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I was reading about the election of Jeremy Corbyn to the head of the Labour Party in the UK and that he is not necessarily that committed to staying in the EU...So I'm not exactly sure who's going to be fighting for the UK to remain in the Union. In any case, the whole thing got me thinking: what would happen to the English booth at the institutions if be if the UK left the EU? A few things to mull over:

1) 73 fewer MEPs so simply fewer meetings in Parliament? Ergo less demand. 2) What would happen to the staff interpreters from the UK who are no longer from an EU Member State? 3) Not much change as English is the lingua franca and thus the English booth will be required to serve the needs of globish/ so-called 'Eeenglish' speakers and for the Maltese/Irish anyway?

Please share your thoughts (EN/FR/DE/ES)

asked 14 Sep '15, 11:13

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edited 26 Jun '16, 06:49

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦

The EP, EC and other bodies have hired staff that for some only is able to speak their own language plus English. In reduced language regimes, these people need to speak English and possibly to listen to the EN booth. So it'd take a few years if not decades to get rid of EN as one of the de facto working languages of the EC.

Also, EN is needed in many instances as the pivotal language for the so called EUR13 (enlargment) languages and that won't change over night either.

Changes would mostly concern freelancers and the next generation of interpreters, both groups which are regularly reminded that changes in demand can't be predicted and that nothing can be taken as granted. So in a nutshell, whatever will be, will be.

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answered 14 Sep '15, 11:43

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Gaspar ♦♦

edited 14 Sep '15, 11:44

It will be interesting see now (post-UK referendum) if MEPs and European diplomats revert to speaking their own languages a little more. Politically and practically it would seem logical (though my hopes aren't high!)

(27 Jun '16, 12:23) Andy

The English language, left to the garrulous Irish and hordes of non-native gabbers of varying linguistic ability, would surely experience a revival of sorts...

The English booth will keep a stiff upper lip for the most part and remain imperturbably immersed in the Sunday Times all week long, whilst the renegades will provide a running commentary of the goings-on, perhaps even on Facebook.

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answered 14 Sep '15, 12:36

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

I came across an interesting article which partially answers the second question I asked:

What would happen to the staff interpreters from the UK who are no longer from an EU Member State?

Here's the article

"Under article 49 of the EU staff regulation they [i.e. British nationals] could be forced to go because they no longer fulfill article 28a eligibility criteria, on being a national of an EU country.

It wasn't invoked on Norway. But neither the commission or the British government want to speculate if the UK would get the same treatment."

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answered 09 Feb '16, 05:23

Sam's gravatar image


Junker's letter to EC staff:

Dear colleagues, Yesterday, the citizens of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. This result makes me personally very sad – but I respect their choice.

I know that many of you are concerned about your future after this vote. I fully understand that. So I want to send a clear message to you, colleagues, and especially to colleagues of British nationality. According to our Staff Regulations, you are "Union officials". You work for Europe. You left your national 'hats' at the door when you joined this institution and that door is not closing on you now.

As European civil servants you have always been loyal to our Union, contributing tremendously to our common European project. And so it will be in this spirit of reciprocal loyalty that I will work together with the Presidents of the other European institutions to ensure that we can all continue counting on your outstanding talent, experience and commitment. I know you all have legitimate expectations about your rights and duties, your families who might have followed you to Brussels and your children who might be enrolled in schools here.

Let me assure you that I will do everything in my power as President of the Commission, to support and help you in this difficult process. Our Staff Regulations will be read and applied in a European spirit.

In the coming days and weeks, you will all have the opportunity to show the European Commission at its best. The eyes of the world will be upon us, expecting us to provide stability, act decisively and uphold Europe's values. I have every confidence in you. Together we will rise to that task.

Jean-Claude Juncker


Further reading:

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answered 26 Jun '16, 07:04

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Gaspar ♦♦


He pointedly doesn't say they'll keep their jobs though does he?

(27 Jun '16, 03:29) Andy

What about this article?

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answered 27 Jun '16, 13:15

Oaz's gravatar image


Il y a un élément qui semble systématiquement perdu de vue : une langue officielle, c'est juste une langue dans laquelle l'UE a l'obligation de publier les règlements et directives, pour que la législation puisse être lue et comprise par les citoyens et les justiciables.

Rien n'empêche d'utiliser l'anglais comme langue de travail au sein des bâtiments de l'UE pour autant. On a bien des cabines chinoises, arabes, turques, russes, et bien d'autres encore, quand le besoin s'en fait sentir.

(28 Jun '16, 04:24) Gaspar ♦♦

Je compte me lancer dans un master en interprétation bientôt. J'ai l'anglais/allemand et d'autres langues. Penses-tu que cela affectera les interprètes francophones ayant l'anglais comme langue de travail ou il faudra la remplacer par une langue rare?

(28 Jun '16, 05:35) Oaz
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question asked: 14 Sep '15, 11:13

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