MEP’s Told to Stop Speaking English in European Parliament

English has become the default language for business and statesman. But that didn’t stop the speaker of the European Parliament telling multi-lingual politicians to stick to their mother tongues.

There are 24 official languages spoken in the European Parliament, but the majority of Members opt to switch to English as it is the most widely understood throughout Europe.

However, during a session earlier this month, Secretary-General, Klaus Welle ordered MEP’s to speak in their own language because it was confusing interpreters.


Legal translators driven crazy

The European Parliament is responsible for discussing and passing laws and regulations, so it is important legal interpreters can follow the meeting.

But because so many MEP’s speak English in order to avoid confusion, or as the Express put it, “cut through the chaos,” politicians create more confusion and chaos by talking over one another.

The political playground gets so out of hand that Welle reprimanded the chamber earlier this month and told members to “speak slowly,” and “speak in your mother tongue.”

The Secretary-General noted that the behavior of vocal politicians competing for the floor causes “a deterioration of quality [in understanding]” and offered a nod of sympathy to the translators. “It’s driving them crazy.”

It is easy for meanings to get lost when speaking with people in different languages, and in complicated areas such as the legal field, it is critical to understand exactly what is happening.

What are your thoughts about the conduct of Europe’s politicians? Do you think they should speak in their mother tongue or all communicate in the same language?


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