Survey of multingualism among europeans
Today the European Union is home to 450 million people from diverse ethnic, cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The linguistic patterns of European countries are complex – shaped by history, geographical factors and the mobility of people. At present, the European Union recognises 20 official languages and about 60 other indigenous and non-indigenous languages are spoken over the geographical area. Competences not conferred upon the Union in the Constitution remain with the Member States.
Under the principle of subsidiarity, in areas which do not fall with in its exclusive competence, the Union shall act only if and insofar as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, either at central level or at regional and local level, but can rather, by reason of the scale of effects of the proposed action, be better achieved at Union level. The institutions of the Union shall apply the principle of subsidiarity as laid down in the Protocol on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. National Parliaments shall ensure compliance with that principle in accordance with the procedure set out in that Protocol. Under the principle of proportionality, the content and form of Union action shall not exceed what is necessary to achieve the objectives of the Constitution.
The institutions of the Union shall apply the principle of proportionality as laid down in the Protocol on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. When the Constitution confers on the Union exclusive competence in a specific area, only the Union may legislate and adopt legally binding acts, the Member States being able to do so themselves only if so empowered by the Union or for the implementation of Union acts. When the Constitution confers on the Union a competence shared with the member States in a specific area, the Union and the Member States may legislate and adopt legally bind-ing acts in the area. The Member States shall exercise their competence to the extent that the Union has not exercised, or has decided to cease exercising, its competence.