Brussels has proposed a solution to a language row building up steam in the European institutions.
Recently, the Commission has sought to restrict communications to two or three languages. It does not plan to use all 20 of the official tongues; It suggests seven: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Polish and Dutch. Press briefings will throw in the language of the commissioner presenting a piece of business, and perhaps one other, on a rotational basis. It is an attempt to defuse the resentment of those whose languages were not being used, journalists included. Spain, Portugal and Italy vetoed a point in the Employment and Social Protection work programme on Thursday because material on it was only provided in German, French and English. Language equality is enshrined in European treaty. Next week, EU ambassadors will consider a Spanish request to add to the list of official EU languages: Basque, Catalan and Galician.