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European Day of Languages: what tongues are studied in the EU? English top of the list. Italian at the bottom

“In the European Union, most primary- and secondary-school students study at least one foreign language: in the EU in 2020, 96.1% of primary-school students, 98.4% of junior high school students and 90.3% of senior high-school students studied at least one foreign language”. This was found by a Eurostat survey, issued in the run-up to the European Day of Languages. “In 2020, 60% of senior high-school students studied two or more foreign languages as compulsory or elective subjects, one percent more than in 2019”.
In Luxembourg and France, all senior high-school students studied two or more foreign languages. Romania, Finlandia and Czechia too “reported a high number of students studying two or more languages (all of them at 99%)”. Such countries are followed by Slovakia and Estonia (both at 98%), Slovenia (96%) and Croatia (94%).
“In 2020, English was the most widely studied foreign language at a general senior high-school and vocational level in the EU, with 96% and 79% of students, respectively”. Spanish came second (27%), followed by French (22%), German (21%) and Italian (3%). In addition, Russian was the most widely learnt non-EU language in the EU (3%), especially in Estonia (67%) and Latvia (57%), followed by Lithuania (30%) and Bulgaria (24%).

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