The 25 Europe

In March 25, 1957, six founding countries signed the Rome Treaty: France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. They were joined later on by others:

  • 9 in 1973: United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark
  • 10 in 1981: Greece
  • 12 in 1986: Spain and Portugal
  • 15 in 1995: Sweden, Austria, Finland

At midnight tonight the European Union will count 25 members, welcoming 10 new countries to this unique space of 450 M inhabitants:

  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Hungary
  • Lithuania
  • Latvia
  • Malta
  • Poland
  • Slovakia
  • Slowenia

This represents 20 languages -- the EU portal is already displaying them! -- and the European parliament is looking towards employing up to 500 translators to handle the 380 possible combinations. Translation represents 300 M€, 30% of the EU parliament's budget, a mere 2.5€ per European and one of the unique traits of this multicultural space. However, a negative side effect of the multiplication of languages is to reinforce the supremacy of English. In 2002, among the documents produced by the parliament, 57% were in English and 29% in French (to be compared to 45% and 40% in 1997.)

Discussions are already popping about the next wave, whether to welcome Turkey, whether to stick to the geographical frontier (I'd frankly welcome Morocco before Turkey for example and I find most politicians quite narrow minded when they back down to frontiers and, for the extremists, a supposedly "original christian culture" of Europe.)

Welcome to the new comers. The adoption of our upcoming constitution promises to be a challenging but very interesting moment. Me, I'm really looking forward into seeing the EU go far beyond the initial goal of peace -- that was not and still is not a minor objective -- and become the first cultural, social, political and economical space.

[Via Libération]


"9 in 1793:"

Hey, quit that, you're making me dizzy :)

Somehow I think you have your list wrong.. where is Estonia?

Once again the readership is better than the host, shame on me. The list has been corrected, names and date. Romania is still a candidate (and I heard that Switzerland is considering its entry too.)

The list is still wrong. Bulgaria is only a candidate, too. Instead, Slowenia is missing. The correct and complete list is: Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slowenia, Malta and Cyprus.

Triple shame on me!

I don't agree about the reinforcement of English as a dominant language being a "negative side effect", but it's particularly funny reading this on an English-language blog written by a Frenchman.

OK Garoo, but I know you're reading the French side as well :-). And I'm not going to translate this weblog in 20 languages.

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