Juncker Apologizes For ‘Moldovan’ Language Option


By Madalin Necsutu

The European Commision President, Jean-Claude Juncker, apologised on Wednesday to a Romanian MEP for the appearance of the phrase “Moldovan language” on the website of European Commission – calling it a “regrettable administrative error”.

Last month, in the section on the Consultation on the Future of Europe, an option allowed readers to select their preferred language of use – including “Romanian language/Moldovan language”.

The Romanian vice-president of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Andi Cristea, called for the error to be repaired as soon as possible.

Juncker responded on Wednesday evening, Cristea told BIRN, but the problem was fixed right after it was signalled.

“European institutions have the duty to always transmit the correct message, regardless of context. The situation regarding the Moldovan language on the Commission’s website was an administrative error, quickly corrected,” Cristea said.

However, he added that such mistakes must not be repeated, in order not to legitimize “dangerous narratives”.

The language that most Moldovans speak remains a sensitive topic, owing to the country’s tangled history.

Moldova was part of the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Romania [between the two world wars] and the Soviet Union before finally becoming an independent country in 1991.

The Soviets, keen to stress Moldova’s separate indentity from Romania, called the language Moldovan – a term still retained in the country’s constitution.

The Soviets also imposed use of the Cyrillic script.

However, the Constitutional Court in Moldova in December 2013 ruled that the official language was now to be designated Romanian – the term used in the country’s 1991 Declaration of Independence.

But confusion still lingers and is exploited in elections, dividing Moldova’s population still further over identity and linguistic criteria.

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (formerly the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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