“Language is a part of who we are, compared to the DNA of our bones, I think it’s important to protect that” Joe McHugh (Minister of State, Ireland)

News / 16.2.15

The most relevant contributors of the a gathering of experts, policy makers and practitioners in the field of linguistics and protection of languages for the Launch of the European Roadmap for Linguistic Diversity (5 February 2015, European Parliament ) focused their interventions in the need for equal treatment of all langues as a tool to help revive minority, regional or declining languages.

Joe Mchugh, Irish minister of State, put the focus on the need to have a long term strategy driven and supported by public authorities that pays special attention to new ways of expression and broadcasting, and particulary in the emeregnce of new communication technologies. For him “Language is a part of who we are, compared to the DNA of our bones, I think it’s important to protect that”

Jill Evans, Member of the European Parliament for the Greens/EFA group and long standing advocate of the defense of lesser protected languages, pointed out that speaking to people in their own languages could help bridge the gap between European Institutions and citizens. she believes that attachement of younger generations to their languages is vital to ensure survival of languages and cultures, and to facilitate that it is important to give them the value they deserve.

Vicent Climent, Network to Promote Linguistic Diversity, claims that Eu should have an equitable approach to languages by recognizing their existence, by acknowledging their value and by including them whitin EU programs regardless of their official status.

Josu Juaristi, Member of the European Parliament for the GUE group, believes that linguistic rights should be embedded on the European acquis  and considered full part of EU citizen’s rights,  violation of those rights should have legal consequences for the member states in breach.

Finally, Marijke Van Hemeldonck, the first Chair of Intergroup on Minority Languages, reflects on the need to express views within a legislative chamber in the language of your voters and your constituents. She also notes who passive knowledge of languages becomes important to facilitate multilingual debates and how the choice of the language can impact the development of political negotiations.