IN NEGOTIATIONS at the European Union, Slovakia will support use of the French language, which along with English is one of the EU’s languages of discussion. On June 4, the Slovak government signed a memorandum about teaching of the French language in the Slovak state administration, which will be a continuation of an existing programme from 2006, the SITA newswire wrote.
“I want to assure you that Slovakia will systematically push through the usage of the French language during addresses of our representatives in Brussels as it is anchored in the new wording of the memorandum,” Slovak Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák said, as cited by SITA, after signing the memorandum in Bratislava.
Lajčák appraised as significant the support and investment which the International Organization of the Francophonie provides to Slovak politicians, diplomats and officers. For example, top Slovak politicians have had the chance to improve their French at a prestigious language course in Avignon. The French Institute in Bratislava has organised language courses for others, which each year are attended by over 200 people from the state administration. This year 41 employees of the Foreign Affairs Ministry have participated.
According to Lajčák, experience has shown that knowledge of the French language is necessary for proper and fruitful promotion of Slovakia’s interests, especially in institutions in Brussels.
French will become an even more frequently used language in the European Union when Belgium takes over the EU presidency at the beginning of July, after the Czech Republic’s current six-month term ends.
At the end of his speech, Lajčák thanked representatives of the International Organization of the Francophonie, the French Republic, and the French Association of the Belgian Kingdom and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg for their financial and professional support towards the spread and teaching of the French language in Slovakia.