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(An important essay of Aron Lukàcs, Gergely Kovacs College for Modern Business Studies, Tatabànya)


The work of the member states and of the European Union are “managed in accordance with a free competitive economical market” (4th paragraph of the European Community Constitution).

This fundamental principle is absolutely disregarded in the linguistic field.

In this case the use of only one language in the EU seriously conditions the market ad and prevents the free competition. In the short period the citizens and the community of some countries receive a huge benefit from this situation, but this, at the same time, raises many difficulties for the citizens and the community of other EU countries. In the long period this will be an obstacle for the development of the whole Union.

The learning of foreign languages in the EU costs nearly 60 billion Euro a year. This doesn’t include the costs of the journey and of the stay abroad to learn a language. Only for people who have gone to the UK to learn English the amount is of 13 billion. If we consider how much time is spent to learn a foreign language, and we monetize it (in relation to the average labour cost of the EU), we sum up every year about 210 billion Euro.

The cost of translations and interpreting is lower, but not negligible: nearly 6 billion a year. However, there are other relevant factors, but they are much more difficult to quantize. These include the loss of information caused by linguistic problems and the disadvantage to many subjects of the international economy and cooperation. Approximately, the cost of these factors should amount to 70 billion Euro a year.

In this way we reach a total of 350 billion Euro a year, which is more than 3% of the whole GDP of the EU (2006).

Nevertheless, the major problem is not the amount itself, but the distribution of it. It is principally the UK to raise profits from this situation, while the bigger part of the european nations is leaking money. In accordance with my assessment, the citizens of non-anglophone member states of the EU pay 900 Euro a year to the UK in such a concealed way. As this process goes on, the amount of money paid by the european states grows. In twenty years, with an interest rate of 10%, this could reach 55000 Euro per person.


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