THE IMPACT OF MULTILINGUALISM ON THE DEMOCRATIC LEGITIMACY OF THE EUROPEAN UNION: IS CREATING A SOLIDLY DEFINED EUROPEAN DEMOS THE ANSWER TO THE EU’S LANGUAGE PROBLEM?
Examining the case law of the ECJ reveals that the multilingual nature of the EU presents numerous problems, such as the relative rather than absolute equality of languages, and translation errors that lead to non-uniform law due to the impossibility of perfect translation. This directly limits the application of the legal certainty aspect of the Rule of Law, thus putting into question the EU’s democratic viability. Democracy is dependent on communication opportunity, something which the Union is lacking due to its multilingual nature. To solve these legitimacy problems created by the EU’s multilingual nature, it is necessary to understand the force of language as a concept in its own right. Western linguistic theory tells us that each language encodes a particular experience of the world and that its use might predispose its speakers to see the world according to the experience encoded in it. Not only this, but that language holds such power due to the significant role of a common language collective identity formation. In order to solve, or at least mitigate the democratic legitimacy issues which arise due to the EU’s multilingual nature, we must forge a European identity which is not dependant on the feature of a common language. Accepted beliefs and archetypes of identity are deconstructed and then reconstructed in a way which uses alternate features which allow for democratic participation without the precondition of a common language. Rather than trying to solve the language problem with a language solution (as has been done before), this thus provides new and original theoretical solutions to a practical language problem by suggesting that it can be overcome if we redefine our accepted notions of identity in the post-national sense and look at the problem through a wider lens.