The French European Affairs Minister announced a new plan to highlight the French language and relaunch its use within international bodies, particularly in the EU. Mr Clement, together with the French Tourism Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoynem, will be pushing for French to replace English as the EU’s official language now that the UK has left the bloc.
They wrote in Le Figaro: “’Honni est qui mal y pensant’, in French, has been the motto of the Order of the Garter, the most important of British chivalry, since the 14th century.
“If the English continue to speak French, why should we Europeans not do the same?
“Even though the French language is alive, flourishing, its teaching is developing throughout the world, it is with us, within the institutions of Europe, that it suffers.
“Let’s lead the fight!”
The pair lamented the continued use of English in working meetings in the European Commission and the European Council.
The wrote: “In the Commission, in the Council of the European Union, in the agencies, bodies and administrations, working meetings are now too often held in English, giving rise to reports and communications in English, even though this language is not is now more than that of two Member States.
“To think in a language is to adopt its codes, concepts and ways of thinking.
French right-wing commentator Éric Zemmour said the English language had “crushed” French and called for a boycott of English in the EU.
Mr Zemmour argued, now the UK has left the Brussels bloc and only two countries remain in the EU with their first language as English, it was time to recall French as the EU’s official language.
He said: “English has completely crushed other languages, especially French.
“Indeed if the British had not left, if Brexit hadn’t happened, we would not be having this discussion.
“English was accepted by everyone, including the French.”
He continued: “Now that the UK is gone, there are now only two English speaking countries: Malta and Ireland.
“Not that many compared to the entire EU population.
“I think this is the time to launch a counter-offensive in favour of French, to recall that French was the original language of EU institutions, that English shouldn’t have replaced it and that there is no reason to speak English now that the English are gone.”