Last September 2009, the European Commission launched the new Business Platform intended to raise awareness of the value and opportunities of Europe’s linguistic diversity in promoting competitiveness and employability in the EU.
The new Business Platform promoting multilingualism for competitiveness and employability, held its first meeting in Brussels on 22nd September 2009, chaired by Commissioner Orban and the Director General for Education and Culture, Odile Quintin, who on how the Platform members can contribute to the future development of policies and programmes.
The Platform is born from the Commission’s Communication “Multilingualism: An asset for Europe and a shared priority”, adopted in September 2008, which foresaw the creation of two platforms for a structured dialogue with stakeholders, regrouping the civil society sector and the business sector respectively. The platforms are meant to complement the open method of coordination with the Member States in the fields of education and culture, in order to reinforce multilingualism in the new strategic framework for cooperation after 2010.
As the Commission states, the success of the new multilingualism strategy partly depends on the active involvement of the business sector. Therefore, the establishment of the business platform creates a forum for the exchange of best practices for companies, gathering relevant information from the business community, social partners, trade organisations, chambers of commerce, trade promotion organisations, schools and education authorities.
During its first meeting, Professor Wolfgang Mackiewicz, President of ELC/CEL – the European Language Council was elected to chair and coordinate the Platform for an initial six-month period. He will be assisted by three Co-chairs: Mrs Margaretha Mazura, Secretary General of the European Multimedia Forum, Mr Mike Hammersley, coordinator of the European Network promoting the European Language Passport among employers and Mr Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano, Secretary General of the organisation representing the leather industry in Europe.