Sorry, Macron! French plot to ban English from EU backfires as top court snubs plea

Macron looking for ‘handy enemy’ says commentator

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The institution voted by 26 to 1 to work in English only, including without interpretation. Only France voted against this move. Among those who voted in favour of the change were a former Belgian minister and a Flemish politician appointed by Charles Michel when he was Prime Minister.

Jean Quatremer, the Brussels correspondent of Libération, wrote on Twitter that the move to impose English speaking is being led by German conservatives.

The ECA is currently led by Klaus-Heiner Lehne, a German lawyer and politician.

Mr Quatremer writes that “this is becoming a real political problem for France, but also for the other European countries”.

English has been an official language of the EU since 1973.

There were rumours that the language would be dropped after Brexit.

In December last year, an article in the New European suggested that English would be downgraded from an official language to a “working language”.

EU sources have denied these claims.

The bloc’s official website still states that “even after the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU, English remains one of the official languages of Ireland and Malta”.

But, unsurprisingly, some figures are frustrated by the language’s maintained status.

Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Rally party, said: “Defending France also means defending the French language.”

Julien Aubert, a French politician serving as a member of the National Assembly, is quoted in The Local FR as saying: “The withdrawal of the UK from the EU has had a number of consequences for how EU institutions organise their work and exchanges.

“English is now the mother tongue of just one percent of the population of the EU, while French is the second language of many members and is the most-practised foreign language, after English.”

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And earlier this year, Politico reported that European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune said the EU should stop speaking “a type of broken English” following on from Brexit.

“Let’s get used to speaking our languages again!”

He insisted that this is not a “rearguard action or the fight of one single country”.

“It is, truly, a fight for European linguistic diversity.”

More recently, Mr Beaune caused a stir by suggesting that France should disrupt Britain’s “supply of turkey at Christmas” if Whitehall doesn’t give away more of its fishing rights.

For this, he has earned the nickname “Le Grinch”.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

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