Education and Languages, Language Policy


Intergovernmental co-operation programmes have been carried out by the Language Policy Unit (formerly Division) in Strasbourg since 1957, and by the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) in Graz, Austria, since it was established by a Partial Agreement in 1994.

Mission of the Language Policy Unit, Strasbourg

Principles and policy


The Unit is responsible for designing and implementing initiatives for the development and analysis of language education policies aimed at promoting linguistic diversity and plurilingualism.


The Unit is particularly well known for its work in developing tools and standards to help member states elaborate transparent and coherent language policies. These instruments, which are disseminated and used not only throughout Europe but all over the world, have become a vital contribution to the establishment of a European education area for modern languages and serve as benchmarks for other bodies and institutions, such as the European Union.

Brief history (1957 – 2001)


Overview of initiatives (Leaflet)


The Unit’s programmes cover all languages - mother tongue/first language/language(s) of education as well as foreign, second or minority languages - and address the needs of all of the 49 states that have ratified the European Cultural Convention.

The initiatives implemented in Strasbourg also provide a forum for debate on policy development.

Mission of the European Centre for Modern Languages, Graz

According to Article 1 of its statute, “the Centre has as its mission the implementation of language policies and the promotion of innovative approaches to the learning and teaching of modern languages” (Appendix to Resolution (98) 11)
To respond to this mission the ECML organises international language education projects primarily targeting teacher trainers, researchers and key multipliers in the field. These essentially aim to raise awareness on critical issues, provide training to language education practitioners and facilitate networks of specialists.
The ECML offers educational facilities at its premises in Graz, including a resource centre housing the collection of reference works and papers of Dr. John Trim, who was Project Director for the programmes of the Language Policy Division (Strasbourg) from 1971 to 1997.


Overview of developments  

Summary Progress Reports to the Steering Committee for Education (CDED) at its annual Plenary Meetings. Since 2012 the CDPPE replaces the CDED

March 2008
March 2007
October 2006
October 2005

Conferences / Seminars: please consult section “Events