European Union institutions are currently under-represented by British natives, in part due to low-level language skills. Just 5% of positions in the European Parliament and Commission are filled by Britons, despite the United Kingdom comprising 12% of the total population of the European Union.
English is commonly used as a universal language in international situations and, as we commented in a previous post, the number of students of foreign languages in other European countries is high above the figure in the United Kingdom. What’s amazing to me is that some people still argue that there is no need for native English speakers to learn other languages, when in conducting international relationships with other EU countries, understanding another language, culture and country is paramount. As Michael Shackleton, Head of the London European Parliament Office, commented “The balance of the use of language has been in favour of English, but to understand what people are thinking about you also have to get a sense of them and how they see the world.” (more…)
In a recent poll, 90% of internet users in Europe would visit a site in their own language when given the choice. Meanwhile, 53% would still use a site if it was in English rather than their native language. However, despite this relatively high figure, these users would not necessarily be happy about the lack of information available in their own language, with 44% of respondents stating that they felt they did not necessarily receive all the facts when the website was only available in another language. (more…)
An interesting guide to Europe featured in the Guardian, entitled “Europe by Numbers: the complete interactive guide” shows the variation in statistics throughout countries within Europe. Did you know, for example, that the populations of Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom account for over half of the 501 million strong population of the European Union member countries? Or that Austria has the highest number of practising physicians per 100,000 inhabitants, with 459, whilst the UK lags behind with 257.7? (more…)
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