That’s it, Macron! As Helsinki switches to English, a bid for French to be the EU’s official language is rejected.
The mayor of Helsinki has hinted that the Finnish capital could soon be designated as an English-speaking city, a blow to growing efforts in the EU to abandon English in favor of French.
The recommendation was presented by Juhana Vartiainen, the incoming mayor of Helsinki, as a strategy to combat a skilled worker shortage in the labor market. The Finnish senator hopes to persuade the 40% of international students who now leave the European capital within a year of graduation.
Civil servants in Finland, a bilingual country, must be fluent in both Finnish and Swedish.
Vartiainen wants to broaden the discussion on making parts of the public sector English-speaking in order to recruit more skilled workers.
The plan is a setback for europhiles in the bloc, who have been campaigning since Brexit for EU member states to abandon English in favor of French or other languages.
For years, French President Emmanuel Macron and his close supporter Clement Beaune have tried to persuade Brussels to abandon English, with one mayor even stating that the UK’s home tongue no longer has “any credibility” in Europe.
After Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to do the same in Quebec, Francophone campaigners have called for the EU to reaffirm French as the bloc’s official language.
An anonymous government source told La Presse that Mr Trudeau will shortly change the Official Languages Act, which has declared English and French as the official languages of the Canadian federal state since 1969.
After the United Kingdom chose to leave the European Union, a French mayor has urged for Brussels to stop using the English language.
English is one of the EU’s 24 “official languages,” as well as one of the “working languages” used in daily business.
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However, in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, Robert Ménard, the mayor of Béziers in southern France, says English no longer has “any credibility” in Brussels.
Meanwhile, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a left-wing presidential contender, has stated that English can no longer be the European Parliament’s “third working language.”
According to The Local, 51% of EU nationals can speak English as a first or second language, with just over a quarter being able to speak French and over a third being able to speak German. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”