Can we reconcile indefinitely these two imperatives: the desire to preserve every individual’s special identity and the need for Europeans to be able to communicate with one another all the time and as freely as possible? We cannot leave it to time to solve the dilemma and prevent people from engaging, a few years hence, in bitter and fruitless linguistic conflicts. We know all too well what time will do.
The only possible answer is a voluntary policy aimed at strengthening linguistic diversity and based on a simple idea: nowadays everybody obviously needs three languages. The first is his language of identity; the third is English. Between the two we have to promote a third language, freely chosen, which will often but not always be another European language. This will be for everyone the main foreign language taught at school, but it will also be much more than that–the language of the heart, the adopted language, the language you have married, the language you love.