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Multilingualism and the Meaning of EU Law

Dates:
  • Thu 27 Feb 2020 10.00 - 12.00
  Add to Calendar 2020-02-27 10:00 2020-02-27 12:00 Europe/Paris Multilingualism and the Meaning of EU Law

In today’s multilingual EU, with 24 official languages, as many versions of every piece of legislation of general application are produced, all of which are equally authentic. In order to comply with this legal requirement, embodied in the Treaties and in secondary law, legal translation and legal-linguistic revision become fully integrated in the law-making process. But most importantly, the multilingual nature of EU law has consequences for how the meaning of the law may be found through interpretation.

The Court of Justice of the European Union has declared that the language versions of EU legal acts should be compared in order to access the meaning of the legislation. That presumption of identity of meaning, however, conflicts with the inherent limits of language. As a result, occasional divergences in the linguistic meaning of the different language versions of EU legislation are unavoidable. These divergences in the linguistic meaning of the language versions of legislation may be bridged through interpretation. These problems of interpretation are ultimately settled by the CJEU, the only authoritative interpreter of EU law. The Court has developed certain techniques for that purpose, not without controversy.

In order to solve the puzzle of how to access the meaning of multilingual EU legislation, this thesis first reviews the multilingualism of the EU legislative machinery, subsequently moving from the production of the law to its interpretation. The ultimate goal is to produce a critical assessment of the Court’s methods, in order to understand how they fit into the framework designed by the previous Chapters. That is to say, to see how uniformity of meaning, which is constructed first in the legislative procedure in one language, then deconstructed through translation into all official languages, is finally reconstructed by the Court of Justice.

Sala degli Stemmi - Villa Salviati- Castle DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala degli Stemmi - Villa Salviati- Castle

In today’s multilingual EU, with 24 official languages, as many versions of every piece of legislation of general application are produced, all of which are equally authentic. In order to comply with this legal requirement, embodied in the Treaties and in secondary law, legal translation and legal-linguistic revision become fully integrated in the law-making process. But most importantly, the multilingual nature of EU law has consequences for how the meaning of the law may be found through interpretation.

The Court of Justice of the European Union has declared that the language versions of EU legal acts should be compared in order to access the meaning of the legislation. That presumption of identity of meaning, however, conflicts with the inherent limits of language. As a result, occasional divergences in the linguistic meaning of the different language versions of EU legislation are unavoidable. These divergences in the linguistic meaning of the language versions of legislation may be bridged through interpretation. These problems of interpretation are ultimately settled by the CJEU, the only authoritative interpreter of EU law. The Court has developed certain techniques for that purpose, not without controversy.

In order to solve the puzzle of how to access the meaning of multilingual EU legislation, this thesis first reviews the multilingualism of the EU legislative machinery, subsequently moving from the production of the law to its interpretation. The ultimate goal is to produce a critical assessment of the Court’s methods, in order to understand how they fit into the framework designed by the previous Chapters. That is to say, to see how uniformity of meaning, which is constructed first in the legislative procedure in one language, then deconstructed through translation into all official languages, is finally reconstructed by the Court of Justice.


Location:
Sala degli Stemmi - Villa Salviati- Castle

Affiliation:
Department of Law

Type:
Thesis defence

Discussant:
Irene Otero Fernández (EUI - Law)

Examiner:
Prof. Urska Sadl (EUI - Law Department)
Prof. Joxerramon Bengoetxea (University of the Basque Country, San Sebastian)
Dr Karen McAuliffe (University of Birmingham)

Supervisor:
Prof. Giovanni Sartor (EUI - Law Department)
 

Page last updated on 18 August 2017