GRB Position Paper on ERA Linguistic Arrangements

A clear linguistic regime is essential for the Agency in the design of its processes for its new tasks, more particularly in the way all the actors involved in the processes will coordinate to ensure that these processes are efficient, consistent and safe to the benefit of all these actors.
In the absence of a specific Board decision, the linguistic regime of the Community applies also to the European Union Agency for Railways i.e. Regulation 1/1958 ‘determining the languages to be used by the European Economic Community’.
The regulation foresees that :

  1. The official languages of the Institutions shall be the 24 EU Member States languages.
  2. Documents which a Member State or a person subject to the jurisdiction of a Member State sends to institutions of the Community may be drafted in any one of the official languages selected by the sender. The reply shall be drafted in the same language.
  3. Regulations and other documents (including the OJ) of general application shall be drafted in the official languages.
  4. The institutions may stipulate in their rules of procedure which of the languages are to be used in specific cases.

 
Based on all the inputs collected in the different workshops and the discussions within the Management and Executive Boards (June and September 2016), the Agency made a proposal for linguistic arrangements in four articles. In the light of the vote during the 40th meeting of the Agency’s Management Board, the Group of Representative Bodies (GRB) hands over a Position Paper on “Linguistic Arrangements” where it agrees only partially to the European Union Agency for Railways’ proposaland the outlined key principles.
 
GRB fully underlines the general need to make railways and the sector more efficient and to reduce costs. A sound approach to the linguistic arrangements (with preferably one reference language only) will contribute to cost reduction, efficiency and clarity. The 4th Railway Package’s Technical Pillar paves the way to cheaper and more efficient processes. This goal shall not be endangered by complicated language provisions and linguistic arrangements that hamper lean processes and inevitably let costs explode in the end.
In GRB’s opinion all meetings including the meetings of the Management and the Executive Board and the NSA, NIB and NRB plenaries organised by the Agency shall be in English. Exceptionally and upon special written request the NSA and NIB plenaries could be organized additionally in French and German as the two other reference working languages except if other common working language(s) can be agreed between all involved participants to the meetings. All documents shall be in English.