Emmanuel Macron sensationally plans to remove English from all EU meetings and replace it with French once the country takes control of the bloc’s rotating presidency next year.
Currently, English is the ‘working language’ of the EU and is used in high-level meetings between representatives from the bloc’s 27 member states.
But sources suggest French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron, 43, plans to introduce French as the main language used by EU diplomats.
Macron hopes to implement the new rule once France gains control of the rolling six-month EU presidency in 2022.
The news comes as the French Prime Minister was punched in the face today while traveling to the Drôme region of southeastern France.
The attacker grabbed the French president’s arm, appeared to stop him for a chat, before shouting “Down with Macronia” (“A Bas La Macronie”) as he delivered the punch.
Bodyguards quickly grabbed the man and bundled him to the ground, while a member of Macron’s security detail led the president to safety.
French President Emmanuel Macron, 43, plans to drop the use of English in EU meetings once France takes control of the advancing EU presidency in 2022
The French president would weigh the decision to replace English with French at meetings to be held across the bloc from next year.
Macron is considering plans to hold all meetings in Brussels in French and there are suggestions that he will ignore letters from the European Commission if they are written in English. The Express.
Minutes and official documents are also expected to be communicated in French, according to sources familiar with the arrangement.
A senior French diplomat told Politico: ‘Even if we admit that English is a working language and widely practiced, the basis for expressing oneself in French remains fully present in the EU institutions.
“We need to enrich it and bring it back to life so that the French language really gains ground again, and above all the taste and pride of multilingualism.”
Currently, English is the working language used in most assemblies of the European Union
French is already one of the EU’s three ‘working languages’, alongside English and German, but Macron and his ministers plan to revive the language across the bloc.
Money could be set aside for language lessons for EU diplomats, and only French-language debates are earmarked.
But the move has been criticized by EU insiders, who fear the crippling effect it could have on meetings mostly held in English.
An unnamed diplomat explained to Politico: ‘Many national representatives in EU working groups simply don’t understand or speak French.
“It is hoped that France will eventually adopt a pragmatic language approach.”
There are also concerns about the impact such a move could have on further frustrating UK-EU relations.
France will hold the temporary EU presidency from January to June next year – for the first time since 2008.
French ministers Clement Beaune and Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne argued in April that taking control of the presidency created an “opportunity to uphold this vital struggle for multilingualism.”
Earlier today, Macron faced fresh protests from some French voters, with two men being arrested after the French prime minister was punched in the face during a meet and greet event in the village of Tain-l’Hermitage.
OW REVOIR: French President Emmanuel Macron was punched in the face by a man on Tuesday while traveling to southeastern France, an aide said
In a video circulating on social media, Macron, dressed in shirtsleeves, was seen walking towards a crowd of well-wishers who were behind a metal barrier outside the culinary school.
“Mr Macron seemed very relaxed and thought he was well received by those watching him,” said an eyewitness.
He was standing outside a catering school when he reached out with his right hand to a man who promptly grabbed him.
“Then the man punched the president in the face before Mr. Macron was pulled away by guards.”
The president’s bodyguards grabbed the man and bundled him to the ground, while a member of Macron’s security detail brought the president to safety.
The attack represents a serious breach of security and overshadows the start of Macron’s ‘Tour de France’, which he said was designed to ‘take the pulse of the nation’ ahead of next year’s elections.