Friday

26th Apr 2019

Croatian to become 24th EU language

  • Croatian will become the 24st EU language. (Photo: EUobserver)

Croatian will become the European Union's 24th official language when the country joins the EU.

Officials made the decision during talks on Croatia's accession when the negotiating chapter on institutions was closed two weeks ago. In most cases, the EU simply accepts the official language of an acceding country as one of its official languages.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

But in the case of Croatia there had been concerns that some member states would demand that only a single language, a hybrid of Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian and Montenegrin that is understood throughout the region, be admitted. Such a language would not be changed when other Western Balkan states eventually acceded to the EU in order to reduce translating and interpreting costs.

The idea was never proposed officially but diplomats and members of parliament suggested it would be logical if so many people speak the same language under different names. As a model they pointed to the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague where proceedings are translated into a Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian vernacular called BHS.

Some Croatian officials have said in the past that if the EU failed to accept Croatian as an official language it would be almost impossible to get the support of Croatian citizens in a referendum to join the EU.

"For the time being, we will have Croatian as an official language," one EU official said. "When Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro negotiate about membership it might be a different story because millions of euros are spent for the translation of documents and interpretation in the meetings of EU institutions."

The EU rule foresees that a language enshrined as official in a joining country's constitution will become an official EU language as well. This status was awarded to Czech and Slovakian, two languages as similar to one another as Croatian is to Serbian. Statements by Czech officials and Czech films broadcast on Slovak TV are not translated.

Beside the additional burden of Serbian, Bosnian or Montenegrin, the case of Macedonia is likely to pose additional linguistic problems. Many Bulgarians do not recognise the existence of a distinct Macedonian language while Greece objects against the neighbouring country's use of the names Macedonia and Macedonian.

In Croatia, news of the EU's acceptance of Croatian as an official language was welcomed. Prime minister Jadranka Kosor declared it one of the biggest successes in the accession talks.

Greens commit to air quality 'super commissioner'

Following an investigation into the Dieselgate scandal, the European Parliament recommended a single commissioner should be responsible for both air quality and setting industrial standards. But only the Greens want to commit to carry out that advice.

EU and Japan in delicate trade talks

The Japanese PM comes to Brussels to discuss the first results of the new EU-Japan free trade deal, plus WTO reform - a sensitive topic before he moves onto Washington to face Donald Trump.

Opinion

Closer EU-Caribbean ties mean greater prosperity for all

The foreign affairs minister of Haiti calls for the replacement EU-Africa, Caribbean, Pacific 'Cotonou' agreement of 2000 to be updated to take account climate change, infrastructure and tourism to help the country transition away from aid-dependence.

Weber vows to block Nord Stream 2 amid 'sue' threat

Manfred Weber, the leader of the centre-right EPP political group, has vowed to block the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The pledge comes amid a new threat from the CEO of Nord Stream 2 to sue the European Union.

News in Brief

  1. EU: Russian citizenship plan 'attacks' Ukraine sovereignty
  2. Deutsche Bank hands over Trump loan documents
  3. UN: Europe is badly prepared for new refugee crisis
  4. Macron to set out 'Yellow vest' counter measures
  5. Italy requests EU action plan for new Libya migrant wave
  6. Far-right party leaders meet in Prague
  7. Priest shames politicians at reporter's funeral in Belfast
  8. Putin offers Russian citizenship to Ukraine regions

Magazine

All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Greens commit to air quality 'super commissioner'
  2. Far-right Facebook networks removed before Spain election
  3. EU and Japan in delicate trade talks
  4. Closer EU-Caribbean ties mean greater prosperity for all
  5. Details of EU Brexit talks with Blair and Soros kept secret
  6. Weber vows to block Nord Stream 2 amid 'sue' threat
  7. 'Next Juncker' must fix EU's corporate power problem
  8. EU want Facebook pan-EU advert fix for May elections

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us