This page complements the sections « History » and “Events” by providing an overview of the milestones that have marked the Language Policy Programme between 1954 and 2018.

  • Three conventions and 14 Recommendations and Resolutions of the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe concern language policy: due to their number, these official texts are not featured in this page but are available in the section Official texts
  • Conference reports are available in the section Selection of major texts and reports (with summaries) 
  • The section Main instruments, guides and manuals provides an insight into the outcomes of the successive projects. 
  • Only major events are mentioned below. The full list is available in Section Events.


European Cultural Convention – Article 2:

Each Contracting Party shall, in so far as may be possible
a) encourage the study by its own nationals of the languages, history and civilisation of the other Contracting Parties and grant facilities to those Parties to promote such studies in its territory; and
b) endeavour to promote the study of its language or languages, history and civilisation in the territory of the other Contracting Parties and grant facilities to the nationals of those Parties to pursue such studies in its territory


First intergovernmental conference on European co-operation in language teaching


Second Conference of Ministers of Education (Hamburg): Resolution N°6 on the expansion and improvement of modern language teaching


Third Conference of Ministers of Education (Rome): Resolution N° 2 on the teaching of modern languages

Establishment of the Council for Cultural Co-operation (CDCC) – 21 states – which adopted the teaching of modern languages as one of its major projects.

Ministries of education in member states invited to investigate the existing state of affairs with regard to modern language teaching

1963-1972:  Launch of the first major project on modern language teaching


Establishment of the Modern Languages Section (now the Language Policy Programme)


The Council of Europe sets up a network of ‘official modern language correspondents’ in all member states of the Council for Cultural Co-operation 


Publication: A model for the definition of language needs of adults learning a modern language


Publication: “Modern Languages in School” including country reports on 20 states that were party to the Council for Cultural Co-operation (CDCC)

1971-1977: Project: “Feasibility of a unit-credit scheme for language learning in adult education”


Publication of first ‘Threshold Level’ specification 


Based on Threshold level specifications, launch of the production of multimedia courses by external partners (eg. the BBC's “Follow me”, a series of language teaching programmes broadcast in China in 1983 and watched by one hundred million people)


Publication : Modern Languages 1971-1981

1981 - 1988: Project N° 12: “Language Learning and Teaching for Communication” , which included a series of international teacher training workshops


Final Conference of the Project: “Language learning in Europe: the challenge of diversity”

Publication of Communication in the Modern Languages Classroom, a milestone publication that provided a link between Council of Europe policy documents and classroom practice

  1989 – 1997: Project: “Language learning and democratic citizenship” including a series of 18 tandem international seminars (‘new-style’ workshops)


Symposium on Transparency and coherence in language learning in Europe: Objectives, evaluation, certification, Rüschlikon, which marked the starting point of the development of the “Common European Framework of Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment” (CEFR):

  • 1996: First version submitted to 2000 experts for feedback
  • 1997: Revised version presented at the Conference on “Language learning for a new Europe”
  • 1998-2000: piloting and revision
  • 2001: official launch of the CEFR – in due course it is adopted by almost all member states for their education systems, but also well beyond Europe
  • 2015: thanks to the initiative of national authorities, the CEFR is available in 40 European and non-European languages.


European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) established in Graz (Austria) as a Partial Agreement to complement the activities of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. As determinated by the Committee of Ministers, the ECML is responsible for training, research and the implementation of language policy developed in Strasbourg


Final Conference of the Project Language learning for a new Europe which introduced the innovative concept of ‘plurilingualism’ (vs ‘multilingualism’) introduced in the draft CEFR

Creation of the first Language Policy website (

1997-2001: Project: "Language Policies for a Multilingual and Multicultural Europe"


Intergovernmental Conference on "Linguistic Diversity for Democratic Citizenship in Europe", Innsbruck

Beginning of planning for the European Year of Languages


European Year of Languages Campaign (EYL)

Official launch of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment (CEFR)

Official launch of the European Language Portfolio (ELP)


Publication of the “Final Evaluation Report on the European Year of Languages”

Celebration of the European Day of Languages becomes an annual event (


Publication From linguistic diversity to plurilingual education – Guide for the development of language education policies in Europe (2 versions), accompanied by 21 Reference Studies on key policy issues


Launch of the analysis and assistance activity for states, regions and cities: Language Education Policy Profiles. 18 Profiles completed by 2017 (end of the activity)


The European Union and CEDEFOP launch the online Europass website, which includes a language passport based on the Council of Europe’s European Language Portfolio (example of co-operation with the EU)


Launch of the Project “Languages of Schooling”: academic seminar (Krakow) and intergovernmental conference (Strasbourg) 


Major Intergovernmental Policy Forum: “The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and the development of language policies: challenges and responsibilities” which discussed responsibilities of member states

Intergovernmental Conference: “Languages of schooling within a European framework for languages of education: learning, teaching, assessment”

Launch of the project on Romani: first intergovernmental seminar to introduce Curriculum Framework for Romani


Launch of the Project on Linguistic Integration of adult migrants (LIAM): first survey of policy and practice in member states and first intergovernmental conference

  • Two collections published: thematic studies and case studies
  • Launch of the first version of the LIAM website:

Second intergovernmental seminar: “Teaching Romani: Curriculum Framework for Romani and European Language Portfolio” and publication of revised tools

Launch of the first version of the website for the European Language Portfolio


Intergovernmental Conference: “Languages of schooling and the right to plurilingual and intercultural education”


Intergovernmental Policy Forum (Geneva): “The right of learners to quality and equity in education – the role of language and intercultural skills”

  • Collection of more than 15 studies, guides and manuals

Second Intergovernmental Conference on “The linguistic integration of adult migrants: Ways of evaluating policy and practice” preceded by the second survey of policy and practice in member states

Launch of the first version of the Platform of resources and references for plurilingual and intercultural education offering exhaustive resources:

European Language Portfolio (ELP): end of accreditation of ELPs by the “ELP Validation Committee” (118 models accredited in total). Online registration system from 2011 to 2014 (23 models). From 2015: online guidance.


Intergovernmental Seminar: “Meeting the challenge of multilingual classrooms: exploiting plurilingual repertoires, managing transitions and developing proficiency in the language(s) of schooling” and three related thematic seminars (languages of education) 


Intergovernmental Conference on “Quality and inclusion in education: the unique role of language”


Third Intergovernmental Conference: “Quality in the Linguistic Integration of Adult Migrants (LIAM): from values to policy and practice” preceded by the third survey of policy and practice in member states. Report analysing trends across three surveys

Publications (among others):

  • The Linguistic Integration of Adult Migrants - from one country to another, from one language to another
  • Linguistic Integration of Adult Migrants - Guide to policy development and implementation


Intergovernmental Conference on ”The language dimension in all subjects: equity and quality in education”

Publications - Major policy documents:

  • Guide for the development and implementation of curricula for plurilingual and intercultural education (with two satellite studies)
  • A handbook for curriculum development and teacher training: the language dimension in all subjects
  • The place of the languages of schooling in the curricula (history, literature, mathematics and sciences)
  • Education, mobility, otherness. The mediation functions of schools


Academic Symposium: “The linguistic integration of adult migrants: some lessons from research”

Bilingual publication (2017) : L'intégration linguistique des migrants adultes : les enseignements de la recherche / The linguistic integration of adult migrants: Lessons from research


Website / Toolkit in seven languages : “Language Support for Adult Refugees : a Council of Europe toolkit” ( and Launch Conference

Launch of an exhaustive website for the CEFR:


Publication of the CEFR-Companion Volume with additional descriptors to complement the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment; launch conference