Status of Welsh in the EU Boosted

Article excerpt

The appointment of a European Commissioner in charge of 'multilingualism' should boost the status of the Welsh language in Europe, a Plaid Cymru MEP claims. In the search for jobs for two new Commissioners when Bulgaria and Romania join the EU in January, Brussels has created a language portfolio for Romanian candidate Leonard Orban.

And while the need for such a function raised eyebrows in Brussels, which has just made Irish its 21st official language, the move is seen as a boost for Wales.

Plaid Cymru is campaigning for Welsh to become the 22nd official EU working language and party MEP Jill Evans said, 'I was very encouraged to hear responsibility for multilingualism is to be given to one single EU Commissioner.

'We have been working very hard to raise the profile and increase the status of Welsh in the EU and I hope that this new development will open new opportunities.'

Mr Orban's appointment, subject to formal confirmation, sees a minor area of the EU's civil service responsibilities converted into a full-time job - with the French keen to use the post to help push back the advance of English as the EU's first language.

Ms Evans said that when Mr Orban's appointment is confirmed, she will invite him to Wales. …