After Brexit, English May Be Dropped By European Union

“If you do not have the UK, you do not have English,” said Danuta Hubner, the Polish MEP.

Published28 Jun 2016, 12:29 PM IST
2 min read

The English language may be one of the casualties of Brexit as it emerged that no state other than the UK has registered it as a primary language among the 28 countries within the European Union.

English has been the top choice for European Union (EU) institutions but Britain’s vote to leave the union last week could trigger a ban on its use.

Danuta Hubner, the Polish Member of European Parliament (MEP) who heads the European Parliament’s constitutional affairs committee had this to say:

We have a regulation where every EU country has the right to notify one official language.The Irish have notified Gaelic and the Maltese have notified Maltese, so you have only the UK notifying English.
Danuta Hubner, Polish MEP

Hubner said that although English was the “dominant language” used by the EU civil servants and MEPs, in legal terms “if you do not have the UK, you do not have English”, The Times reported.

Regulations would have to be changed to retain the language, requiring a unanimous vote from the 27 remaining states.

The EU has 24 official languages but for daily business, the European Commission and council of ministers use English, French and German.

Although English is the most popular foreign language in all but five European countries, French politicians have led calls since the Brexit vote for an end to its dominance.

However, the Germans are not so sure.

We have a series of member states that speak English, and English is the world language which we all accept.
Gunther Oettinger, German EU commissioner

EU documents and legal texts are translated into all 24 official languages of the bloc.

If English were to lose that status, Britons would have to do the translation themselves.

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