The continent of Europe is made up of 45 different countries and covers an area of 3,930,000 square miles (10,180,000 sq km). As such, it is a highly diverse place with many different cuisines, cultures and languages.
The European Union alone has 27 different member states and there are 23 official languages spoken in it. The European Union states that a language must be official and working within the member state it is commonly spoken. For example, French is the official language in France, which is a member state of the European Union and as such, it is also an official language of the EU. By contrast, there are many minority languages spoken by groups in countries throughout the EU and although they are important to those groups, they are not official and working languages of the governments of those countries and they are thus not official languages of the EU.
The following is a list of the 23 official languages of the EU arranged in alphabetical order:
To learn more about the languages of Europe, visit the BBC's page entitled Languages Across Europe and the European Commission's Multilingualism website.
European Commission Multilingualism. (24 November 2010). European Commission - EU Languages and Language Policy. Retrieved from: http://ec.europa.eu/education/languages/languages-of-europe/index_en.htm
Wikipedia.org. (29 December 2010). Europe - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europe
Wikipedia.org. (8 December 2010). Languages of Europe - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Europe