One of the European Union’s priorities and vital tasks is to disseminate information in all languages.
People are not generally aware of the scale and complexity of this task, and the ever-increasing amount and multilingual character of the documentation to be distributed, and it is only through continual development of the techniques used and constant rationalisation that the task can be accomplished each day.
The Interinstitutional style guide has been produced with these things in mind. This publication, continuing a process begun in 1993 with the Vade-mecum for editors, is the fruit of a long round of negotiations in which all the European Union institutions participate actively. Bringing about a process of linguistic standardisation with such a large number of languages appeared unachievable. Nevertheless, the outcome of this exceptional work is proving successful, since the 23 linguistic versions are available on the Office’s style guide website (http://publications.europa.eu/code/).
Twenty-three language communities have established a common working environment in order to present a consistent identity of the European Union institutions to citizens. This publication demonstrates that multilingualism need not be a source of disparity as it provides a common point of reference for the different language groups, as well as the institutions, bodies and agencies, which have multiplied over recent years. It draws together linguistic resources, turning apparent disparity into a source of unity between all those involved in producing texts for the European Union.
The conclusions of the Interinstitutional Style Guide Committee should be implemented in all the institutions and the Publications Office should oversee this. Respecting the conventions set out in the style guide guarantees the image of a Europe dedicated to serving its citizens: providing a service in each of their languages while overseeing the harmony and unity of the message.