PositionBrief Article

"Enlargement will undoubtedly be most keenly felt in terms of the human resources of the different institutions and their management", the report stresses from the outset. The impact on the operation of the institutions as a result of the size of the workforce being boosted by several thousand, the addition of several generally little known or unknown languages, new cultures and different administrative practices (the list goes on) will be quite considerable. No doubt this will be the largest challenge facing the institutions. Previous enlargements of the Community involved no more than three countries at a time and two extra languages.The Task Force forecasts suggest that for each new Member States and each new official language, there will an average of 166 extra people in the European Parliament, 192 in the Commission, 64 in the Court of Justice and many more besides. That is 700 extra civil servants times 12 new Member States. Caution should be exercised when considering the figures, however. Both the different circumstance (the yawning gap between Malta and Poland, for example) and the foreseeable rate of accession will affect the situation. The domestic situation in the EU of 15 may also change in favour of an administrative reform spearheaded by the Commission's Vice-President, Neil Kinnock.The report warns that there is likely to be a shortage of qualified candidates in the new member counties when it comes to a number of specialised appointments. This applies in particular to languages. For example, several dozen people are required for each extra language to meet the conference interpretation needs of all institutions, but no more than a dozen or so qualified interpreters are available for some languages of the countries in line for EU membership. The training opportunities in the countries will not allow these huge shortcomings to be overcome in the short term. Nor should the cultural shock be underestimated and the difficulties civil servants from new member countries will have adapting.Accommodating the new arrivals.With each successive enlargement of the EU, the Council has routinely added the languages of the new members to the official languages. All the signs now are that the Council will not be changing this approach. In practice, and particularly in the case of interpretation, the institutions have developed a system where there is often a simultaneous translation process, but this is based on one or more languages...

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