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Brussels, 20 September 2006

High Level Group on Multilingualism launched by Commissioner Figel’

Today, the European Commission adopted a Decision to establish a High Level Group on Multilingualism. The Group, comprising 11 experts from across Europe, will meet formally for the first time on 3 October 2006. It has been set up in response to the 2005 Communication “A new framework strategy for multilingualism”[1], which called for a high level group to advise the Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Multilingualism on the “development of initiatives, as well as fresh impetus and ideas for a comprehensive approach to multilingualism in the European Union”.

Launching the Group, Commissioner Ján Figel’ said: “Multilingualism is at the heart of the European project. The High Level Group brings together some of the best experts in the field for the benefit of all the languages spoken in the European Union. I have asked the Group to consider a range of themes that fall outside the usual remit of governmental expert groups on languages. These themes include the links between languages and research, languages and the media, languages for business, the use of new technologies for translation and interpretation and strategies to promote language learning”. To conclude: “I am confident that this group will make a significant contribution to the promotion and preservation of Europe’s multilingual heritage”.

In November 2005, the European Commission adopted its first ever Communication on Multilingualism. One of its key proposals was the creation of a high level group of experts on multilingualism. Set up today, the Group includes members who are politically independent and who do not represent the interests of one particular nation or language. Its recommendations will be presented on the European Day of Languages (26 September) in 2007. The Group will meet six times before that date under the chairmanship of Commissioner Figel’; the exact dates and themes of each meeting will be presented on the Europa webpage dedicated to languages (see below).

The members of the High Level Group are:

  • Barbara Cassin (French - Director of Research, Centre National de la Recherce Scientifique, Paris)
  • Abram De Swaan (Dutch - Professor of Sociology, University of Amsterdam)
  • Rita Franceschini (Italian, Professor of Language Science and Linguistics, Rector of the Free University of Bozen - Bolzano)
  • Branislav Hochel (Slovak - Professor of Translation Studies, Comenius University Bratislava)
  • Hanna Komorowska (Polish - Professor of Applied Linguistics and Language Teaching, Warsaw University)
  • Wolfgang Mackiewicz (German - Honorary Professor of English Philology, Freie Universität Berlin)
  • Isabella Moore (British - Director of the National Centre for Languages, CILT)
  • Barbara Moser-Mercer (Austrian - Professor of Conference Interpreting, University of Geneva)
  • Josep Palomero (Spanish - Vice-President of the Academia Valenciana de la Llengua)
  • Ineta Savickienė (Lithuanian - Head of Regional Studies, Vytautas Magnus University)
  • Jaana Sormunen (Finnish - Executive Producer for Modern Languages, YLE)

For more information on the languages in the EU, see:

[1] COM(2005) 596 final / IP/05/1451

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