Approach of the European Court of Justice on Accommodation of the European Language Diversity in the Internal Market: Overcoming Language Barriers or Fostering Linguistic Diversity?
THE COLUMBIA JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN LAW, Vol. 18, No. 2, Spring 2012
35 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2013 Last revised: 27 Apr 2015
Date Written: December 9, 2013
The principles on which the European internal market is based advocate minimum intervention by the authorities in the economy, as well as the removal of those requirements, obligations, or limits that prevent or hinder economic freedoms. Within this framework, linguistic requirements established at the state or sub-state level could be suspected as impermissibly obstructing the free market within Europe. Even when language policies are set down by means of conceding aid or advantages for the purpose of promoting the use of the official national languages, they could be viewed as negatively affecting free competition. Given the creeping expansion of the Union’s competence to remove internal barriers, linguistic matters have been considered to be domestic issues that each European State must assess individually. However, problems arise when the policy of removing barriers limits the powers of the domestic public authorities to intervene within the market. European Union primary law has not directly addressed this area of friction, which can be identified as the level to which cultural and linguistic promotion can justify restrictions on European Community freedoms. At present, the European Court of Justice has been charged with finding an equilibrium between freedom of movement and guaranteeing European linguistic diversity. This Article discusses the European Court of Justice’s approach to accommodating linguistic diversity within the European internal market and its role in shaping linguistic law within the Community freedoms.
Keywords: Linguistic Diversity, Internal Market, European Union Law, Language Law, Languages, Case Law
JEL Classification: K11, K20, K23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation