The Council of Europe’s efforts in this respect are well illustrated by the development of such reference documents and tools as the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (Council of Europe, 2001) and the European Language Portfolio (ELP), conventions such as the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, and policy documents such as the White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue “Living together as equals in dignity”, the Guide for the development of language education policies in Europe (Council of Europe/Language Policy Division, 2007), and the recent Recommendation (2008)7 on The use of the Council of Europe's Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and the promotion of plurilingualism (Council of Europe, 2008.
The European Union shares these aims and its support for linguistic diversity in Europe is reflected among others in such policy documents as COM(2008) 566: Multilingualism: an asset for Europe and a shared commitment and the 2008 Resolution of the Council of the European Union on a European strategy for multilingualism.
The European efforts are coherent with the principles outlined in the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 2001 and in its Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions adopted in 2005.
The Council of Europe promotes strongly the notion of plurilingualism, an individual ability to develop competences in and use more than one language, as an important human value.
In the Council’s work, as reflected in the documents and tools included on the on-line Platform of Resources and References for Plurilingual and Intercultural Education developed and launched recently by the Language Policy Division in consultation with all 47 member states – adequate development of language competences is viewed as a pre-requisite for unrestricted and fair access to good quality education. This, in turn, constitutes the necessary basis for ensuring social cohesion, promoting democratic citizenship, fostering intercultural dialogue and managing migration – priorities specified by the Warsaw Summit 2005 aimed at building a more humane and inclusive Europe. The long-term vision of the contribution of the ECML and the outline for the Centre’s next medium-term programme build on these policy concepts and, in a synergetic way, aim at developing inclusive, plurilingual and intercultural pedagogic approaches for the classroom level.
Synergies with the Council of Europe’s Language Policy Unit