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The Future of the Global Lingua Franca Within the EU

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With the promise of Brexit finally being delivered, discussions concerning the official language of the European Union have emerged. As it stands, the official two languages of the institution are English and French, and frankly, a change is not probable anytime soon.

Changes to the language require a unanimous vote by the European Council which is unlikely with Ireland and Malta still being members whose official language is English. 

Furthermore, the use of the English language is not a direct link to the UK’s previous membership. Indeed, English continues to be the global lingua franca, which means it is the language people from different countries have in common thus allowing international communication. In fact, almost half of the 15 to 35-year group across Europe has achieved near mastery of the English language. 

French and English are also the official languages of other international organisations, such as the United Nations or WTO. Therefore, the use of the English language is essential in the EU maintaining its presence on an international scale, rather than just regional.

Having spoken to a member of the European Commission on the matter, they have stated that the procedural work within the organisation continues to be done in English even if the language used in the offices is French, or depending on the location of the office, one of the other official EU languages. 

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