Language proficiency up across all EU except Germany: Survey

Thu, 23 May 2024 8:55 GMT
The foreign language skills of European Union citizens have increased in recent years but not when it comes to Germany, a Eurobarometer survey published by the European Commission in Brussels on Tuesday revealed.
Language proficiency up across all EU except Germany: Survey

In 2023, almost 60% of Europeans stated that they could hold a conversation in a language other than their mother tongue, up 3% on the previous survey from 2012 and almost 80% of 15-24-year-olds, up 5%.

German is still one of the most widely spoken foreign languages in the EU. According to the survey, 10% of Europeans can hold a conversation in German, even if they are not native speakers. Compared to 2012, however, this is a drop of two points – and German proficiency has also fallen among 15-24-year-olds by four points to 12%.

The situation is different from that of English: The language is spoken by almost half of Europeans as a foreign or second language and has also gained popularity compared to the previous survey. It is striking that this knowledge is even more widespread among younger EU citizens at 70%.

A total of 11% of non-native speakers in the EU can converse in French, putting the language ahead of German's 10% and Spanish, which 7% of respondents said they could.

According to the European Commission, more than 26,500 people aged 15 and over in the 27 EU member states were interviewed for the survey.

The surveys were conducted in person in all countries between September and October 2023 and were supplemented by self-completion interviews in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Malta and Finland.


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