EU Civil Society Platform on Multilingualism
The Civil Society Platform on Multilingualism was launched by the European Commission in October 2009. Commissioner Leonard Orban called upon the Platform to consult with Civil Society across the EU in order to submit a set of initial proposals to influence thinking at EU, Member State and regional level, and to help designing the financial instruments for the new generation of funding programmes (2014-2020). At the inaugural meeting he emphasized the significant contribution of the policy for multilingualism to the realisation of wider EU goals, such as bringing Europe closer to its citizens. He also underlined the strong existing links between multilingualism, language skills and the creation of new jobs, which are central to the EU2020 strategy.
For more than a year, the 29 member organisations of the Civil Society Platform on Multilingualism have conducted research across Civil Society that enabled them to put together a set of recommendations, directed principally to the European Commission, the Member States and regional administrations. The Platform especially advocates that plurilingual education (i.e. mother tongue plus two) should become the norm, content-based language learning be introduced more widely and informal learning outside the classroom created or developed in order to make language teaching and learning more effective throughout Europe. From the perspective of cultural diversity and social inclusion, the learning support to immigrants should be strengthened for integration and social cohesion purposes. Public services across Europe should improve their own language skills to be able to offer adequate services to newcomers. Translation is not to be understood as a second best option after multilingualism. It can make existing texts cross linguistic and cultural borders and is therefore an essential tool for communication and understanding as well as for the preservation and accessibility of the common European literary heritage. Working conditions for translators should be substantially improved, sound degree programmes implemented and opportunities for mobility developed.
In order to achieve these targets the Civil Society Platform aspires to raise the awareness for multilingualism among policy makers, educationalists and parents throughout Europe. In that sense, the Poliglotti4.eu project aims to set up an online Language Observatory and highlight good practices that may be transferred to other regions of Europe.