This collection of 20 essays is the first of a number of initiatives under the British Council Language Rich Europe project, a two and a half year initiative to explore language policy and practice, facilitate knowledge sharing, and promote multilingualism across Europe in partnership with the European Commission, EUNIC (European National Institutes of Culture) and around 30 further partner institutions.


The thorny issue of how to deal with languages – national, regional, minority, immigrant and foreign - is one which governments, business and civil society in countries across Europe have been facing for a number of years. Globalisation on the one hand, and the need to retain national and regional identity on the other, both have an impact on language policy and practice. Increased mobility and migration force us to re-think the language requirements of our societies, and many countries have responded by prioritising social inclusion and intercultural dialogue.

The essays collected here provide an overview of the language environment in a selection of European countries ahead of the Language Rich Europe research, setting out some of the national contexts against which language policies and practices are working and highlighting many of the key challenges. They have been written by colleagues from our network of partner organisations, and the insights they share are relevant not only for their own context, but for stakeholders across the continent.

This publication is free to download.

For further information on Language Rich Europe go to


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