On the occasion of the day, a range of events were organised across Europe: activities for and with children, television and radio programmes, language classes and conferences. National authorities and the various partners are given a free hand to organise activities.
There are between 6000 and 7000 languages in the world – spoken by 7 billion people divided into 189 independent states. In their daily lives Europeans increasingly come across foreign languages. There is a need to generate a greater interest in languages among European citizens. Bilingualism brings with it many benefits: it makes the learning of additional languages easier, enhances the thinking process and fosters contacts with other people and their cultures.
The European Year of Languages 2001, jointly organised by the Council of Europe and the European Union, was successful in involving millions of people across 45 participating countries. Its activities celebrated linguistic diversity in Europe and promoted language learning.
Following the success of the Year the Council of Europe declared a European Day of Languages to be celebrated on 26th of September each year. The general objectives of the European Day of Languages are:
- Alerting the public to the importance of language learning and diversifying the range of languages learnt in order to increase plurilingualism and intercultural understanding;
- Promoting the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe, which must be preserved and fostered;
- Encouraging lifelong language learning in and out of school, whether for study purposes, for professional needs, for purposes of mobility or for pleasure and exchanges.
26 September 2013 marked the 10th anniversary of the European Day of Languages (EDL) celebrated at the Council of Europe and throughout its 47 member states.