27 September 2006

Chirac Ruins My Day

Bucharest is holding a Francophone Summit. I heard this was happening, but thought it was a minor event. It’s not. Securing a hotel wasn’t a straightforward task and the city seems to have gone Gallic for now. Not that I have a problem with that. The problem is the traffic.

The 15km road from the airport and the city is busy enough at the best of times in Bucharest. Today, parts of this road were down to a single lane to create a free lane for convoys of dignitaries. Amongst them was Jacques Chirac. He must have been in one of the top-of-the-range cars that glided by as we stop-started on our 90 minute journey at a stately 10kph average.

You may be surprised to learn that a Francophone Summit is being held in Romania, but Romanian is the only Eastern European language with Latin roots and has many French speakers. These days the inevitable and continuing rise of English more than threatens this tradition – so I suppose Romania can be considered a key battleground of the Francophone cause. This is even more relevant to the French-speaking world as Romania is now just a rubber-stamp from joining the EU in January 2007. This is one instance of war in which the French troops aren’t yet ready to lay down their circumflexes.

Note - According to a 2002 EC poll, 86% of people in the 13 countries then on the EU waiting list regarded English as one of the two most useful languages to speak and French gained a paltry 17%.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

She shinks...
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