European Language Label

The European Language Label for innovative projects in language teaching and learning

The European Language Label is a Europe-wide initiative, supported by the European Commission to promote best practices in Modern Language learning. It is an award that encourages new innovative and effective initiatives in the field of teaching and learning languages, rewarding new techniques in language teaching, spreading the knowledge of their existence and thereby promoting good practice.

The Label is open to all aspects of education and training, regardless of age or methods used, with its main focus being to promote innovation in language teaching. By supporting innovative projects, at a local and national level, the Label seeks to raise the standards of language teaching across Europe.

Applications may be submitted by schools, colleges, businesses and other institutions involved in language teaching.

Each year, the Label is awarded to the most innovative language learning projects in each country participating in the scheme which have found creative ways to:

  •  improve the quality of language teaching;
  •  motivate students;
  •  make the best of available resources to diversify the language offer.

Award-winning projects provide a potential source of inspiration for others, in different languages, contexts and even different countries, underlining the importance of the criteria that the project be replicable.

All projects awarded the ELL will receive a certificate signed by the European Commissioner responsible for Education, Training, Culture and Multilingualism, Ms Androulla Vassiliou, and by the national Minister responsible for Education.

The European Language Label is coordinated by the European Commission, but managed on a decentralized basis by the individual EU Member States, as well as Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Turkey, with national juries deciding on detailed criteria.

The European Criteria for awarding the European Language Label

For applications to be considered eligible for an Award under the European Language Label, they must demonstrate that they are: Innovative, Effective and Replicable.

National Juries are then appointed to decide on which projects shall be awarded the ELL. They do so according to a number of criteria agreed at European level. These include:

Initiatives should be comprehensive in their approach. This means that every element of the language project – from students to teachers, from methods to materials – should ensure that the needs of the students are identified and met.

Initiatives should provide added value in their national context. This means a tangible improvement in the teaching or learning of languages, either in terms of quantity or quality. “Quantity” might refer to the project stimulating the learning of several languages, particularly those that are less widely used, whereas “quality” might refer to the introduction of an improved methodology.

Initiatives should motivate the students and teachers to improve their language skills.

Initiatives should be original and creative. They should introduce previously unknown approaches to language learning, but also make sure they are appropriate to the students concerned.

Initiatives should have a European emphasis. They should be adapted to Europe’s linguistic diversity and make use of this advantage – for example, by liaising with contacts across national borders. The initiatives should actively improve understanding between cultures by promoting language skills.

Initiatives should be transferable. They might potentially be a source of inspiration for other language initiatives in different countries.

The European Language Label – Priorities for 2014-2015

On the basis of the Commission Staff Working Document, Language competences for
employability, mobility and growth accompanying the Communication “Rethinking
Education: Investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes”, the European
Commission hereby defines the priorities for the years 2014-2015.
1. Languages for social inclusion
The term “Social inclusion” is a keyword for allowing people to feel respected and valued
as individuals and to secure that their basic needs are met, so that they can live in
dignity. It is also imperative to guarantee people to be part of the social, economic,
political and cultural systems which contribute to their integration into the surrounding
From a sociological perspective, social inclusion also means assuring to all individuals and
groups in society certain rights such as employment, adequate housing, health care,
education and training. Especially within the latter context, but fully in line with the
former ones, languages play a relevant role.
Following up on successful innovative approaches to language learning for people of all
ages and backgrounds, further ways should be found to encourage individuals mostly in
need to feel socially integrated to learn languages, e.g. extending their scope to offer
help for immigrants, people coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, disabled persons,
people who use sign-language, to name but a few.
2. Languages and sport
Several sports clubs are involved in projects aimed to motivate young and adult people
to learn languages and other cultures through their passion for sports, which means that
sport can make language learning more interesting and appealing. There is a clear link
between youth exchanges in the field of sport and the need to understand and practice
foreign languages. This is all the more reason for combining sport with best practices in
language learning and intercultural dialogue.
It is not difficult to motivate people to meet across borders and practice sport together.
During such exchanges, language learning often happens in a non-formal way. The goal
is not necessarily that the language is learned perfectly, but rather about reducing
barriers to language learning and about learning in a playful but constructive way.
Label projects should explore how such practices can be proliferated and possibly
translated to more formal settings. By looking at innovative learning practices and
teaching resources inspired by a cross-fertilisation between international sports and
language learning, new approaches should be targeted which can promote
multilingualism all over Europe.
The world of sport and the world of languages should come together to develop common
paths and discover what sport can do for languages and what languages can do for sport;
encourage synergies for the development of new multilingual projects involving the world
of sports and education; identify areas where further action on languages is needed and
discuss new channels, new actions and new methodologies.

Application procedure

Applications are invited from schools, colleges, universities, businesses and other institutions engaged in foreign language initiatives, which are innovative, effective and replicable.

Applicants will be required to answer a number of questions about their project in the application form. These include (amongst others):

  •  What are the aims of the project?
  •  When was it started and how is it funded?
  •  What is the main language involved in your project?
  •  Does the project involve ICT?
  •  What are the project activities?
  •  What has the project achieved so far?
  •  What else is planned to develop the project further?
  •  How could this project be replicated in other contexts?


Judges will be looking for projects, based in traditional or innovative learning environments, which bring its participants added value in terms of competence and motivation.

Projects should also be as comprehensive as possible, reaching beyond small groups of learners. Evidence of institution-wide support for the project and indeed its overall impact would also strengthen applications.

Projects can involve any language other than English, but should include an international dimension. Award-winning initiatives will serve as a potential source of inspiration for projects in other contexts, languages and even other countries.

How to Apply

When the call opens, the Application Form can be found at the Resources section. The application form needs to be submitted to the address below together with any supporting evidence for consideration by the judging panel (photos, resources etc):

European Union Programmes Agency (EUPA)
Continental Business Centre
Old Railway Track
Santa Venera SVR 9018

Please refer to the current call for proposals and related deadlines by clicking here.