France: Clement Beaune discusses ‘test for Europe’
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The Canadian Prime Minister is expected to soon amend the Official Languages Act, which has proclaimed English and French as the official languages of the Canadian federal state since 1969, an anonymous government source revealed to La Presse.
The news was welcomed by Generation Frexit campaigners, who believe France’s membership in the EU is jeopardising the use of the French language both in France and across the bloc.
They wrote: “The French language will soon be the only officially recognised language in Quebec.
“We welcome this, especially at a time when the EU is pushing Europe towards the generalisation of a ridiculous and unnatural Globish.
“Long live the Francophonie!
“Let’s take back control.”
The idea the EU should adopt French as its official language does not only lie with those who believe France should leave the EU altogether.
French President Emmanuel Macron and his closest ally Clement Beaune are also urging Brussels to drop English ahead of France’s Presidency of the Council.
The EU has a total of 23 different languages even though there are 27 different member states.
This is because the likes of Germany and Austria, or Belgium and France, all speak the same language.
However, across the bloc there are three working languages: English, French and German.
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Britain’s departure from the EU is seen as an opportunity to promote French, the language which was once widespread across the continent.
However, over time it has been completely replaced by English, the main “lingua franca” around the world.
Now, Mr Macron’s government will demand that all official documents and meetings should be held in French.
A senior French diplomat told Politco: “Even if we admit that English is a working language and is commonly practiced, the basis for expressing oneself in French remains fully in play in EU institutions.
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“We must enrich it, and make it live again so that the French language truly regains ground, and above that, the taste and pride of multilingualism.
“There will be more visibility with the French presidency, so we will intensify our work.”
The EU’s working language is the main language in which all official documents are translated.
Currently, all documents are translated into French, English and German and can be translated into one of the others if requested.
Mr Macron’s government wants all notes and minutes to be “first in French” and the Council – the body which represents the governments – will want all letters from the Commission to be in French.
The diplomat added: “We want rules to be respected.
“Thus, we will always ask the Commission to send us in French the letters it wishes to address to the French authorities, and if they fail to do so, we will wait for the French version before sending it.”
Back in April, two French ministers – EU Affairs Minister Clément Beaune and Secretary of State Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne – said France’s EU presidency created “an opportunity to hold high this vital fight for multilingualism.”
They admitted that the use of the French language in the EU “had diminished to the benefit of English, and more often to Globish, that ersatz of the English language which narrows the scope of one’s thoughts, and restricts one’s ability to express him or herself more than it makes it easier”.
They announced the creation of a cross-partisan “Working Group on the French-speaking world and multilingualism” group.
The group will report in September with proposals on how to revive the French language during the French presidency.
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