European Day of Languages Eurostat release
On the occasion of the European Day of Languages, celebrated each year on 26 September, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, has published data on language learning of school pupils and perceived language skills of adults.
According to the Eurostat release, in the EU 28 in 2011, 83% of pupils at primary and lower secondary level and 94% of those in upper secondary level general programmes were studying English as a foreign language.
The second most commonly studied foreign language at both primary and lower secondary level and upper secondary level was French (19% of pupils in primary and lower secondary level and 23% in upper secondary), followed by German (9% and 21%) and Spanish (6% and 18%).
The importance of English as a foreign language in the EU is also confirmed amongst working age adults. In the EU28, English was declared to be the best-known foreign language in 2011 amongst the population aged 25 to 64.
Among those stating English to be their best-known foreign language, 20% responded that they spoke it at a proficient level, 35% at a good level and 45% at a fair level. Considering all languages, two-thirds of the total population aged 25-64 stated they knew at least one foreign language.