European Movement UK

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For all those people who say that European integration is suppressing our national identities, here is proof of the exact opposite. Scottish education minister Mike Russell will speak in Gaelic at a meeting of the Council of Ministers on Tuesday, the first time that Gaelic has been used on such an occasion.

While Gaelic is not a full official language of the EU, an agreement has been reached so that it can be used in meetings. It means that the European Union now looks even more like the people of Europe that it represents, speaking their languages, and speaking their language.

One might note that the House of Lords, which as the second chamber in the legislature is effectively the Westminster counterpart of the Council of Ministers, does not permit the use of Gaelic. This shows that the EU provides recognition for linguistic diversity greater than that of some of the member states.

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  1. Does your movement campaign for European language programmes to be easily available to TV viewers throughout Europe? Why, for example, am I not easily able to see the national news in French or German as broadcast to French and German viewers night by night without the additional expense of investing in special equipment? Why is this not available to digital viewers? Not only might this help to break down barriers (and provide alternative sources of news to the BBC, for example, which, as we well know, tends to reflect British prejudices), but also help people wishing to learn European languages do so (particularly, of course, children). In my experience, listening to the news in foreign languages (as against, say, watching films) is one of the best ways of learning to understand those languages (short of visiting the country concerned).

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