Before starting our interview I received from Mr. Leonard Orban a brochure, edited in September 2007, actually a second edition of the guide on the main European languages, authored by Bill Fraser who works from the General Department of Translations, the field the Romanian Commissioner is in charge of. So what do readers learn from it? Among the languages listed there we can see that the Moldovan language is placed between Maltese and Norwegian. On p. 7, we can read that the Moldovan language is part of the chapter on "other Romanic languages", next to French, Italian and Romanian. Therefore a language such as Moldovan is officially acknowledged in a document by the European Commission. But on the other hand, on p. 12, the Moldovan language is described as follows: the Romanian language is also the official language in the Moldovan Republic, although its official denomination is 'Moldovan' and it uses the Romanian grammar rules." (...)
Rep.: Does the European Commission acknowledge the existence of the Moldovan language as official language or not? How do you comment on the fact that EU citizens are required to speak this language if they want to join the staff of the EU special representative to the Moldovan Republic?
L.O.: It is not the European Commission who acknowledges one language or the other. I want to be very clear about it: it is a decision that belongs to every national state. When views are different, of course they have to be settled politically, not at the European Commission level, but by the states that have different views. As for the other thing you have mentioned, the fact that on the European Commission's website there is listed a requirement such as knowledge of the Moldovan language or of some documents with references to it, this is about a matter now tackled by the European Commission and Romanian authorities. As normal, a decision will be reached accordingly.
Rep.: It seems to me that it should be analyzed in the European context and in relation to other similar situations: either tension persisting for some time now or emerging in the Balkan region.
L.O.: I would like to give you the answer of a European Commissioner first and then a personal answer, in the light of my professional experience and of Romania's former representative for EU talks. Officially, any matter related to the official languages in the EU must be made clear in such a way that the respective languages can be well protected and promoted. Therefore any clarification of the terms between the Romanian language and what you have raised is extremely useful and necessary. Personally, I would like to make the following point: it seems to me a matter of fundamental interest and, given this, it is the Romanian authorities who have to tackle it in keeping with the very special importance of the matter. I want to remind that there are similar problems in other regions of Europe too, problems emerging because of talks on important linguistic issues under dispute. I want to remind about the situation in the Western Balkans, where the linguistic issue is very arguable and important. Now it is also approached in relation to some regional states' prospects to join the EU. All these confirm the very political nature of my portfolio.