“We should refrain from referring to languages spoken by few as ‘small’ languages, as oppose to the big languages- English, French, German, Italian Spanish etc. – but rather as great languages which are less spoken.  There should be no discrimination between languages in the EU,” said MEP Marlene Mizzi. Mizzi was speaking in a PETI committee session in the European Parliament during a debate on the importance of languages of the member states and their use in the education systems.

MEP Mizzi made it amply clear that she stands by promoting one’s language on both a national and European level. This was stated in virtue of a recent petition brought forward by a Bulgarian Citizen to the PETI Committee. The petition in itself aims to uphold and promote the use of all European Languages, not only in the Institutional European Framework though also in the educational systems within member states.

In her intervention, MEP Mizzi has highlighted the importance to preserve the language of a nation, no matter how small its population. Additionally, she has noted that a language gives an individual a sense of identity which can otherwise be lost, especially for citizens who leave their country of origin to reside in other member states. “There is the risk that the culture of the country of origin is diluted when a person resides permanently in another country and this risk is exacerbated if the mother tongue is not used because it is not recognised in that country.   A nation’s mother tongue should not be lost, but preserved and protected,” MEP Mizzi said.

The above was agreed to by the majority of those present, since they also believe that the mother language must always be given importance irrespective of where the citizen is living. Non-recognition of the language of a member state within the education system could be discriminatory towards citizens.

MEP Mizzi has set-out a clear position, that lesser spoken languages should never lose value; this is true for Maltese as it is for other languages which are less spoken. Due to the importance of this issue, MEP Mizzi supported the suggestion that this issue should be escalated to a discussion in plenary.

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