EP Committee approves temporary arrangements for multilingualism

Facing the prospect of a shortage of translators/interpreters after 1 May, the Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional Affairs has approved a report designed to make the best possible use of limited language resources.

The report by Gianfranco Dell'Alba (Unattached MEP, Italy) is a much needed compromise between providing 'full multilingualism' wherever the MEPs are carrying out Parliament business and restricting multilingualism to the confines of Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg.

The report was requested by the Bureau to look into the need for precautionary measures as regards the application of the general rules of multilingualism set out by the Parliament's rules of procedure (in particular articles 117 and 139). It comes in response to major concerns about how best to allocate limited translation and interpreting resources after 1 May. In an oral amendment (amendment 2, rule 117, paragraph 3) by a substitute for the rapporteur, it was agreed that the Bureau's decision would be final if there were disagreement between members of the committee or delegation with regard to multilingual arrangements.

A proposal for a recital referring to the possible parallel introduction of a neutral pivot language such as Esperanto was rejected. The idea of introducing such a language was to "contribute to maintaining the existing languages while avoiding a situation where one or other of those languages not only assumes a preponderant role, but takes over completely from the other languages".

Requesting to be quoted in French, Dell'Alba refers to the current practice as reinforcing "l'importante sur-représentation d'une seule langue dominante" [the significant over-representation of a single dominant language] and sees Esperanto as "la vraie possibilité d'une équité linguistique souvent affichée par le Parlement européen" [the real possibility of a linguistic equality as advocated by the European Parliament.


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