Chapter in:Advances in Interdisciplinary Language Policy
Edited by François Grin, László Marácz and Nike K. Pokorn
[Studies in World Language Problems 9] 2022
► pp. 452–471
Multilingualism and consumer protection
This chapter investigates the various language requirements in EU consumer law. The research conducted in this European project revealed that there is no general rule in the matter to guide the EU legislature. Requirements as to the use of languages vary from one field to another. The case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union also reflects this main finding.As linguistic competences remain largely in the hands of the Member States, multilingualism is often at the origin of conflicts in the dichotomy between EU economic integration and Member States’ sovereignty. National linguistic requirements may conflict with EU law (primary and/or secondary legislation), unless accepted on the basis of reasonable justifications according to EU law.This chapter first proposes to classify the language requirements in EU consumer law on the basis of the objectives pursued by different legislations. This classification may allow Member States to adopt and adapt their national regulations in accordance with predetermined EU language criteria.The second proposal made in this chapter is to promote multilingualism in EU consumer legislation. This may be achieved by developing an EU policy to increase awareness of the importance of multilingualism as an objective to be promoted in its own right within the EU (and not only as a tool accompanying the achievement of economic objectives). Developing such a policy may foster mobility and inclusion of EU consumers, including EU economic operators and citizens in general.