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Jargon busting & other tips

1. Jargon busting

Jargon is a major – albeit lamentable – part of EU life. People within the EU institutions and in the media often use 'eurojargon' - words and expressions that are clear only to the active followers of EU affairs. Eurojargon can be very confusing and off-putting, especially to the general public. It can easily lead to misunderstandings.

A plain language guide to Eurojargon in all of the EU’s official languages has been put together by the Union, to help officials and journalists alike.

For explanations of technical and legal terms, please go to Glossary, which is a separate and more technical site.

What language?

The city of Brussels has two official languages, Dutch and French (and Belgium also has a third, German). Visitors to the city will soon realise there is an unofficial one too, English.

Prior to the Scandinavian countries and Austria joining the European Union, French weighed in as the dominant language around the EU institutions. In the past ten years, the use of English has increased in formal meetings and press gatherings, as well as in the corridors. Following the latest rounds of enlargement in 2004 and 2007 an upsurge in English and a resurgence of German has been evident.

French is still, of course, one of the major EU languages, and knowing French is definitely a plus when working in Brussels.

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