Just think how terrible the place would become

Really:

French should be instated as the sole working language of the European Union instead of English because of Brexit, according to a plot prepared by almost 40 French MPs.

French was once the dominant language in the corridors of power in Brussels but English is now effectively the lingua franca.

That shift was accelerated by the accession of Eastern European countries to the bloc in 2004 and entrenched by the fact that many people speak English as a second language.

Only folks who speak French would be able to work there. That’s going to increase the talent pool they can draw from, isn’t it?

32 thoughts on “Just think how terrible the place would become”

  1. Going back to a random meeting in Shanghai with a Portugese bloke, with whom I had an “in or out” discussion, his attitude is that he would love us to leave because the EU could then make English the default language without the French screaming about “perfidious Albion”.

    Funny how that worked out 🙂

  2. Harry Haddock's Ghost

    I don’t really care, and I doubt anyone else in the UK does, so why does the Telegraph keep publishing stories like this? We’ve left. Time to move on.

  3. This is nothing more than the Gallic inferiority complex manifesting itself. As an idea it’s a complete non-starter, of course, but quite fun.

  4. They should make German the official language. According to Wikipedia, of the (pre-Brexit) EU population:
    33% understand English
    22% understand German
    20% understand French

  5. Given how scummy their own Govt is , I doubt even the French would be in favour of having the already corrupt EU kiss the arse of French bureaucracy.

    Still its their problem now. Lets hope they choose whatever is worse for the EU. They usually do.

  6. @Stephanos: greek never, and latin only for the clergy. Nobility either spoke german(ish) or french(ish). You can argue for old norse for at least a while…
    ( no…english(ish) was for the proles…)

    As for french as the main EU language… BWA! HA! Hahahahahahaaaaaaah!
    Like the rest of the country… Why would we ever speak Has-Been?

  7. But Grikathistratus, Eurocrats are the clergy. Should not the haruspices and mantises of the Europan Empire speak the civilised tongues, instead of grunting like barbarians?

  8. At the time of Charlemagne someone speaking a Germanic language could be understood anywhere north of the Alps and west of Pannonia up to the Jockland border. Probably also converse in Northern Italy and Spain.

  9. Same in Canada – bilingualism is mandatory even in the far west where hardly anyone speaks French, so guess what? Native French speakers dominate the government and State jobs.

  10. But it’s better than that.
    The EU funds stuff like the digital sovereignty tech projects involving software and silicon and packaging and and and.

    Even in French companies doing this stuff, the lingua Franca is English. Back when, my Italian colleagues wouldn’t have worked at a French only tech company (for many reasons)

    So go for it lads!! You’d save the EU a boatload of euros if you required everything to be in French.

    Plus, I rather suspect that DeutschExit would not be far behind.

    Now, that would be fun…

  11. “German was the standard language in Europe for a while.” First I’ve heard of it. But it was the standard language of some branches of scholarship – organic chemistry, philosophy, theology, perhaps others. Hayek sneered at Keynes not having bothered to learn German because it meant that he hadn’t read many other important economists of his day.

    It was an extraordinary omission: as an Etonian he’d have been immersed in Latin and Greek and would presumably have had decent French. Why he didn’t teach himself a decent knowledge of German over a Long Vacation beats me. Indeed, if he had a flair for languages, over a short vacation.

  12. Ted S.: Maybe they should make Esperanto the official language.

    In a sense they have achieved something similar – there’s a distinct register of English spoken by eurocrats with it’s own expressions, grammatical oddities and idioms and curious imports like “variable geometry”.

  13. I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse.
    Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor

    But of course, the idea of French as a lingua franca is ludicrous (as well as a tautology). If a Finn, Greek and Portuguese wish to converse, what language are they likely to have in common?

  14. Only folks who speak French would be able to work there. That’s going to increase the talent pool they can draw from, isn’t it?

    They’re taking a page from the Canadian book – Quebec maintains a stranglehold on Canadian federal government because they’ve managed to force into law that everything the federal government does needs to be in French as well as English.

    This leaves a large pool of potential candidates straight out of Quebec while the rest of the provinces are left with people who *knew* they wanted to go into politics at a young age (and, as such, are the sorts of people worst suited for office) and so learned French early.

  15. The Germans should put in a bid – they’ve got more people than any other EU country (and about a third more than France), why shouldn’t EU business be done in German to support that majority?

  16. @ Agammamon
    Also the Austrians and Transylvanians understand German.
    But the idea of the EU speaking German is a “No, No” until we’ve had a third world war so that journalists stop talking about the second. France remained under suspicion until Prussia kicked Napoleon III in the teeth in 1870.

  17. Basque. They should adopt Basque. Or Maltese. Anyway something small and obscure enough that it causes equal harm to all the major countries. Frisian wouldn’t be fair – it would be easier for Dutch, German, and indeed English speakers.

    Come to think of it, Welsh would be ideal. You could claim it as being, in some vague sense, the historical language of much of Europe, there are already textbooks for teaching it to English-speakers which could easily be translated for others. It’s not similar enough to Irish Gaelic to give much advantage to all those Irish civil servants who enjoy a fluent command of Gaelic vernacular (ha, ha). Yup, Welsh it must be.

  18. Preparing for the future, shouldn’t it be Mandarin? My nephews finished school just before Beijing started to try and stamp out Proper Chinese(tm) in schools.

  19. @jgh
    Preparing for the future, shouldn’t it be Mandarin?
    Not necessarily. I have overheard conversations between Chinese who spoke English because one party only spoke Putonghua and the other Cantonese.

  20. German was the standard language in Europe for a while.” First I’ve heard of it.

    Oh dearieme… For 5 and a bit years it was.

    My jokes are wasted on you lot sometimes.

  21. How did the EU get around the issue of English no longer being an official language? Seem to recall as the Irish had previously nominated Gaelic as theirs seeing as English was already taken that no one other than U.K. had English as their official language so with Brexit EU had to stop using or change its own rules or get someone else to nominate English as their official language.

  22. Blissymbolics. It has the advantage of not being used by any country in the EU for EU business and the additional advantage that all the bureaucrats trying to learn it will be on the same footing…

  23. Malta has English as their official language, I doubt much EU business gets done in Maltese (a sort of bastardised Arabic).

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