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EU Language Policy

European Year of Languages 2001

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The European Year of Languages 2001 was organised by the European Union and the Council of Europe. Forty-five European countries participated.

The main messages of the European Year of Languages were:

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  1. Europe is multilingual and always will be
  2. Learning languages brings people opportunities
  3. Everyone can do it


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  1. National co-ordinating bodies were set up by each participating country
  2. European opening and final events were organised in Lund, Sweden (18-20 February) and Brussels, Belgium (7-8 December)
  3. National launch events were held in all Member States
  4. A Eurobarometer public opinion survey on languages was completed in December 2000 and results announced in February 2001
  5. A joint European Commission/Council of Europe website in eleven languages was developed and updated throughout the Year
  6. Celebrities from sport and the arts, as well as leading politicians, helped to promote the Year in most participating countries
  7. "Languages lift-off" balloon launches organised by the Commission, in co-operation with radio stations, took place across Europe on the European Day of Languages, 26 September


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  1. 10.95 million euros was the total European Commission budget for the European Year, including the preparatory year in 2000
  2. 200 European Year projects were funded by the Commission, to a total of about 6 million euros
  3. 1 310 projects applied for funding
  4. 1 000 000 copies of European Year publications were distributed, including 500 000 of the joint Commission/Council of Europe Guide "How you can learn languages" 
  5. 4 000 000 promotional items were distributed by the Commission, including postcards, pens, t-shirts, mousemats, stickers…..and more
  6. many thousands of events took place at national, regional and local level throughout the Year
  7. at least 70 national newspapers, and many television and radio stations across the EU covered the European Year
  8. hundreds of thousands of people visited European Year stands at open days, fairs and exhibitions across Europe