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Podiumsteilnehmende v.l.n.r. Laura Tarragona-Sáez, Rosa Omeñaca-Prado, Andris Piebalgs, Norma Kessler© Bernhard Ludewig

15 June 2015
German in the EU

What does it look like, how can it be shaped, the role of German in the institutions of the European Union? It was an extremely interesting discussion that unfolded on this topic on 15 June 2015 in the plenary hall of the Akademie der Künste on Pariser Platz in Berlin.

MinDirig. Dr. Peter Ptassek welcomed those present and Mr. Johannes Ebert, Secretary General of the Goethe-Institut, gave an introduction to the topic. Mr Andris Piebalgs and Ms Laura Tarragona-Sáez provided insights into the internal perspective of the institutions of the European Union. Ms Norma Kessler also joined them on the podium for the discussion. The contributions of the panellists ranged from analyses of the reasons for the Germans' reluctance to adopt a language policy to a growing interest in the German language that can be observed worldwide as well as targeted support measures - with special appreciation of the courses of the Europanetzwerk Deutsch - to pleas for more linguistic self-confidence.

Greeting and opening address

Dr. Peter Ptassek

"What concerns the citizen in his everyday life must also be made plausible and explained in the horizon of his political reality and in his language."
"This mixture of language course and encounter makes the Europanetzwerk Deutsch a special programme that promotes cooperation in the EU."

Deputy Head of the European Department of the Federal Foreign Office and Commissioner for EU Policy Issues 

Listen to the full greeting in german

Johannes Ebert

"With this scholarship programme, the Federal Government is working within the framework of its cultural relations and education policy to promote a multilingual Europe in which the German language is also actively used for communication in and with Europe."
"I am convinced that together we should and can develop clever models of how to use our linguistic wealth for the benefit of all."
Secretary-General of the Goethe-Institut

Listen to the full speech in german


Listen to the complete discussion

Here you can listen to the entire panel discussion in german:

Contributions panel discussion

Andris Piebalgs

"You gain trust with other people's mother tongue. And the others understand what I mean and I have an interest in them."

Politician, diplomat and former EU Commissioner

Laura Tarragona-Sáez

"Slowly we are reaching the end of our multilingualism and we all speak only English (...) We have to start by being brave, by having the courage to defend our multilingualism, in everyday life, in the office. That we don't let [this] be taken away from us."
Head of Communication & Marketing of the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO)

Norma Kessler

"I think that is very important,(...) that people are taken seriously as citizens, and that is only possible in their mother tongue, and I think the EU has a duty to make an effort here, because not everyone is so language-savvy or wants to learn a language."
Former Vice-President of the Federal Association of German Interpreters and Translators

Rosa Omeñaca-Prado

Born in Bilbao in northern Spain, studied in Germany.
Works as a presenter, announcer, reporter and editor