EU Citizens’ Economic Rights in Action
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EU Citizens’ Economic Rights in Action

Re-Thinking Legal and Factual Barriers in the Internal Market

Edited by Sybe de Vries, Elena Ioriatti, Paolo Guarda and Elisabetta Pulice

This book analyses three important economic rights: consumer rights, rights of professionals in gaining access to the services market, and intellectual property rights in the light of the Digital Single Market. For each of these rights, contributors analyse the main pathways towards reducing and removing legal and factual obstacles to successful cross-border economic rights. In addition, the book takes into specific consideration the multifaceted issues related to the economic crisis and to the EU’s multilingualism.
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Chapter 11: What comes first, language or work? Linguistic barriers for accessing the labour market

Silvia Adamo


Linguistic barriers are often among the first and most evident obstacles that professionals encounter when they move to another Member State. The difficulties of learning and mastering a foreign language can impair the prospects of insertion into the labour market of a host country. In Denmark, language is also supposed to be an instrument for accessing the local culture and national values. The legislation sustains the political assumption that the best place to learn Danish is in the workplace. However, what happens if access to the labour market is precluded until a very high Danish proficiency is achieved? Is it always the responsibility of the individual, or is there perhaps also an underlying cultural barrier that keeps foreign professionals out of the labour market? By exploring formal (legal) and informal (de facto) barriers in Denmark, this chapter approaches the broader question of European Union professionals’ free movement from a language perspective.

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