Group lobbies for EU French language use

A high-profile Francophile lobby group is pressing for the French language to have precedence in any translation dispute regarding European law.

The Committee for the Language of European Law, supported by ex-Romanian prime minister Adrian Nastase and Polish member of European Parliament (MEP) Bronislaw Geremek, wants French versions of EU law used when there are translation disputes.

The secretary of the Académie Française, Maurice Druon, told the European Parliament this week: “The language of Montesquieu is unbeatable.”

Druon claimed that, while “the Italian language is the language of song, German is good for philosophy and English for poetry, French is best at precision, it has a rigour to it.”

He added: “It’s the safest language for legal purposes.”

Such a dispute arose over the appointment of the director of the EU anti-fraud office OLAF. In French, the guidelines for the appointment process say that the European Commission must consult MEPs and ministers; when translated into German and Polish, however, it says the Commission must secure their agreement.