European Label for Innovative Initiatives in Language Teaching and Learning

The European Label for Innovative Initiatives in Language Teaching and Learning (hereafter – the European Language Label) is an international award that was initiated by the European Commission in 1998 and now is very successful in all participating countries (the EU, Norway and Iceland). Latvia has been participating in this initiative since 2002. This initiative has an important role in language teaching and learning activities in the EU.

Aims of the European Language Label

  • to encourage innovative and effective learning of foreign languages in schools, higher education institutions and in the lifelong learning;
  • to find new original learning methods that can be adopted in another countries and languages.


The European Language Label may be awarded to any successful initiative in language teaching and learning, regardless of language teaching institution type and age of learners.

The European Language Label may be awarded to projects which have just been finished, or are currently being implemented. Projects which are completely implemented are not eligible to receive the European Language Label.

Application and selection procedures

State Education Developement Agency (VIAA) invites applications via open call for proposals, issued at least two months before the deadline for applications and published on the website of VIAA.
Expert jury set up by VIAA selects successful projects.

Selection criteria

All national juries in selecting projects apply common European criteria agreed by the European working group. Labels will be awarded only to projects meeting all of the criteria. The current European criteria are:

  • initiatives should be comprehensive. All elements involved – learners, teachers, methods and materials – should contribute to ensuring that the needs of the learners are identified and met. Creative use should be made of the resources available to stimulate language training.
  • initiatives should provide added value, in their national context. They should lead to a quantitative and/or qualitative improvement in the teaching and learning of languages. In quantitative terms, this might mean involving several languages, and particularly those which are less widely used. In quantitative terms, it might mean the use of a better methodology than before;
  • initiatives should provide motivation, for learners and/or teachers;
  • initiatives should be original and creative. They should explore previously unknown approaches, appropriate to the learners concerned. What is innovative in one context may not be in another;
  • initiatives should have a European dimension. They should be based upon the reality of the European Union and its linguistic diversity and use the potential  which that offers (for example contacts across national borders) to improve understanding of other cultures by means of language learning;
  • initiatives should include innovation which is transferable. They should be a potential source of inspiration for others in different countries and contexts.

The nature of awards

Successful projects receive a certificate signed by the European Commissioner responsible for Education and Culture and by the relevant national minister, as well as the rights to use the international logo of the European Label, and a special prize from VIAA.