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65% know at least one foreign language in the EU

26/09/2018

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On the occasion of the European Day of Languages, figures on self-reported language skills show that in 2016, 65 % of working-age adults in the European Union (EU) knew at least one foreign language. In some Member States, knowledge of foreign languages was particularly high. For example, more than 90 % of respondents knew at least one foreign language in these countries: Sweden (97 %), Latvia, Denmark and Lithuania (all 96%), Luxembourg (95 %), Finland and Malta (both 92 %) and Estonia (91 %).

Chart: Knowledge of foreign languages in the EU 2016

 

High levels of multilingualism were present in Luxembourg, where more than half of the working-age adults reported speaking at least three foreign languages. Knowledge of at least three foreign languages was also high in Finland (45 %) and Slovenia (38 %).

In contrast, there were four Member States where half or less than half of the working-age population knew a foreign language: the United Kingdom (35 %), Romania (36 %), Hungary (42 %) and Bulgaria (50 %).

Note: data for Ireland are not yet available.

The source data can be found here.

More information on European language day is available under Eurostat's Themes in the Spotlight.