The Malta Independent 18 August 2019, Sunday

Maltese language noblest expression of our identity in Europe - Peter Agius

Tuesday, 23 April 2019, 15:48 Last update: about 5 months ago

Peter Agius, European Parliament election candidate on the PN list, met the National Council for the Maltese language, representatives from the department of Maltese Language at the University of Malta, Akkademja tal-Malti and the Association of Maltese Proof Readers.

Agius and the Maltese language organisations discussed challenges and opportunities for the Maltese language in Europe and in Malta.


"Our MEPs must ensure that our Maltese Identity, especially our language, is promoted at the European Level. We need to ensure that the Maltese Language is respected in Malta and abroad," said the Tajani speechwriter.

All Maltese should continue the fight to protect our language notwithstanding the challenges: digitalisation, machine translations and limited resources are all real challenges which we must turn into opportunities to promote and sustain the use of Maltese language in Malta and at all levels of the European Institutions.

With machine translation, institutions will gradually reduce the translation compliment, we must encourage more Maltese language officials in the EU institutions to dare venture into the policy making areas at the European Institutions, thereby increasing overall presence of Maltese in the Brussels machinery.

The latest news that European Parliament could do without Maltese interpretation in many fora of the institution is of utmost concern. This is unacceptable. We have no shortage of interpreters, we have a shortage of opportunities to become a full-time professional one. There are more than 300 graduates who have read Masters in Maltese Translation and Interpretation from the University of Malta. "As an MEP I would ensure that European Parliament recruiting policies are adapted to take stock of this reality. This matter affects our status in Brussels, I will not accept an inferior status for Maltese. In the past I contributed to end the derogation for the Maltese language translations. We can win this one as well," he said.

"Our mother tongue needs to be available both in the Plenary and all the committees of the European Parliament. Irrespective of our size and small numbers of MEPs, no excuse should be tolerated to do without the Maltese language at EU level. We must do our part as well, by using, speaking and writing in Maltese in Europe and at home. I have done this in this campaign by writing all letters to the European Commission in Maltese. It may take an extra day or two to get a reply, but we convey the importance of our language to the EU institutions,’’ said the former Head of the European Parliament Office.

With the organisations, Agius also spoke of the need for the Maltese themselves to respect their language. "I insisted on the importance of being proud of our language. Unfortunately the use of Maltese in the European Courts of Justice, where the Government presented 8 out of 11 cases in English instead of Maltese, is sending all the wrong signals. You would never imagine the French or the Polish government doing anything like that. Same goes for Ministry websites where only 3 out of 20 are available in Maltese. Others will not respect us unless we respect ourselves," Agius concluded.

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