After Brexit: “Broken english” is here to stay

The French Minister for European Affairs, C. Beaune, has spoken out in favour of multilingualism. To him, is not acceptable that everyone in Brussels speaks “broken English” – even after the departure of the Englishmen. But the Germans, of all people, are fighting back.

Is it because hardly anyone speaks French any more? Or is it because business is now conducted almost exclusively in English? In any case, Beaune’s initiative met with vehement rejection in the “Brussels Bubble” – and in the EU bubble in Berlin.

Backward-looking, egotistical, unworldly – these are the attributes that characterise the heated Twitter debate. I dared to take Beaune’s side – and was attacked fiercely. Even professional Europe experts waved me off. Beaune’s proposal is “absurd”, they say.

I see it the other way round: It’s absurd that everyone in the EU speaks English, even though the Englishmen are leaving.

Recently, even the German EU ambassador has been holding his briefings in English. And German EU parliamentarians speak to each other in bad “Denglish”.

A little more language diversity wouldn’t hurt anyone. After all, the EU wants “unity in diversity”. First of all, it would make sense to revalue the two official working languages of the EU Commission besides English – German and French.

This would by no means be outlandish or impractical. In Brussels, it used to be good practice for legislative texts and press releases to be presented simultaneously in English and French.

Of all people, Germany’s von der Leyen is now backing away from this. Yet she should be particularly concerned about promoting linguistic diversity.

After all, the CDU politician was born and raised in francophone Brussels. But unlike her predecessor Juncker, she does not cultivate the language, on the contrary.

More and more official documents in English

More and more documents from her office come only in English. In the meantime, one has to justify oneself in the EU Commission if one wants to speak French. Even letters of protest have not changed anything so far.

Beaune now wants to use the French Council Presidency in 2022 to save French and promote other languages. It would be nice if Germany would support him in this. But at the moment it doesn’t look that way – on the contrary. He is ridiculed.

Above all, he is met with scorn and derision from the EU bubble in Berlin. Yet these guys supposedly appreciate Franco-German cooperation. But speaking French? No way…

Translated with (free version) The original post (in German!) is here