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Criticism of English as working language

The Norwegian Minister for Nordic Co-operation, Heidi Grande Røys, has added her voice to criticism of the decision by the Nordic Youth Council (UNR) to use English as a working language.

Aug 21, 2008

''Using the Nordic languages is part of the foundation underpinning co-operation. The very fact that we are so close to each other in terms of values, culture and geography has been strengthened by the mutual understanding of our languages. It would be a major loss to Nordic co-operation if English were used as a working language among us," Grande Røys says. In her opinion, interpretation from/to the Scandinavian languages to/from Finnish and Icelandic would be a better solution.

The minister is in general agreement with the criticism expressed by the Danish Minister for Nordic Co-operation & Education, Bertel Haarder, in the Danish newspaper Politiken. Haarder told the paper that the UNR decision conflicts with the very idea of Nordic co-operation and that in his opinion the UNR would render itself ineligible for public funding if it were to go ahead with the plan.

Grande Røys will raise the issue with her colleagues at the next meeting of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

The members of the UNR represent the youth wings of the Nordic political parties as well as various umbrella political organisations.

The UNR meets for its annual Session in conjunction with the Nordic Council Session. The Nordic Council budget is the main source of the UNR's funding.