At European level, both the Council of Europe and the European Union have a direct role and interest in language policy.
In this context two distinct terms are used: 'plurilingualism' and 'multilingualism'. The Council of Europe emphasises 'plurilingualism', or the individual level, where plurilingual individuals use a variety of languages for different purposes, may possess different languages at different levels and have a greater awareness of languages than monolingual individuals. The Europan Union focuses more on language diversity and multiculturalism. The efforts made by the European Union instances address the collective level, such as education systems, economies, regions and countries. Plurilingual individuals may find themselves in monolingual or multilingual regions. Both sets of priorities very much complement each other.
The European Union multilingual policy is founded on the Barcelona Declaration (2002). This Declaration of the European Council established the long term goal of '1+2', or for all Europeans to be proficient in two European languages besides their mother tongue by 2020. It also directed the Commission to carry out comparative research in this area and develop an EU 'indicator of language competence'. A variety reports now feed into the EU evidence-based multilingual policy.
From Linguistic Diversity to Plurilingual Education is the Council of Europe 'Guide for the Developm ...
Key Competences for Life Long Learning European reference Framework (2007) Read more
Multilingualism: An Asset for Europe and a Shared Commitment report Read more.
EU working document including section on European benchmarks on language competences. Read more