Make English an official language in Luxembourg, asks for the petition


Make English an official language in Luxembourg, asks for the petition

Languages

English should be granted official status to attract a wider range of talent to the workforce, petition says, though a similar appeal failed in 2019

English should be granted official status to attract a wider range of talent to the workforce, petition says, though a similar appeal failed in 2019

Adopting English as official language would attract more international talent to Luxembourg, petition says

Photo credit: LW Archives

English is set to become one of Luxembourg’s official languages ​​in order to attract more international talent, according to a public petition which marks a new effort to start a debate on the country’s crowded linguistic makeup.

The petition, which was opened for signature on Tuesday, comes two years after a similar appeal failed to garner enough support to move forward. Only 1,365 people supported the proposal in 2019, well below the minimum threshold of 4,500 required for the issue to be debated in parliament.

The last petition calls for the addition of English as an official language, thus joining the current Luxembourgish, French and German trio. This “would attract non-French speaking talents” and would promote “global integration”, specifies the petition, in a country where a little more than half of the population is foreign, a figure which rises to 70% in the capital.

“Not speaking French remains a major obstacle in business (especially the banking sector) and in everyday life. French is no longer used as a common language in the country because English has prevailed. The country could attract more talent if French was no longer a barrier, ”wrote Tolga Saglik, who started the petition.

Members of Parliament are required to discuss any petition that collects at least 4,500 signatures within 42 days, with some proposals becoming law.

The status of languages ​​is a frequent source of petitions. Another petition, also currently open for signature, opposes any change in the requirement to take a test in Luxembourgish as a prerequisite for citizenship. It comes just weeks after a petition urging the government to drop the obligation to learn Luxembourgish and instead offer the citizenship test in French or German failed to get enough signatures.

In 2016, a petition calling for Luxembourgish to become the first official language of the country’s constitution received a record 14,500 signatures. However, the file did not advance in the Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies.

Luxembourgish is the most spoken language at home in the country, but French is the dominant language at work, according to a 2019 study by the national statistical agency Statec.

However, the demand for English is increasing with more than half of all vacancies posted by the country’s employment agency Adem this year asking for English skills. English could become the dominant working language in Luxembourg in the future, University of Luxembourg sociologist Fernand Fehlen said in April.

The latest English petition is one of 16 that were opened for signature on Tuesday covering a wide range of topics, including a request to reduce the residency requirement from 20 years to 10 years before obtaining nationality Luxembourgish.




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