Francophone campaigners have called for the EU to confirm French as the official language of the bloc, after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to do the same in Quebec. Mr Trudeau will soon amend the Official Languages Act, which has proclaimed English and French as the official languages of the Canadian federal state since 1969, an anonymous government source revealed to La Presse. The news was welcomed by Generation Frexit campaigners, who believe France’s membership in the EU is jeopardising the use of the French language both in France and across the bloc.
They wrote: “The French language will soon be the only officially recognised language in Quebec.
“We welcome this, especially at a time when the EU is pushing Europe towards the generalisation of a ridiculous and unnatural Globish.
“Long live the Francophonie! Let’s take back control.”
The idea the EU should adopt French as its official language does not only lie with those who believe France should leave the EU altogether.
French President Emmanuel Macron and his closest ally Clement Beaune are also urging Brussels to drop English ahead of France’s Presidency of the Council.
The debate has been going on for years.
A French mayor has called for Brussels to ditch its use of the English language after Britain voted to leave the European Union.
English is one of 24 ‘official languages’ of the EU while it is also one of the ‘working languages’ used to conduct every day business.
But Robert Ménard, the mayor of the southern French town of Béziers, believes English now no longer has ‘any legitimacy’ in Brussels in the wake of the Brexit vote
Meanwhile, the left-wing presidential candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon said English can no longer be the ‘third working language of the European Parliament’.
According to The Local, 51 per cent of EU citizens can speak English as a first or second language while just over a quarter can speak French and nearly a third can speak German.
Despite Thursday’s exit vote, it appears unlikely English would be axed altogether in Brussels since it is also the official language of both Ireland and Malta – both members of the EU.
In 2013, an EU report revealed that English had squeezed out every other language in the competition to become the common tongue of Europe.
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It found that English is the most popular foreign language in all but five European countries, and all of those are small nations that use the language of their larger neighbours.
The report also found that two out of three people across the continent have at least a fair working knowledge of English.
The report published by the EU statistics arm Eurostat suggested that the dominance of English was likely to become even greater in the future.
It found that 94 per cent of secondary school pupils and 83 per cent of primary age pupils across the EU are learning English as their first foreign language, more than four times as many as learn French, German or Spanish. Only in Britain and Ireland is French the top foreign language in schools.