Research published by CILT (The National Centre for Languages) in 2007 demonstrated that there is a financial value to be placed on the business lost, to small companies in particular, when they trade internationally but without including a language strategy as part of their routine business planning. The executive summary of the report may be seen here.


Language skills have the potential to add far more value to the European economy than they do at present.

English is a lingua franca for business but it’s not enough for businesses in Europe to compete and prosper in the twenty-first century.

The time may have come for a framework for intercultural competence. 

These were some of the key messages summed up at the close of a day’s debate in Brussels hosted by the European Commission. Instigated by the European Commissioner for Multilingualism, Leonard Orban, this was a major forum event bringing together – for the first time at European level – over 300 employees, public agents and members of the education sector from across the European Union

The event also heralded the creation of a European-level Business Forum on Multilingualism, comprising invited representatives from private sector business and industry and senior academics drawn from a range of nations. The Forum will advise Commissioner Orban on the language and intellectual skills needs of employers and will support further refinement and implementation of the Commission’s policy on Multilingualism. Full details of the event can be found here.