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The Icelandic language and the EU

The EU’s commitment to safeguard linguistic diversity shows the level of respect that the EU Member States have for national characteristics and languages. Information on this can be found in the Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union. The Charter includes not only the 23 official languages but also more than 60 regional and minority languages that can be found within the EU borders.  

When a new country becomes a member of the EU, the national language of that country normally becomes an official EU language. This ensures that individual EU citizens are able to use the same language in their communication with the EU and its institutions as they do when dealing with their national authorities at home. 


By the same token, all new legislation adopted by the EU is translated into all official languages so that any interested citizens across the Union knows immediately what the new law is about and how it affects them. This means that if Iceland were to join the EU, additional efforts would have to be made with regards to translations.

In this way, the EU ensures that there is no discrimination between citizens whose languages are spoken by a large number of people and others using less widely spoken ones.

Here you can access a brochure on Languages in the European Union.