As per the council records, German Language is the most widely spoken mother tongue while English, French, and Italian follow in this order. English is the most spoken foreign language with French and German following it. About 56% of european union citizens can hold a conversation in one language apart from their mother tongue. (Eurobarometer 243)
Since the setting up of EU, there has been more close relationships between member countries in all the spheres such a economic, trade, education etc. The different cultures and languages in different countries is causing problems in day-to-day routine functioning as people are unable to freely disuss issues. This has necessitated the need for people who are able to understand more than one language.
Plurilingualism, therefore can also be defined as the wide range of attempts to stabilize multilingual societies by fostering high levels of individual plurilingual competence. This approach places focus on Language teaching and learning, This also encompasses all categories of linguistic rights, legislation, policies, that affect the relationships between different communities.
In this context, the Council of Europe, which closely monitors the linguistic and cultural environment in the continent, is now focusing on the language teaching and learning process. It has decided to encourage the concept of plurilingualism such that people of European union are able to freely mingle with each other. This basically is not only the need to converse in more than one language but the need to understand and appreciate cultures or ideas different from one's own. It now becomes a much broader concept dealing with the understanding of different cultures and languages.
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment, drawn up by Language Policy Division of the Council of Europe is a document that sets out to popularize plurilingualism. (Council of Europe, 1996) The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment, or CEFR, was put together by the Council of Europe as the main part of the project "Language Learning for European Citizenship" between 1989 and 1996. It is aimed to provide a method of assessing and teaching which applies to all languages in Europe. Thus because of plurilingualism, an individual person's experience of language in its cultural contexts expands and he builds up a communicative skill to which all knowledge and experience of language contributes. Thus a person can easily achieve effective communication with different people understanding different languages. This language policy fosters the capacity to coexist. The pluricultural education enables the citizens to accept differences between different cultures, establish constructive relations with others, solve conflicts by nonviolent means, take on responsibilities, participate in decision-making and use mechanisms to protect people's rights.
Since language is the most important social and cultural mark of identity, the education for plurilingualism and pluriculturalism promotes tolerance of other's viewpoint and remove the obstacles that hinder people's active participation in an increasingly globalized world. The knowledge and use of other languages other than one's mother tongue can be our safeguard in the fight