The U.K.’s departure from the European Union will erode the status of the English language in EU institutions to the benefit of French and German, with the bloc’s executive arm already moving to ditch English from some of its official communications.
Even before the British government has officially lodged its intention to leave, the European Commission has made a symbolic decision to focus on French and German in statements to the press and speeches, according to two EU officials.
Although the EU has 24 official languages, only English, German and French are recognized working languages in the bloc’s executive arm. “We will use more French and German,” said one of the officials.
In his speech to the European Parliament Tuesday, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is expected to address lawmakers in just French and German, the two officials said. That breaks with a long tradition of trilingual speeches by Mr. Juncker.
“English will remain a working language, but of course there is a symbolic move there,” said the first official.