The 25 Europe

Publié le :

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]