The Steering Committee of the Hauts-de-France Language Pact was installed on March 19, on the occasion of the French Language and La Francophonie Week (from 13 to 21 March), during a videoconference chaired by Alexandre de Montesquiou, President of the Retz-en-Valois Community of Municipalities, and bringing together representatives of local and regional stakeholders alongside the Director of the Cabinet of the Minister of Culture, the Delegate General for the French Language and the Languages of France and the Regional Director for Cultural Affairs.

Taking into account the place of local authorities in public cultural policies, the time has come to promote a language policy of the territories by encouraging the dialogue between the State and the local authorities through an innovative mechanism, the language pact, which the Hauts-de-France region is the first to implement. Its implementation will help to welcome in the best conditions, starting in 2022, the Cité internationale de la langue française, “cornerstone” of a renewed language policy according to the formula of the Minister of Culture.

Through this pact signed on December 14, the Ministry of Culture, the Hauts-de-France Region, the Département de l'Aisne and the Communauté de communes de Retz-en-Valois have committed themselves to strengthen their cooperation in view of the territorial priorities that the International City of the French Language at the castle of Villers-Cotterêts will allow to better take into account: social cohesion (fight against illiteracy, mastery of French and cultural action), promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity (welcoming the Francophonie in France, regional languages through Picard and Western Flemish), innovation and language technologies.

After presenting their actions, stakeholders agreed to develop the annual roadmap and monitoring indicators the actions included in the pact and to launch the mapping of actors and actions identified in Hauts-de-France, in particular, French-language, Francophonie and regional language stakeholders. The project of Mobile Language Laboratory will open at the end of 2021. In partnership with the CNRS, it will enable cultural mediation actions to promote the French language and regional languages in the territories of Hauts-de-France and collect conversation recordings.

The departments of Nord, Oise, Pas-de-Calais and Somme will be invited to join Aisne as soon as possible within the Language Pact. In addition, an enlarged Committee will host this year local and regional authorities, public institutions and associations and private actors wishing to participate in the achievement of the objectives of the Pact

The meeting was also attended by the Sub-Prefect of Soissons, representatives of the National Education Services and the National Agency for Combating Illiteracy, the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, the Assemblée parlementaire de la francophonie and the Centre des monuments nationaux.