15 September 2015


EP Breakfast 15 September 2015 hosted by Dr. Paul Rübig, MEP

The purpose of this breakfast with Members of the European Parliament was to explore how the European Parliament and other European institutions can support and help implementing the multilingual infrastructure for the Digital Single Market. Experts from language technology industry and research gave a short overview of currently available solutions and pointed to the gaps where political support will be necessary. The breakfast was attended by a balanced mix of stakeholders: 6 from the LT industry, 6 from LT research, 6 from public institutions, 8 from international organisations and other companies. A lively discussion among the participants, including MEPs Ernest Maragall and Algirdas Saudargas, created a very positive dynamic and reinforced the willingness of mutual collaboration in the future.

The 6 panelists (3 from industry, 3 from research, see programme below) pointed towards the importance of addressing the language issue when implementing the Digital Single Market. While many solutions (stemming from industry and research) exist, there is a need for joint action in view of:

  • Raising general awareness: The Digital Single Market can only include all Europeans if its content and services are language neutral (= understood by all, no matter which language they speak).
  • Creating a European language infrastructure: language resources and tools accessible for all
  • Launching a platform to provide “plug & play” APIs for LT products to counteract market fragmentation
  • Making available increased (or new) budget lines for LT, in particular in Horizon 2020

Apart from these issues, MEPs spearheaded by Dr. Rübig made short- and long-term suggestions that could help realise the above mentioned goals:

  • STOA study on LT seen in a broader context
  • Regular (informal) meetings with a core group of MEPs who have an interest in the topic
  • Investigate the creation of a KIC for LT under the EIT


08.30-08.45:     Welcome by Paul Rübig, Member of the European Parliament
08.45-09.30:     Short statements introduced by Margaretha Mazura, Secretary General, EMF-The Forum of eExcellence:

09.30-10.00:       Q & A

The event was co-organised by LT-Innovate, the association of language technology industry, META-NET, the network of language technology research, the LT Observatory and CRACKER projects, both co-financed by Horizon 2020.


The Digital Single Market (DSM) is a European priority for the European Commission. Vice-President Andrus Ansip has summarized the vision of the Digital Single Market: “Consumers need to be able to buy the best products at the best prices, wherever they are in Europe.” Commissioner Oettinger recently stated that “a Polish citizen being refused to buy products on a German website is not compatible with the idea of Europe”.

The main hurdle towards a Digital Single Market is at the same time Europe's pride: its many languages.

Innovative language technologies such as search, automatic translation, voice recognition, knowledge managemMultilent, sentiment analysis and many others, have achieved acceptable quality for the major languages. They are ready to be deployed. However, for achieving the vison of the multilingual Digital Single Market we have to support at least all 24 official languages and those of our most important trading partners. This requires a basic natural language processing infrastructure, the European Language Cloud (ELC), a public infrastructure providing the basic functionality required to process unstructured content.

The purpose of this breakfast with Members of the European Parliament is to explore how the European Parliament and other European institutions can support and help implementing these crucial infrastructures for the Digital Single Market.