Law and Language in the European Union

The Paradox of a Babel "United in Diversity"

By Richard L. Creech

The European Economic Community, founded in 1957, consisted of six Member States with a combined total of four official languages. By 2004, this organization had evolved into a European Union of twenty-five Member States with more than twenty official languages among them. This increase has presented numerous challenges to the EU's internal linguistic regime, where formal policy has been, with some notable exceptions, to treat all of these languages equally. Some of these languages - English in particular - have been more equal than others. Languages that lack nation-wide official status in any Member State - such as Catalan and Welsh - have been overtly denied equal treatment. Furthermore, the multilingual nature of the EU has had significant implications for any Member State that wishes to regulate the use of language within its territory, as such regulation can interfere with the rights accorded to citizens of other Member States to participate in free commercial movement throughout the Union. Law and Language in the European Union - now in paperback - examines how, in the linguistic realm, the EU has responded to the tensions that lie behind this paradoxical motto.

176 pages

Publication Date: 5/1/2007
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9789076871837