Euro, European Commission, European Year of … these are all expressions that have come to form an integral part of the language of European citizens and have become a main stay of the political language used in EU member states. What may surprise many readers is that these everyday terms were actually created as part of the process of EU integration from the combination of EU legislation and the speeches of EU politicians and Eurocrats. The so called euro-speak, originally created at political and diplomatic levels in English with some French terms, has now found its way into mainstream media.
There are terms that have emerged mainly from the legislative process and formal written communications such as the principle of subsidiarity, proportionality, the abbreviation CAP referring to Common agricultural policy and the Schengen agreement. It could be a Sisyphean task to try to classify them all, yet they are part of the specialised administrative and legal terms that constitute the concepts closely associated with the EU, so therefore have become an integral part of the language that binds Europe.
If you look at the webpage of the EU there is a huge and extensive glossary of terms, 233 currently, officially listed on the page of the EU. Opting out, infringement procedure, third energy package, harmonisation etc. are all terms that have come into the lexicon of European political language along with a host of other newly emerged abbreviations, neologisms, portmanteaus and named directives. The durability and popularity of these terms depends whether they refer to a persistent phenomenon and whether it will affect the whole EU community, or only certain member states or societal groups. Another factor affecting the take up and use of new terms is the way the media is propagating them. For instance the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the USA has become a prominent term in the last couple of months as the importance of the topic has grown. The hot topic of the Greek debt crisis has given birth to the word Grexit by combining the words Greek and exit to sum up the potential withdrawal of Greece from the Eurozone, whilst Graccident, meaning an accidental exit of Greece from the Eurozone, has also emerged as another example of the new terms being developed to encapsulate a whole issue. Multi-speed Europe was coined to highlight the different rates of integration in Europe and Troika is the nickname that has been given to the trio of the International Monetary Fund, European Commission and European Central Bank as the three international organisations representing the bailout creditors in the debt crisis talks.
So therefore Grexit, Graccident, Multispeed Europe and Troika are all examples of euro-speak, a language created as a means of communication to express a specific EU reality, though one which its critics sometimes call Eurofog or Argot de Berlaymont due to the inaccessibility and unintelligibility of the language to an outsider.
The constant emerging of terms sometimes causes confusion and misunderstandings among European citizens, however the phenomenon of creating terms within the European institutions is inescapable and it goes hand in hand with the process of the integration and construction of the Community. The specialised language of the EU is part of the identity of the EU organisation and therefore plays an important role in its functioning and continuation.