working with Member States in two consecutive working groups on languages. The first group focused on how to improve the provision of multilingual communication skills for the labour market.

The second group on languages in education and training carried out a comparative analysis of language teaching and learning in the Member States as well as reports on methods to improve the efficiency of language teaching.

The Commission also supports these aims through the activities of Erasmus+ and publishes relevant information material, good practices and resources for language teachers through the School Education Gateway.

What are the next steps?

The Commission and EU countries will work together on the implementation of the strategy to improve language teaching and learning in the EU. This will involve further cooperation within the ET 2020 Working Groups, dissemination of the most recent reports on language education and linguistic diversity in schools and implementation of the linguistic components of the review of the Key Competence Framework.

Other policy priorities include:

  • Improving the relevance and comparability of testing and assessment
  • Making schools socially more inclusive by acknowledging migrant languages
  • Supporting and developing the skills of language teachers and language skills of other teachers
  • Increasing the efficiency of teaching through the Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)
  • Encouraging Computer Aided Language Learning (CALL) and the development of multilingual open educational resources
  • Embedding foreign language education in general skills strategies, such as the European Area for Skills and Qualifications and the implementation of Opening up Education.