1. Multilingualism and legal integration in Europe

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The multilingual character of European Union law presents a number of legal challenges. This chapter examines one of these challenges, the relationship between multilingualism and legal integration in Europe. It disputes the one-dimensional view of multilingualism as solely an obstacle to legal integration and proposes a wider definition of the dynamics of integration – focusing not only on the horizontal dimension but also on the vertical dimension. The horizontal dimension concerns traditional integration, uniformity of application of Union law, from both a quantitative and qualitative perspective. The vertical dimension concerns the effectiveness of Union law, often emphasised by the Court of Justice. The chapter examines two varieties of multilingual interpretation adopted by the Court of Justice and national courts, and their relationship to legal integration. It concludes that multilingualism can be a challenge as well as an opportunity from an integration perspective.


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