Wednesday 9 June 2021 2:28 pm

Mais Non: EU to drop English for French as ‘working language’

French will replace English as the European Union’s official ‘working language’ when France takes over the EU presidency in 2022, according to a senior diplomat. 

In its first presidency since Brexit, Emmanuel Macron’s government intends to push its native tongue as the “lingua franca” of Brussels, according to Politico.

“Even if we admit that English is a working language and it is commonly practiced, the basis to express oneself in French remains fully in place in the EU institutions,” a French diplomat revealed to the publication. 

The unnamed diplomat said: “We must enrich it, and make it live again so that the French language truly regains ground, and above that, the taste and pride of multilingualism.”

All high-level meetings of the Council – the body which helps sets the political agenda in Brussels – will be conducted in French instead of English during the presidency, which will last six months. In addition to meetings, letters, minutes and notes will also be in French. 

Letters from the EU Commission will also be expected to be in French by the Council as they roll out the “French-first” approach. 

“We will always ask the Commission to send us in French the letters it wishes to address to the French authorities, and if they fail to do so, we will wait for the French version before sending it,” the diplomat said.

Mr Macron’s ministers have previously voiced their interest in pushing French ahead of the English language currently used by officials in Brussels, since the UK has now left the bloc.