The European Day of Languages (EDL) turns twenty this year. Established in 2001, on the initiative of the Council of Europe and in collaboration with the European Commission, the EDL is celebrated every year on 26 September.

The initiative’s overall aim is to draw attention to Europe’s rich linguistic and cultural diversity, which we should strive to maintain and encourage. The day also shines a light on the need to increase the range of languages taught, to develop multilingual skills, and to enrich inter-cultural understanding.

This moment of reflection also presents us with an opportunity to celebrate all the languages spoken in Europe, including those that are less widespread and those spoken by migrants.

The more languages we speak, the more cultures we understand, and the fewer wars we fight.

It is estimated that there are over 225 indigenous languages in Europe, not counting those spoken by citizens from other continents.

The European Day of Languages pursues several objectives, which include raising public awareness of the importance of language learning to foster multilingualism and inter-cultural understanding, promoting Europe’s rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and encouraging language learning in and after school.


Giuseppe Zaffuto, spokesperson for the Council of Europe for Italy

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