EU accession countries hit language barrier

The European Commission has raised fears that citizens of some countries joining the EU in May could defy EU regulations because they may not all have been translated into their national language.

News service MaltaMedia has reported concern from officials working for EU Enlargement Commissioner Günter Verheugen that the translation of the 85,000-page ‘acquis communautaire’ was behind schedule, especially in small countries such as Malta and Estonia, where few specialist translators are available. Indeed, MaltaMedia claimed that Malta might not finish the job until September.

Meanwhile, Verheugen’s officials admitted that EU citizens can claim at the European Court of Justice that an EU law does not apply to them if “not published in their native tongue”.