English may no longer be recognised as an official language by the EU after Britain leaves.

Sign in the entrance of the European Parliament building in Brussels written in all official languages used in the European Union.
Sign in the entrance of the European Parliament building in Brussels written in all official languages used in the European Union.

The English language may be the newest unforeseen victim of Britain's decision to leave the EU. The European Union may no longer recognise it as an official language when Britain completes the process of departure.

This all stems from regulation which implies that each member nation may nominate only one official and working language. Of the 28 EU countries, Britain was the only member to choose English.

Sign in the entrance of the European Parliament building in Brussels written in all official languages used in the European Union.
Sign in the entrance of the European Parliament building in Brussels written in all official languages used in the European Union.

The vote to leave has triggered far reaching consequences, and many of the remaining member countries are struggling to cope with an uncertain future.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker addressed the European Parliament on Tuesday. While he expressed his sadness and regret for the loss of Britain from the EU, it was noted that the speech, given in both French and German, was devoid of the commonly heard English.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

A 2006 survey reports that 13 percent of EU citizens spoke English as their first language while another 38 percent can speak English well enough to have a conversation. That's a 51 percent saturation of a language in a continent which may no longer officially recognise it.

Looking back on the regulation, which dates back to 1958 and was originally written in French, some have understood the lettering to actually allow member countries to nominate more than one official language. This would allow for a country such as Ireland, to nominate both Irish and English.

Ultimately, the EU member nations will need to vote to officially change the rules and clearly allow its members the ability to nominate more than one official language. The chair of the parliament's Constitutional Affairs Committee Maria Huebner is hopeful "that we will find unanimity to change the rule on this."

Source: TRTWorld and agencies