The French language has gone into decline in Europe over the last 4 years, according to a study published this week by the IOF. But large gains in Sub-Saharan Africa have driven a 7% increase in the world's francophone population.
EXCLUSIVE / A EurActiv survey of French EU professionals in Brussels, published ahead of Bastille Day, shows that an overwhelming 60% of respondents believe their country’s influence in Europe has declined since the financial and economic crisis swept the continent in 2008.
With the decline of French language in EU institutions now accepted by most as irreversible, French lawmakers and officials have started pushing a more assertive approach, based on the promotion of multilingualism and influence rather than language issues only.
The European Commission, which drafts legislation which governs the lives of European citizens, works overwhelmingly in English. However a language is not simply a neutral conduit for information and there are ways of making the EU’s administration more multilingual and representative of its citizens, argues Michel Soubies.
Despite the continued dominance of English as a working language, demand for French classes in Brussels has increased, notably among EU staff and accredited diplomats and journalists, says Thierry Lagnau, director of the 'Alliance Française Bruxelles-Europe'.
Over the past 10 years, demand for French language classes has risen steadily among accredited ambassadors and the international press in Brussels. However, this renewed interest might in fact reflect the declining influence of French in the EU institutions. Thierry Lagnau, director of the Alliance Française in Brussels, explains the reasons behind this paradox.
Officials at the International Francophony Organisation (OIF) have warned of "catastrophic" use of French in EU institutions, as the language's position in Brussels becomes ever more fragile, a conference heard last week (31 March).
As the thirteenth Francophonie summit opens in Montreux, Switzerland, new statistics reveal an increasing dominance of African countries, whose demographic boom could end up tilting the organisation’s balance. EurActiv spoke to Abdou Diouf, secretary-general of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).
French is still a "universal language"and the number of French-speakers worldwide is growing, Abdou Diouf, secretary-general of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie , told EurActiv in an interview on the occasion of the body’s thirteenth international summit.
With the Lisbon Treaty in place and recruitment ready to start for the European diplomatic service, France is on a mission to strengthen its "francophone exigency," said former Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, special envoy on francophony to President Nicolas Sarkozy.
European Commission representatives are in France this week to encourage young people to consider a career in languages, amid fears that the EU executive will face a "serious shortage" of French-language interpreters within five to 10 years.
French-speaking countries gathered over the weekend for a major summit in Canada "unanimously" backed French President Nicolas Sarkozy's demand for multinational talks to revamp the global financial system.
France's EU Presidency objectives, primary among which is the much-vaunted 'Union for the Mediterranean' project, are so ambitious that the government may not have the means to implement them, Olivier Ferrand, the president of Terra Nova, a new progressive think tank, told EurActiv France in an interview.
Making sure different languages are represented at the heart of the EU is essential for democracy, according to Abdou Diouf, secretary-general of the 'Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie', the international French-language association.
French Secretary of State for EU Affairs Jean-Pierre Jouyet has played down expectations regarding the goals of its upcoming EU presidency amid rising tensions with partners over President Nicolas Sarkozy's European policy. EurActiv France reports.
Government and civil society organisations have both identified energy policy and fighting climate change as priorities of the country's upcoming EU presidency next year. But civil society groups fear that government officials may not share their growth and job creation goals, a conference hosted by EurActiv France heard.
As reported by EurActiv.fr, Commissioner Leonard Orban visited France recently to lay the groundwork for establishing co-operation on multilingualism ahead of the country's stint at the EU's helm in 2008.
According to first estimates of an internal poll, French Socialist members have come out strongly in favour of the EU Constitution. The party, however, will not emerge from a bitter campaign unscathed.