As the newly appointed Commissioner for Multilingualism, it is an honour and a privilege for me to attend this annual Conference and to address this distinguished audience.

As I have mentioned on many occasions, multilingualism is embedded in the genetic code of the European Union. The first Regulation, no. 1/58, granted equal footing to official languages of the time. This decision is still in force.

As you know, for the first time, under the Presidency of President Barroso, multilingualism has acquired a horizontal dimension as a policy area having a single portfolio which I am honoured to be responsible for.

It is the recognition of the multicultural and multilingual dimension of the European Union. It confirms the uniqueness and strength of this project that aims to create union through diversity. [sic]

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