Ireland tables formal proposal request official and working status for the Irish language in the European Union
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dermot Ahern, TD, has announced that Ireland is today tabling a formal proposal requesting that official and working status be accorded to the Irish language in the European Union.
The decision to table the formal proposal follows the Government’s decision in July to initiate a process of discussions with the other EU Member States and EU Institutions in this regard.
In undertaking discussions on this sensitive matter, the Government has sought to identify the issues arising and the practical options open to it in pursuing the objective of obtaining official and working status for the Irish language.
In effect, the Government is proposing that certain key EU legislation (that adopted jointly by the Council and the European Parliament) would be translated into Irish. Under the proposal, the possibility of extending the range of documents to be translated into Irish would be the subject of a review to take place not later than four years after adoption of the current proposal.
“This proposal, if agreed by the Member States, would represent a significant positive and practical step forward for the Irish language in the EU,” said Minister Ahern.
The proposal requires the amendment of Regulation 1 of 1958, which governs the Union’s language regime, to include Irish as an official and working language of the Union. Amendment of this Regulation requires the unanimous approval of partners.
24th November 2004 Press Office
Note for Editors:
The Irish language currently has the status of a “Treaty language” in the European Union. This derives from the fact that in the EU Treaties Irish is listed as one of the languages in which the text is authentic. This means that each successive Treaty is published in Irish as well as in the 20 official and working languages, with the texts in Irish being equally authentic and having equal status with those in all other languages.
Regulation 1 of 1958 determines the linguistic rules for the operation of the EU Institutions. Currently the Regulation, which can only be amended by unanimity, lists 20 languages as official and working languages of the Union. The list comprises of Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, and Swedish. Irish is the only language in which the EU Treaties are published that is not an official and working language of the EU.
In summary, official and working languages are those in which the Official Journal (containing, inter alia, Acts adopted jointly by the European Parliament and the Council and Regulations, Directives and Decisions adopted by the Council and a number of other EU documents) is published. In seeking official and working status for the Irish language, the Government has proposed a temporary derogation which, while allowing for key EU legislation to be published in Irish, would not bind the EU institutions to publish all acts in Irish. This derogation would be reviewed no later than four years after adoption of the proposal.
The current proposal as well as any subsequent adaptation of it, including as regards the volume of documentation that is published in Irish, falls to be considered in the context of Regulation 1 of 1958. Top