Will English remain an official EU language after Brexit?

English has been an official language of the EU since 1973.
English has been an official language of the EU since 1973. Copyright Olivier Hoslet, Pool via AP
Copyright Olivier Hoslet, Pool via AP
By The Cube
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The European Commission has stated that any decision on this would need the support of a unanimous vote in the European Parliament.


English will remain an official language of the European Union in 2021 after Brexit, the European Commission has confirmed.

Rumours had spread online, suggesting the EU was set to ditch the language after Brexit takes proper effect on Friday (January 1, 2021).

An article in Scottish newspaper The National had quoted a European affairs correspondent who claimed that English was "set to become downgraded to a 'working language' after member states opted against using it for translations of documents." These reports were also shared by The New European.

Back in 2016, a prominent MEP was quoted as saying that “if we don’t have the UK, we don’t have English”.

But in a statement to Euronews, the EU firmly denied the rumours.

"This is not at all true," said a European Commission spokesperson for the EU-UK negotiations. "English will remain an official language.”

English has been an official language of the bloc since 1973. While the UK was the only EU country that gave English as its official language, other member states commonly use English and have nominated a different official EU language.

On the European Union's official website, the bloc also reiterates that "even after the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU, English remains one of the official languages of Ireland and Malta".

After the UK's referendum in June 2016, the European Commission also reiterated in a statement that any change to the EU institutions' language regime is subject to a unanimous vote of the European Council.

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