French to replace English as lingua franca in EU?

10 Jun 2021

French is set to replace English as the EU’s official ‘working language’ when France takes over the EU presidency in 2022, believes a top official.

In its first presidency since Brexit, Emmanuel Macron’s government intends to promote its language as the “lingua franca” of Brussels, according to Politico.

“Even if we admit that English is a working language and it is commonly practiced, the basis to express oneself in French remains fully in place in the EU institutions,” a French diplomat told the publication. 

He added: “We must enrich it, and make it live again so that the French language truly regains ground, and above that, the taste and pride of multilingualism.

“We will always ask the Commission to send us in French the letters it wishes to address to the French authorities, and if they fail to do so, we will wait for the French version before sending it.”

France’s presidency from January to June next year is the first stint in charge of the Council since 2008, when Nicolas Sarkozy was president.

The report comes as tensions heighten again between the UK and EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol arrangements that were part of last year’s Brexit deal.

The UK’s Brexit minister David Frost is due to meet EU Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic to discuss the ongoing dispute in London on Wednesday. 

Lord Frost claimed time is “starting to run out” to fix trade problems in the province.