Engxit? EU may no longer speak the Queen's language

Jun 29, 2016, 06:01 IST | Agencies

UK is the only state among the 28 EU members to have registered English as a primary language

London: The English language may be one of the casualties of Brexit as it emerged that no state other than the UK has registered it as a primary language among the 28 countries within the European Union.

Protesters demonstrate outside Downing Street following the UK’s decision to leave the EU. Pics/Getty Images

English has been the top choice for EU institutions but Britain’s vote to leave the union last week could trigger a ban on its use. “We have a regulation where every EU country has the right to notify one official language,” Danuta Hubner, the Polish MEP or Member of European Parliament who heads the European Parliament’s constitutional affairs committee, said in Brussels yesterday.

“The Irish have notified Gaelic and the Maltese have notified Maltese, so you have only the UK notifying English,” she said in reference to the fact that English is in everyday use in member countries Ireland and Malta.

Hubner said that although English was the “dominant language” used by the EU civil servants and MEPs, in legal terms “if you do not have the UK, you do not have English”, The Times reported.

Regulations would have to be changed to retain the language, requiring a unanimous vote from the 27 states. The EU has 24 official languages but for daily business, the European Commission and council of ministers use English, French and German.

“We have a series of member states that speak English, and English is the world language which we all accept,” said German EU commissioner Gunther Oettinger, before joking that if Scotland was to join separately, it could apply for English as their primary

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