We are migrating the content of this website during the first semester of 2014 into the new EUR-Lex web-portal. We apologise if some content is out of date before the migration. We will publish all updates and corrections in the new version of the portal.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.
European Year of Languages 2001
The purpose of the European Year of Languages 2001 is to use an awareness and education policy to encourage the people of the European Union to learn several foreign languages.
Decision No 1934/2000/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 July 2000 on the European Year of Languages 2001 [Official Journal L 232 of 14 September 2000].
Specific objectives of the European Year
The European Year has five specific objectives:
- to raise awareness of the wealth of linguistic diversity within the European Union and of its value in terms of civilisation and culture. Linguistic diversity represents not merely a fundamental part of European heritage; it is also central to Europe's future, particularly as the enlargement of the EU draws closer. Embracing it is a prerequisite for constructing a Europe in which all citizens enjoy equal status and equal rights. One of the key messages of the European Year will be that all languages should be equally valued. It is not enough to encourage the learning of languages that are already widespread: for real communication among Europeans, we must truly understand the languages and therefore the culture of others. This latter point is, moreover, one of the objectives of the Culture 2000 programme. It will give tangible content to the notion of European citizenship and will help to stem xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism and intolerance;
- to encourage multilingualism;
- to bring to the notice of the widest possible audience the advantages of proficiency in several languages. Fostering language learning enhances communication among EU citizens. It promotes intercultural understanding. It offers greater personal and professional opportunities and real access to the rights conferred by European citizenship, in particular the right to live and work anywhere in the EU. It makes the European economy more competitive;
- to encourage lifelong learning of languages: Learning languages and related skills, such as translation, interpreting and some technical and office skills, should be a lifelong process. Many of those targeted have in the past had little opportunity to learn foreign languages, irrespective of age, origin, social circumstances or level of schooling;
- to collect and disseminate information about the teaching and learning of languages. This objective aims to identify, for example by means of studies, priority areas for the investment of resources. It also allows the Year to disseminate information on modern and innovative language learning methods and therefore to help to motivate the public. This objective also includes scope for raising awareness of the communication tools, both the technological and the more traditional, which allow people of different mother tongues to communicate with each other.
The European Year of Languages 2001 is focused on two main areas. First, an information and promotional campaign at European level will be organised and funded by the Community budget. Some of the activities within this campaign will be carried out in collaboration with the Council of Europe. Second, a wide range of projects at national and regional level will be partially funded. The Commission and the Member States will work closely together in these two areas in order to make the European Year of Languages a success.
The European information campaign, in which the Commission's representations in the Member States will have an important role, and other activities wholly financed by the Community, will include:
- meetings, awareness-raising events and presentations of the Year at Community level and in the Member States;
- the use of a common logo and slogans jointly with the Council of Europe for all promotional material and projects funded as part of the European Year. Other bodies could also use the logo provided that they share one or more of the Year's objectives;
- a Community-wide information campaign including the creation of an interactive Internet site and the dissemination of information on the projects;
- the production of information material, accessible to everyone, on effective language teaching and learning techniques;
- the organisation of European competitions;
- Community-wide surveys and studies, the topics envisaged being: the situation of languages in Europe, how they are used, taught and learned; what the different target groups expect from the learning of languages; how the Community can cater for these expectations; and an evaluation study on the effectiveness and impact of the Year.
The co-financed projects will in many cases have characteristics in common with the activities of the main information campaign but will be implemented in a single country or group of countries. All other projects which contribute to one or more of the European Year's specific objectives can also be co-financed on condition that they are not eligible for funding under any existing Community programmes.
The programme has a total budget of EUR 12 million and intends to create contacts in the national coordination services.
The importance for European citizens of developing language skills has been underlined both by the European Year of Lifelong Learning and by the Commission's 1995 White Paper on education and training - "Teaching and learning: towards the learning society." The Commission's 1996 Green Paper "Education, Training, Research: the obstacles to transnational mobility" concluded that learning at least two Community languages was essential if European Union citizens were to benefit fully from the opportunities offered by the single market.
|Act||Date of entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States|
|Decision N° 1934/2000/EC||14.09.2000||-|