Expert: It will take 20 years for EU's English language to change
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The French President introduced a new national identity card claiming it will be more “secure” and “modern” by including details of the citizen holding the document both in French and in English. The move infuriated politicians and newspapers in France.
French daily Causeur said the decision would be in breach of Article 2 of the French Constitution of 1958 which states that “the language of the Republic is French”.
The blasted: “In 1921, an identity card – the CNI – was created in French, and not otherwise. This document, enriched by the law of October 27, 1940, with a fingerprint, justifies the identity of the person and our common identity.
“Now in 2021 the French government announces the creation of a new identity card, more ‘secure’, modern, you mean, European, in Franco-English!
“Double forfeiture: civic and linguistic.”
French MP N. Dupont-Aignan (Debout la France) also lambasted the decision.
He tweeted: “After English as a working language in the EU, now the globalists are forcing English on us on the new national identity card!
“All this in violation of the Villers-Cotterets Ordinance and Article 2 of the Constitution.
“When will we stop this rush that erases our heritage, our culture, our language?
“For the first time, our identity card will become bilingual. Unheard of. Make the globalists explain the erasure of France that they are organising.”
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PS senator of Charentes Maritimes, Mickaël Vallet said “a document such as the national identity card must not include elements in a foreign language”, as he published a press release on his Twitter account.
He explained that “this device is not explicitly provided for by the decree of March 13, 2020” relating to the new card, and that such an important document “cannot make English appear at the same level as French, which remains the official language of the Republic under Article 2 of the Constitution.”
“This article of the Constitution that deals with the sovereignty of the country is clear”, he said.
“But can we therefore consider that the appearance of references to the identity of a person in two languages, French and English, is nonetheless an infringement of the Constitution?”
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But for Michel Lascombe, constitutional law specialist, the appearance of English together with French on an identity document is not an infringement of the Constitution.
“This is misplaced chauvinism,” he said.
He added: “To travel in Europe, you only need your identity card, so it is clear that here, the use of English is intended to facilitate checks in the Schengen area.”
For the constitutional expert, this bilingualism would even be in accordance with the European Union regulation of June 20, 2019, according to which “the title of the document should also appear in at least one other additional official language of the institutions of the Union.”
Mr Lascombe thus recalled that, according to a decision of the Council of State, community treaties, like those ratified by the European Union, prevail over the law or the Constitution of one of these countries.
According to a version confirmed by the press service of the Interior Ministry, “English is, and remains to be, an official language of the institutions of the European Union, even though the United Kingdom has left.
“The fact that the identity card becomes a travel document within the EU supposes that it is understood in the greatest number of countries.”
It should also be remembered that passports have been in French and English for a long time, without anyone worrying about the disappearance of the French language.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
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