German president calls for English across EU
Germany’s president called for English to be made the language of the European Union as he appealed to the UK to remain a member. Joachim Gauck earned applause for his remarks in Berlin yesterday during a speech on the future of Europe at a time when Germans are showing increasing scepticism towards the union.
“Dear English, Scots, Welsh, Northern Irish and new British citizens, we want to continue having you on board,” he said. “We need your experience as the oldest parliamentary democracy, we need your traditions, your sober-mindedness and your courage.”
He said that to encourage more commonality, Europe needed a common language as well as encouraging multilingualism. “I am convinced that, in Europe, both can live side by side,” he said. “The sense of being at home in your mother tongue, with all its poetry, as well as a workable English for all of life’s situations and all age groups.”
Appealing to Britons’ sense of historical responsibility, he emphasised the role the UK had played in founding modern Europe by its fight against Nazi Germany.
“You helped to save our Europe with your engagement in the second World War – it is also your Europe, and more Europe cannot mean a Europe without you. Only with you can we tackle the future.”
The remarks, which took two minutes of his hour-long speech, followed David Cameron’s pledge to call a referendum on Britain’s EU relationship, calls that have caused criticism in Berlin.
“In Germany, more Europe does not mean a German Europe. For us, more Europe means a European Germany,” he said.
“After all, it was from our country that the attempts to destroy everything European, all universal values, were unleashed.”
He pointed out that today’s young Europeans “experience more Europe than everyone else before you”. They were so used to travelling without showing passports or changing money. – (Guardian)