Wales In The EU
The use of Welsh on the international stage takes a major step forward today [15 July] following a decision by
the European Union Council of Ministers.
They have decided that in future, Ministers will be able to speak in Welsh when representing the UK at the Council
of Ministers and have their words translated simultaneously. Citizens will also be able to write in Welsh to office
holders at the Council.
The decision of the Council is based on three way co-operation with the Council, the UK Government and the Welsh
Assembly Government. The arrangement will become operative after a panel of Welsh interpreters have been assessed
as meeting the international proficiency level demanded by the EU institutions.
The decision will open the way for negotiations with other EU institutions to allow for a use of Welsh.
The commitment to make an official application to the Council of Ministers for the Welsh language to receive
official EU language and working language status was included in the One Wales agreement, which celebrates its
first anniversary today.
Speaking after today’s Council decision, the First Minister Rhodri Morgan said:
This is an historic development for the Welsh language and shows recognition in the European Union for cultural and
linguistic diversity. It illustrates how strong co-operation between the Welsh Assembly Government and the UK
government can bring about practical outcomes for Wales in Europe.
Heritage Minister, Rhodri Glyn Thomas said:
This is another important milestone for the Welsh language and a very welcome recognition from the EU’s most
powerful institution. I look forward now to seeing other European Union institutions following the Council’s lead
to facilitate a wider use of Welsh.
by +Owen Jones