You are on page 1of 1


2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 155 E/63

fact that the provisions of Directive 2001/37/EC, and in particular those on misleading descriptors, are
correctly implemented in all Member States. The Commission will carefully analyse all Member States’
implementing legislation in this regard.

(1) Directive 2001/37/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2001 on the approximation of the laws,
regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States concerning the manufacture, presentation and sale
of tobacco products  Commission statement  OJ L 194, 18.7.2001.

(2003/C 155 E/069) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2904/02

by Nelly Maes (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(16 October 2002)

Subject: Breton

Not long ago, European Languages Day was held. That day, a report was presented concerning Breton, the
only Celtic language which still survives in mainland Europe, which is in danger of extinction.

Of the four million inhabitants of Brittany, only 300 000 now understand Breton. Nineteen years ago the
figure was twice that. More than 80 % of those who still understand Breton are aged over 60. It is a race
against time, because if things continue as they are now, Breton stands no chance of survival. The Bretons
are critical of Paris, which does not officially recognise their language.

There are no subsidies for the 3 000 children who take Breton at school, because apparently no legal basis
for them exists. This is an untenable situation.

Will the Commission take the initiative to create a legal basis, acting on its powers and responsibilities in
the field of education?

Answer given by Mrs Reding on behalf of the Commission

(19 November 2002)

In the area of education, Article 149 of the EC Treaty states very clearly that the content of teaching and
the organisation of education systems are the responsibility of the Member States.

The Community acts within the limits of its powers under the Treaties to safeguard the diversity of
languages used in Europe, particularly in the areas of culture and education. Past action in the area of
regional and minority languages put the focus namely on education in an attempt to preserve language
vitality. In keeping with Article 151(4), which states that cultural aspects must be taken into account in all
activities of the Union, many projects involving regional and minority languages have been financed under
a variety of Community programmes in such policy areas as regional and rural development, information
society and social policy.

Following Council Resolution of 14 February 2002 on the promotion of linguistic diversity and language
learning in the framework of the implementation of the European Year of Languages (1), the Commission
will undertake a wide-ranging consultation based upon a Discussion Document, which will be published
later on in 2002. The outcome of this process will be a Communication to the Parliament and the Council
in mid-2003 on an Action Plan to promote language learning and linguistic diversity based on actions
using resources available in existing Community programmes and activities in which regional and minority
languages will be included too.

(1) OJ C 50, 23.2.2002.