Language focus | 12.07.2009

Welsh language welcomed by European Commission

A deal has been made by the UK’s representative to the EU, Sir Kim Darroch, which will now allow people to write to the Commission in Welsh. There are 23 official languages of the EU and Welsh is not among them, yet similar arrangements have been made with the Council of Ministers and the Committee of Regions, which allow the speaking of Welsh in meetings

The new deal will necessitate translation services, but the cost of those is being met by The Welsh Assembly as well as the Welsh Language Board.

Sir Kim Darroch said:

“This is about putting practical measures in place to make the EU more open and accessible to its citizens. We’re committed to ensuring similar arrangements across the institutions of the EU.”

The status of Welsh within the EU is now equivalent to that of the Spanish regional languages, Basque, Catalan and Galician. These languages have enjoyed this level of acceptance since 2005, the point at which Plaid Cymru MEP, Jill Evans, began a campaign for Welsh to join them. This campaign has now reached fruition.

The Minister of Europe, Glenys Kinnock, commented:

“This demonstrates a clear commitment by the EU to promote its unique and diverse cultural heritage.”

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