German President wants English as EU official language

I guess that’s why you’re called Anglo-Saxons. German President Joachim Gauck recommends using English as the lingua franca of the European Union as bait to convince the UK to remain in it.

Here is what he said:

Taking these considerations as a starting-point, anyone who investigates the possibilities that exist for Germany to find allies must come to the conclusion that there remains no other way of forming an alliance except to approach England. The consequences of England’s war policy were and are disastrous for Germany. However, we cannot close our eyes to the fact that, as things stand to-day, the necessary interests of England no longer demand the destruction of Germany. On the contrary, British diplomacy must tend more and more, from year to year, towards curbing France’s unbridled lust after hegemony. Now, a policy of alliances cannot be pursued by bearing past grievances in mind, but it can be rendered fruitful by taking account of past experiences. Experience should have taught us that alliances formed for negative purposes suffer from intrinsic weakness. The destinies of nations can be welded together only under the prospect of a common success, of common gain and conquest, in short, a common extension of power for both contracting parties.

Oops, wrong source. Here is what Gauck really said:

In remarks unlikely to please the French, Mr Gauck said English had become the ‘lingua franca’ of the continent.

‘One of the main problems we have in building a more integrated European community is the inadequate communication within Europe,’ he said.

‘It is true to say that young people are growing up with English as the lingua franca.

‘However, I feel that we should not simply let things take their course when it comes to linguistic integration.

‘More Europe means multilingualism. I am convinced that feeling at home in one’s native language and its magic and being able to speak enough English to get by in all situations and at all ages can exist alongside each other in Europe.’

Indeed, it will be interesting to hear what the French have to say about this, especially the anti-European Marine Le Pen of the Front National – if you let her speak, that is.

It’s not that big a deal as English is already the de-facto official language of the EU. Meetings are typically held in English because that’s the common language all the politicians and civil servants speak. Although it’s more “globish” than English, as it’s a kind of international English that’s simpler and lacks idioms. Traditionally meetings held in English in the EU go really well until the native speakers turn up and nobody can understand their stupid accents, rapid diction and incessant stream of colourful phrases. It’s a bit like how it is in my company :).

We already know what the future holds.

Yeah, things were much better 120 years ago when they let anyone have their say.

I’m aware of “globish”. The problem with the German position is that the president seems to think it will allow Europe to coordinate, whereas it will only succeed in increasing American influence. A rejection of English is not a rejection of the UK (though some might see it like that), but a rejection of American globalizing forces. Adopting English will not only increase Americanization but will also further the influence of the peddlers of Austerity in Europe. The French will not stand for this, and if we in Quebec had been confronted with the same scenario, we would not have hesitated to denounce it as well.

Besides, the English language deserves better than some Orwellian travesty pared down for the benefit of the lowest common denominator.

Let me remind you that she is a duly elected member of the European Parliament, and as such should have the right to comment on European matters on any platform, especially one where she had been invited.

Let me remind you that she is a duly elected member of the European Parliament, and as such should have the right to comment on European matters on any platform, especially one where she had been invited.

it will only succeed in increasing American influence

Literally no one in the US gives a fuck about this.

No one?

I’m sure this is to just wind up the french? Ever since Holland and Merkel have not been exactly on the same sheet (france moved left, doesn’t like ‘Austerity’ etc), there is some tension between the too nations (small, but noticeable). It would be somewhat ironic if the uk moves out of the EU (and it could), our language becomes ‘official’ :)

I’ve lost the thread of your argument. The spread of English in the EU is a way of spreading American influence and reinforcing austerity policies? How does that work out when Americans aren’t following nor pushing austerity as a solution? Austerity supporters are mostly in the UK and Germany, not America.

It seems like you are just unhappy at the spread of English, but I’m sorry you’ve already lost that battle. Any organisation or company that wants to operate on an international level needs English speakers. That’s not going to change any time soon.

Besides, the English language deserves better than some Orwellian travesty pared down for the benefit of the lowest common denominator.

That’s a silly way of looking at it. It’s just a variant of English, like American or Australian. It’s like a patois, and they have been around for centuries. Only globish is developing at all levels of communication, not just street level. It’s not like English will devolve into Globish any more than English speakers will start talking like Jamaicans. If anything globish will evolve into a more diverse language, as the many cultural backgrounds of its speakers start to influence it.

Some folks in the US government may want the UK to stay in the EU…
But no one here cares what language the EU speaks.

That’s not quite true, many US visitors would rather like it if English was the official language. But apart from that, why should any American care? Same as why should any non American care if the US has Spanish signs now, or if it’s still all English? Silly thing to care about, unless you spend time in the place.

As for the OP, English is probably the most common second language in the EU. Blame the Americans for that. It might not be the Official language, but get a bunch of different nationalities together and they’ll all probably have English as a second language, so, it makes good practical sense. Very German I imagine. :D

Over half the EU already speaks fluent English. And the majority of those speakers aren’t in the UK. In big cities like Frankfurt and Berlin its totally possible to get by without speaking a word of German. Even in the countries with the lowest numbers of fluent English speakers like Hungary (20%) most people understand enough to be able to do business with you. I never learned Hungarian in the 3 years or so I lived there (believe me I tried but it’s impossible) and got by quite easily.

I seriously doubt that a casual visitor from the US would care, and many would be disappointed. One of the reasons to visit Europe is to enjoy the beautiful languages and find yourself in a situation where your high school language class could possibly be useful. That French waiter may be spitting in your soup, but he sounds very romantic (and Romantic!) while doing it. The only exception is the Germanic languages, which sound like someone is beating a goat with a terrible chest cold to death with a lead pipe… and I say that affectionately, as someone who chose German for the aforementioned high school classes.

The truth is that an American visitor is never more than three people away from finding someone who can give directions in English, so whether the EU chooses to conduct official business in that tongue or not is immaterial to most US tourists. Career US diplomats almost always speak at least one additional language at a high-functional level, so having English be “official” may help them a bit, but it’s probably not that big a deal.

True. Once elected and invited, one may voice any opinion.