Brussels, 11 July 2008
The Business Forum for multilingualism, set up in 2007 to explore how language skills can have an impact on trade and jobs in the European Union, delivered its report to Commissioner Orban today. The report gives a clear overview of what needs to be done to help companies gain access to new markets and new business opportunities in the globalised world. It is based on research reports, case studies, interviews and personal experiences of members of the Forum, chaired by Viscount Etienne Davignon, Belgian Minister of State and former Vice-President of the European Commission.
Multilingualism Commissioner Leonard Orban stated: “This Business Forum report makes the case for multilingualism in European companies, proving how linguistic diversity and investing in language and intercultural skills can be turned into a real asset for prosperity and a benefit for all. Its conclusions and recommendations are an excellent contribution to the new strategic Communication on multilingualism, which I intend to present in September this year. They are also clearly in tune with the objectives established in the Lisbon strategy for more growth and jobs.”
Vice President Günter Verheugen, Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, endorsed the report, saying: "Investing in language skills and managing diversity will be crucial for the European society to fully benefit from the globalised world. Diverse language skills allow for communication, for understanding and for finding new solutions. It is high time, that education and professional training takes account of these needs and offer everybody a broad range of skills. More than ever our society needs the active promotion of intercultural exchange and cross border cooperation."
The following main points emerge from the Business Forum report:
Prominent business representatives in the Forum include:
The complete report together with the executive summary is available at:
For more information on the languages in the EU, see: