On March 6, the European Union and India, each of which have 23 official languages, signed a joint declaration on multilingualism. With this declaration, the European Commission and the Indian government hope to promote cooperation and dialogue on major issues including linguistic diversity and intercultural exchange, the effects of language on ability to enter the workforce, business competitiveness and social cohesion, lifelong language learning, new language learning technology, and terminology.
“India’s experience in managing linguistic diversity is unique in the world, and I am certain that the EU and India can draw on each other’s experience in the field,” stated EU Commissioner for Multilingualism Leonard Orban.
“This joint declaration follows on the heels of the EU-India Summit held in Marseille on September 29, 2008, during which the EU and India agreed to open talks aimed at promoting languages, intercultural exchange, and multilingualism,” adds the news release.
“With a population of some 1.1 billion, India is a unique example of ethnic, sociocultural, and religious diversity as well significant linguistic diversity […]. The similarity with the European Union in terms of linguistic landscape makes India an excellent partner for Europe in matters of multilingualism. This joint declaration is a precursor to regular discussions and the exchange of best practices.”