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European Commission

Press release

Limassol/Brussels, 27 September 2012

Multilingualism in Europe: Commissioner Vassiliou presents European Language Label awards

Five projects which have shown outstanding performance in promoting the teaching and learning of languages were honoured today at the first 'European Language Label of the Labels Awards'. The winning initiatives (see details below) are based in Belgium, Italy, Lithuania, Norway and Romania. The awards were presented to representatives of the projects by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, at the 'Multilingualism in Europe' conference in Limassol, Cyprus, which is one of nearly 500 events taking place across Europe to mark the European Day of Languages.

The 32 countries participating in the EU's Lifelong Learning Programme (27 EU Member States, 4 EEA/EFTA countries and Turkey) were invited to nominate their best national language learning project for the awards. A specialist jury, chaired by Miguel Angel Martinez, Vice-President of the European Parliament, then selected the best five projects based on their European dimension and impact in terms of improving the language skills of the target group.

Commissioner Vassiliou said: "My warmest congratulations go to the winners and to all the excellent projects which were nominated. The jury had a difficult choice picking the overall winners because of the very high quality of the projects put forward. The European Language Label showcases many wonderful initiatives that offer people of all ages the opportunity to embrace the challenge of learning different languages and absorbing different cultures. In the past decade more than 1 500 projects have joined the initiative, which shows just how much the ELL has contributed to multilingualism."

Winning projects

EuroCatering Language Training (Belgium, French and Dutch-speaking communities): Aimed at trainees, students and workers in the hotel and catering industry, this project seeks to improve their oral language skills in 7 European languages (English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Norwegian, Slovenian and Galician). It links language skills to professional needs and is supported by the Commission's Leonardo Da Vinci vocational education and training programme. The objective is to extend the scheme to other European languages this year.

CMC_E Communicating in Multilingual Contexts meets the Enterprise (Italy): This project covers 6 European languages (English, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Portuguese and Slovak) and aims to develop high-level language skills in a professional context. It has had a wide impact all over Europe thanks to successful cooperation between European universities and businesses.

Learning by moving (Lithuania): Covering 9 languages (Lithuanian, German, English, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Turkish and Maltese), this project focuses on language learning between neighbouring countries. Its target audience included students, pensioners, tourists, unemployed people, immigrants, workers.

My language – your language (Norway): This project is chiefly aimed at children in pre-primary, primary and secondary school. It is based on the belief that knowledge of both your own and other languages enables people to contribute more to society and to diversity. It combines language learning with cultural activities such as exhibitions.

EuroIntegrELP (Romania): Covering 15 European languages (EN, FR, DE, EE, EL, ES, EUSK, SK, HR, IT, LT, NL, PL, RO, RU), this project involves nearly all educational sectors and has a wide target group including students, teachers, workers and unemployed people.

Background

The European Label of the Labels Awards were organised to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the 2002 Barcelona Summit where heads of state and government called for the teaching of two foreign languages from a very early age and for the development of a linguistic competence indicator to measure progress in language learning.

Multilingualism is at the heart of the European Language Label initiative, which started out as a pilot project in 1998-99 and developed into a Europe-wide initiative in 2001.

Each of the 31 nominated projects received a commemorative plate and are featured in a special booklet ('European Language Label – Empowering People') published to celebrate the awards. Sweden was the only participating country not to nominate a project.

The projects were assessed according to their European dimension and impact. The European dimension criterion is reflected in the linguistic diversity of the winning schemes and on how language learning contributes to improving understanding of other cultures. The impact refers to the outcome of the project, innovative character, enhancement of foreign language skills, size of target group and increasing number of users.

For more information

European Language Label: European Language Label (see also Label database) 

European Day of Languages: IP/12/1005 and MEMO/12/703

Androulla Vassiliou's website

Follow Androulla Vassiliou on Twitter @VassiliouEU

Contacts :

Dennis Abbott (+32 2 295 92 58); Twitter: @DennisAbbott

Dina Avraam (+32 2 295 96 67)


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