Major conclusions
of the symposium, held on May 6, 2003, European Parliament,

"What language policies for a multilingual European Union?"
"Shall we write the citizens' communication rights and duties into a European Constitution?"

Under the chairmanship of the MEP, Michael Gahler, the participants adopted at the end of the symposium the following principles:
  1. Everybody is free in the choice of the language for communication with others, but, in the communication with public services and authorities, everyone has to conform to the legal and linguistic provisions that are applied at the place concerned. (territorial principle).
  2. In the private sphere, everybody has the right to communicate in the language of his/her choice, but, those standing for election to public office should master communication in the local language(s) and recognise the legal and linguistic provisions of the place concerned. (principle of integration)
  3. In the field of private activities, everyone can organise his/her communication in the language of his/her preference, but, in dealing with public authorities, everyone's language use (communication) has to be in conformity with the legal and linguistic provisions in force at the place concerned (principle of local self-government).
  4. In the internal organisation of one's own business, everyone is free to determine the language of communication, but, in applying for a job, everyone has to meet the professional requirements including the necessary linguistic qualification for communication required for the activity concerned by the employing firm, association or institution (principle of professional qualification).
  5. Communication within public services and administration in Member States depends on the legal and constitutional framework of the country concerned. (principle of subsidiarity).
  6. Communication of the Institutions of the European Union should be non-discriminatory, rational and efficient; therefore, as general guideline it can be said that external communication towards the citizen and within the framework of a political mandate has to cover all official languages of the Union, while internal communication needs a common means of communication; as long as such a working language consists of a national language, discrimination in communication persists. (distinction between external 'citizen' communication and internal 'professional' communication)
  7. As long as discrimination in the internal communication of the institutions of the Union does exist, the competent bodies at the Union level and the education authorities in the Member States should undertake research in the field of a non-discriminatory system such as a universal language model (planned language), its conditions, capacities and limits, to support feasibility studies and to facilitate language experiments with view to ultimately resolving the remaining discrimination in internal and inter-ethnic communication. (principle of equality and non-discrimination)
  8. Finally, it is in the responsibility of the competent authorities in the Member States and of the competent bodies at the European level to co-ordinate best practices in this field, to organise the necessary language instruction in schools, to offer and guarantee diversity in language learning, and, finally, to safeguard the cultural and linguistic identities within this multilingual Union. (principle of diversity in unity)
As to specific results, the participants wish A more detailed summary of the symposium will be available soon on the internet: !