(24 September 2015) – On the occasion of the European Day of Languages, celebrated each year on 26 September, Eurostat publishes data on foreign language learning at school.
In 2013, 17.7 million primary school pupils (or 81.7% of all the pupils at this level) in the European Union were studying at least one foreign language, including 1 million (4.6%) studying two foreign languages or more. At primary level, English was by far the most popular language, studied by 16.7 million pupils.
The dominance of English is confirmed at the lower secondary level (pupils aged around 11-15 depending on the national educational system) with 17.1 million pupils in the EU learning English as a foreign language (95.6% of all the pupils at this level) in 2013.
French (4.9 million or 27.4%) came second, followed by German (2.9 million or 16.3%), Spanish (2.1 million or 11.6%), Russian (0.5 million or 2.7%) and Italian (0.2 million or 1.0%).