In order to ensure that the four sub-programmes of the Lifelong Learning Programme reap the best results, a transversal programme with four key activities complements them.
1. Policy co-operation - Innovating and sharing good policy practices
2. Languages - Breaking the language barriers
3. Information and communication technologies - Innovative learning
4. Dissemination and exploitation of project results - Spreading and implementing the results

Key Activity: Languages

Linguistic diversity is a fact of life in Europe and it can encourage economic growth, personal development and inter-cultural dialogue. EU actions aim to promote language learning and the linguistic diversity in Europe.
Language learning and linguistic diversity form an integral part of the EU's Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP) under the Comenius, Erasmus, Grundtvig and Leonardo sub programmes. In addition, languages are one of the four key activities of the LLP's transversal programme, with actions focussed on the teaching and learning needs in two or more educational sectors.

A labour force with practical language and intercultural skills is crucial for economic growth and better jobs, enabling European enterprises to compete effectively in the global marketplace. Multilingualism also contributes to personal development, reinforces social cohesion and promotes intercultural dialogue, creating opportunities to discover other values, beliefs and behaviours. The key activity Languages contributes to all these objectives.

Priorities for actions are set annually and the initiatives are open to any organisation or institution working directly or indirectly in those fields.


The aims of the key activity are to raise awareness of the importance of linguistic skills, boost access to language learning resources and develop teaching materials. It supports:

1. Multilateral projects to develop new language learning materials, including online courses, instruments for language testing, the promotion of language awareness and access to language learning resources.
2. Networks to promote languages policies and disseminate project results and good practices.
Any language (worldwide) is eligible for funding under these multilateral projects and networks, including European regional or minority languages.

Other initiatives include promotion, marketing, publicity and information campaigns, as well as conferences, studies and the development of statistical indicators in the field of language learning and linguistic diversity.

Objectives and description of the action

The Languages Key Activity provides support for Multilateral Projects that promote language awareness and access to language learning resources and/or develop and disseminates language learning materials, including online courses and instruments for language testing. Projects may address one or both of these areas. However, duplication of existing products or methodologies, particularly those developed with European funding, must be avoided. All languages (European official languages and regional and minority languages, migrant languages and the languages of significant trading partners) may be targeted, provided that the proposed activities are relevant to European multilingualism policy, show a clear European added value and are additional to the work done at local, regional and national level.
Nevertheless, the Languages Key Activity devotes a significant part of its resources to encouraging the learning of European official languages as foreign languages in order to help European citizens to understand better each other’s cultures and outlooks, and to enable them to take advantage of the freedom to work or study in another Member State. To make better use of the 'additionality' of European intervention, and so as not to compete with what is already assured at national level by Member States, the Languages Key Activity focuses mainly on the teaching of a second or further language, notably less widely used and taught languages (LWULT). In those cases where languages from nonparticipating countries are targeted, at least one internationally recognised educational institution with expertise in the teaching and learning of the target language(s) and which is located in one (or more) participating country(ies) must be present in the network. Partners located outside the participating countries will not be eligible for funding.
Within the priorities announced in the general call for proposals, the following activities may be supported:

  • Awareness raising activities, e.g.:
    promotion of languages; information about language learning opportunities; improvement of access to language learning facilities. The main target group is people with little or no experience of language learning, or who are reluctant language learners. Projects that address this area, either wholly or partly, must therefore give people the information, the motivation and the support they need to go and learn a language. Projects should also include partners who are capable of reaching a broad and often reluctant target audience and convincing them of the benefits of language learning.
  • Development and dissemination of language learning materials, e.g.:
    creating, adapting, refining or exchanging one or more of the following products: educational media/materials for foreign language teaching; methods and tools designed to recognise/evaluate language skills; curricula and language learning methodologies. The aim is to encourage innovation in the development of effective and high quality language learning and teaching tools for all sectors of education, in a life long learning perspective and to provide a wider variety of language teaching materials to clearly defined groups, by encouraging the production of language tools which are commercially under-represented or difficult to market on a large scale, either because of the target group, the languages chosen or the nature of the educational approach involved.
Who can benefit?

  • Schools, universities, adult education establishments
  • Language schools, libraries, open and distance learning centres, centres providing initial or continuing training for language teachers, centres for research into language education
  • Establishments developing curricula, issuing diplomas or devising methods for testing and evaluating knowledge
  • Local or regional authorities
  • Local, regional, national or European associations active in the field of language teaching or learning
  • Cultural associations
  • Radio, television or media companies with an Internet presence
  • Publishing houses and software producers or distributors
  • Advertising or marketing agencies
  • Town-twinning networks
  • Sporting organisations
  • Museums and exhibition venues
  • Public transport companies and tourist offices