The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR or CEFRL) was first published in 2001. It contains the guidelines put together by the Council of Europe, ALTE (The Association of Language Testers in Europe) and EAQUALS (The European Association for Quality Language Services). The aim was to objectively describe the achievements of learners of foreign languages across Europe and maintain high standards in foreign language teaching.

One of the main documents is the European Language Portfolio consisting of three components: a language passport, a language biography, and a dossier.

CEFR was published in Croatian in 2005 as “Zajednički europski referentni okvir za jezike – učenje, poučavanje i vrednovanje” (ZEROJ).

The main point of CEFR is that language acquisition takes place over five language activities of equal importance: language structures (grammar and vocabulary), reading, writing, listening, and speaking. All foreign language teaching and examination should start with this in mind.


There are three main language levels: A, B, and C.


You do not know the language or you recognize familiar words. You can use simple phrases and sentences or you can ask simple questions. You can write a postcard or a short message, and read a very short and simple text.


You can interact about some topics and take part in social situations, even though you do not understand enough to keep the communication going on your own. You can use simple expressions to describe your family and other people, living conditions, etc.


You can talk about familiar topics without previous preparation. You can retell a story or a book/film summary, as well as describe your reactions. You can understand the main points of many radio and TV programmes about current affairs, as well as standard language about work, school, vacation, etc. You can get by while travelling abroad.


You can give clear, detailed descriptions about numerous topics regarding your profession and personal interests. You can express your opinion about a certain topic. You can understand most TV news, current affairs programmes and most films in standard dialect. You can use the language with a certain degree of eloquence and spontaneity, which enable communicating with native speakers. You can take part in debates about familiar topics, giving supporting evidence for your views.


You can express ideas and opinions in a precise manner and explain them to others successfully. You can describe and present complex topics in a clear and detailed way. You can understand specialised texts even when they are not related to you profession. You can express yourself in a clear and spontaneous manner without having to search for the right expression. You can successfully use the language for social and professional purposes. You can easily understand TV programmes and films.


You do not have any trouble understanding any kind of spoken language, both live and broadcast. You can successfully take part in debates regarding various topics, use idiomatic and colloquial expressions.