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European Law Monitor newsLanguages open doors: Celebrating the European Day of Languages

On Wednesday 26 September Europe celebrates its linguistic diversity. The European Day of Languages, originally a joint European Commission/Council of Europe initiative following the European Year of Languages in 2001, is held annually on 26 September to celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity. The objectives of the European Day of Languages are threefold: to alert the public to the importance of language learning; to increase awareness and appreciation of all languages and to encourage lifelong language learning. This year, the European Commission is underlining its specific commitment to multilingualism by organising a series of events in celebration of the European Day of Languages in and around the Berlaymont and Charlemagne buildings, including two seminars with experts in multilingualism. Also, events are being organised in the Member States via the European Commission network of Field Offices for multilingualism.

"Languages matter for citizens", the Commissioner for Multilingualism, Leonard Orban, considers. "They open doors. They open up new horizons for the personal and professional development of individuals, as well as for economic development. Multilingualism is more and more demanded by our society in various fields. As European citizens become increasingly mobile, they often spend part of their lives away from their home countries. Our ability to understand and be understood in different languages does not only concern our daily life, and possible visits to hospitals, courts, post offices, supermarkets and so on in other countries, it also concerns the exercise of our democratic rights as Europeans, including our relations with the EU institutions."

Events organised on the European Day of Languages in Brussels:

10.00-12.30 • Seminar "Language diversity: an asset to make the most of" (Charlemagne building). The seminar will be web streamed on EbS.

After the daily Midday Press Briefing • Press conference by the Commissioner responsible for Multilingualism, Leonard Orban, with the participation of the Rapporteur of the High Level Group on Multilingualism, Wolfgang Mackiewicz (Berlaymont, press room).

14.45-17.15 • Seminar concerning the potential of the media to raise awareness of language learning and promote multilingualism (Berlaymont building). The seminar will be web streamed on EbS.

For the public, an exhibition is to be held on the Esplanade, in front of the Berlaymont building. The official opening by Commissioner Orban is at 14.15.

The DGs and services belonging to the "multilingualism family" (European Publications Office, DG Education and Culture - Multilingualism unit, DG Interpretation and DG Translation), will be presenting their work at the exhibition. The exhibition tent also contains a selection of EU-funded, language-related projects. Some are interactive, involving food tasting, language learning through the senses, conversation tables, etc.).

Several games, such as an interactive language quiz, a giant crossword, a language postcard competition will take place on the Esplanade. Young students from schools based in Brussels are invited to join the public event taking place on the Esplanade.

The list of the events taking place in Member States is available at .
Reproduced with the permission of the European Commission REF IP/07/1385