[Corpora-List] RE: Constitution

Bart Defrancq Bart.Defrancq at UGent.be
Mon May 23 14:03:00 CEST 2005

Dear Jean,

1. The language question in the European Communities was settled with
Regulation n1 (yes the very first regulation that was ever adopted)
from 1958, if I remember well. Every official language of every Member
State at that time was declared an official language of the EC. Every
discrepancy between Europena official languages and Member State
official languages dates from after 1958 and is the sole responsibility
of the Member States. Regulation n1 has been amended with each
accession according to the wishes of the new Member States. That's why
Catalan is not represented (there was a fuss in 1984 about what to put
in for Spain: "espanol" or "castillano" and the first one was chosen).
So English imperialism is certainly not to blame.
It is however the easiest way to rally supporters...
2. Irish is what is called a "Treaty language" (or Constitution
language); it is not an official language, since the Irish government
did not deem necessary to have every legal act translated in a language
no-one really used. Here again, no Anglo-saxon conspiracy.
3. In principle, every document that is not strictly a working document
or a draft has to be translated in all the languages. In practice, this
may not always be the case immediately. For it would need a considerable
bureaucratic machinerie most of our fellow European citizens would be
very critical about (recall that the European budget is not to exceed 1%
of the GDI, according to the major Member States, who, themselves, do
not object to taking the other 49% of our income for taxes).

Bart Defrancq
Ghent University

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