Friday, May 10, 2013

The EU And Its Languages: Part 2

Yesterday we saw a brief history of the EEC which later became the EU, the countries that formed it and the languages they brought with them. Today we'll be continuing our little history lesson with the Maastricht Treaty, the formation of the EU and countries that became members and brought their cultures and languages with them.

The Colonel Building in the
Dutch city of Maastricht. 
The Maastricht Treaty was signed in 1992 and formally created the European Union. Three years later Austria, Sweden and Finland all joined the club. Austria had little to no worries when it came to linguistic recognition as German had been a permanent fixture since the creation of the EEC. Sweden and Finland, however, led to Swedish and Finnish being added as official languages.

It would take another nine years before the EU would allow any more nations into the community, but when it did it would be the largest expansion to date. On May 1st of 2004, Cyprus, Malta, Slovenia joined, as well as seven former members of the Eastern Bloc: Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia. Czech, Estonian, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Slovak and Slovene all became official languages.

Three years later in 2007, Bulgaria and Romania became EU member states and Bulgarian and Romanian became official languages. Irish also finally gained its official status, no less than 14 years after Ireland joined the EU.

With five years having passed since the last the enlargement, Croatia is due to accede at some point this year and will no doubt bring with it its native language, Croatian.