This study examines foreign language politics (FLP) in Europe. The aim was to get insight into the dynamics of the processes in policy-making. Oslo and Berlin were the chosen cases, but it is also argued that their ways of making politics are applicable to other European countries. The data collection took place in Berlin and Oslo using a Critical Discourse Analysis of official documents as well as semi-structured interviews with key respondents. A policy change in Norway is used as a background for a discussion of how shifts in language policies are explained by changing contextual factors. This is in particular related to the strategy document Languages Open Doors and the proposition of making a second foreign language compulsory from lower secondary school in Norway. The proposition was reversed due to a change in government. The study is partly based on this event and aims to reach an understanding of what actually happened and why it was reversed.
It is suggested that the politics is guided by a variety of interests, such as economic development and competition. Both countries seem to pay attention to economic dimensions. However, it is suggested that Norway focuses more on inclusion than Germany, something that is also reflected in the ideology and the education systems. It may seem that it is more legitimate to argue economically for FLP in Berlin than in Oslo, at least in the public debate.
Key Words: Foreign language politics; Berlin; Oslo; policy-making; second foreign language; foreign language teaching