The latest European Commission figures show that in 2011 just 42% of European 15-year-olds were competent in their first foreign language, despite often having learned it from seven years of age. Furthermore, the figure differed hugely across different EU countries, with 82% for Sweden and just 9% for Britain. [...] The commissioner also spoke of the position of English as the EU’s lingua franca - once an “elephant in the room” in Brussels - but added that learning it should not come at the expense of other languages.
“While English may be seen as a ‘basic skill’ today … I am still absolutely convinced that it is more and more the knowledge of other languages that can make the difference in getting a job and progressing in one’s career,” she said.
Via Nicos Sifakis