No other EU country has English as their official language and so it could lose its status.
Danuta Hübner, the head of the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee (AFCO), warned Monday that English will not be one of the European Union’s official languages after Britain leaves the EU.
English is one of the EU’s 24 official languages because the U.K. identified it as its own official language, Hübner said. But as soon as the Britain completes the process to leave the EU, English could lose its status.
“We have a regulation … where every EU country has the right to notify one official language,” Hübner said. “The Irish have notified Gaelic, and the Maltese have notified Maltese, so you have only the U.K. notifying English.”
“If we don’t have the U.K., we don’t have English,” Hübner said.
English is one of the working languages in the European institutions, Hübner said, adding: “It’s actually the dominating language,” the one most frequently used by EU civil servants.
The regulation listing official languages of the EU would have to be changed unanimously by remaining countries if they want to keep English as an official language, Hübner said.
The European Commission has already started using French and German more often in its external communications, as a symbolic move after Britain voted to leave the EU last Thursday, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, the president of the regional council of Tuscany, Eugenio Giani, called for Italian to become one of the official languages of the EU. “We have not defended … our language as we should have, both on the European continent and in the world,” Giani said following the British referendum result.