The European Year of Languages 2001, jointly organised by the Council of Europe and the European Union, was successful in involving millions of people across 45 participating countries. Its activities celebrated linguistic diversity in Europe and promoted language learning.
Following the success of the Year of Languages, the Council of Europe declared a European Day of Languages to be celebrated on 26th of September each year. The general objectives of the European Day of Languages are:
Alerting the public to the importance of language learning and diversifying the range of languages learnt in order to increase plurilingualism and intercultural understanding;
Promoting the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe, which must be preserved and fostered;
Encouraging lifelong language learning in and out of school, whether for study purposes, for professional needs, for purposes of mobility or for pleasure and exchanges.
26 September 2011 marked the 10th anniversary of the European Day of Languages (EDL) celebrated at the Council of Europe and throughout its 47 member states.
WHO IS THE EUROPEAN DAY OF LANGUAGES FOR?
The Council of Europe is hoping that this Day will be celebrated both by authorities in its member states and potential partners at the following levels:
among policy-makers (specific measures or discussions on language policy issues, for instance)
among the general public (awareness-raising on the overall objectives of the Day, including the importance of lifelong language learning, starting at any age, in educational establishments, at work, etc);
in the voluntary sector (specific actions by and/or for NGOs, associations, companies, etc).