Some languages just don't make it as official languages in the EUCurrently, each country has the right to have documentation translated into their national language. Every country chooses one main national language as it is assumed, perhaps naively, that everyone in a country is fluent in the national language. Perhaps this is so at MEP level, but practically no French-speaking Belgians (40% of the population) do not speak Flemish Dutch (59% of the population) and vice versa. Some 30% of Latvians have Russian as their mother tongue, which is 50% in the capital Riga (where Nils Ušakovs became the first Mayor of Riga of Russian descent since Latvia's independence) and over that in some areas. Russian and Latvian are not mutually intelligible. More than 10 million people speak Catalan not only in Spain but also in the south of France and Sardinia (Italy). Another Baltic country, Estonia, has close to 30% Russian speakers. Belgians have no problem having documentation in either French or Dutch as those two languages are also official in other member states. Despite the large Russian minority in two member states, Russian is not an official language because no EU country has Russian as its main declared official language.
The controversyThe controversy about the official status of English in a post-Brexit EU began soon after the result was known. Ms Hübner, a European official commenting on the legal consequences of the British referendum to leave the EU said
“English is our official language because it has been notified by the UK. If we don’t have the UK, we don’t have English”The EU takes great pride at its linguistic diversity, making translation a right. It is the largest translation organization in the world. Most scientific publications, business channels and international relations are undertaken in English. It would be ironic that the de facto international language of business and commerce would not be official in the EU because of a lack of English-speaking volunteer countries. And there are only two: The Republic of Ireland and Malta. Ireland has already named Gaelic as its national language. What a turn of history it would be for the Irish to rescue the English language. Malta has become a kind of international destination to learn English in the sun. However, despite English being widely spoken and used in the island, the national language of Malta is Maltese, the only Semitic language spoken natively in Europe.