On the occasion of the 10th European Day of Languages, celebrated yesterday 26 September, Eurostat published a set of data on language learning of school pupils.
In the EU27 in 2009, 82% of pupils at primary and lower secondary level and 95% of those in upper secondary level general programmes were studying English as a foreign language.
The second most commonly studied foreign language at primary and lower secondary level was French (16% of pupils), followed by German (9%) and Spanish (6%), while at upper secondary level it was German (27%), followed by French (26%) and Spanish (19%).
Primary and lower secondary level school
In 2009, at primary and lower secondary level, English was the most commonly studied language, with shares as high as 100% in Malta, 99% in Spain and Italy and 98% in Austria.
French was the most commonly studied foreign language in Belgium, Ireland and the United Kingdom, while in Luxembourg it was German.
There was more diversity in the second most commonly studied language with French and German recorded in seven Member States each, Russian in four, Spanish in three, Italian in two and Dutch and Swedish in one each.
Upper secondary education
In upper secondary education, English was also the most commonly studied language, with over 90% in all Member States, except Hungary and Malta. French remained the most commonly studied language in Ireland and the United Kingdom and German in Luxembourg.
Find out more about what languages are most studied in EU countries on: