Language skills are crucial for growth and jobs. Each year, thousands of European companies lose business and miss out on contracts as a result of their lack of language skills and intercultural competence.

The challenge for internationally active firms is to integrate different organisational cultures and communicate efficiently in order to maximise performance. How can companies acquire a more strategic approach to multilingual communication? Are national education and training systems able to provide dynamic enterprises with enough people with the right skills? Is the European labour market flexible enough for entry into new markets?

Mr Leonard Orban, member of the European Commission responsible for multilingualism, is hosting an international conference in Brussels to discuss the issues of languages as a competitive strength for Europe.

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