A campaign to institutionalise French as the only legal language of reference has been launched, with advocates of the Committee for the Language of European Law (Comité pour la langue du droit européen, CPLDE) arguing that French is the most precise, authoritative and rigorous of European languages.
Of the official 23 EU languages, French is one of the three Commission working tongues in which policy is drafted and the main communication tool of the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice (ECJ), which is keen to maintain case law around the acquis communautaire.
"French is already the working language of the ECJ and European Court of First Instance," an ECJ spokesperson told EurActiv. "The judges' verdicts are delivered in French and all procedural documents are translated into French, and the language is used for most ECJ internal documents."
The CPLDE, assembled by former European Parliament president Nicole Fontaine, also includes Romanian former prime minister Adrian Nastase, Polish MEP and history professor Bronislaw Geremek and Antoinette Spaak, the daughter of Belgian former foreign minister and EU founding father Paul-Henri Spaak.
At present, standard practice dictates that any anomalies or confusions be checked against the language in which the document was written, which is usually one of the principal languages of English, French or German.