An English-speaking Brussels spokesman taking a stab at German has underscored the challenges and usefulness of knowing more than just one’s first language. He made errors in pronunciation, to say the least, but the effort brought titters of appreciation in the press briefing room. This was to announce events coming up this Sunday for European Day of Languages.
The EU has 23 official languages, so its institutions need an army of interpreters, and it is always looking to replenish the ranks. English is by far the most-used language in the EU institutionally, also in print and online.
Speaking economically, Brussels says that language versatility helps in competing with the rest of the world, opens business opportunities. Language limitations lose contracts. Improved training in them is considered a key to economic growth.
European funding provides 50 million euros per year to support language activities and projects.
Rappellez-vous: este domingo hay que celebrar den Europäischen Tag der Sprachen.
Details of language events are available on the Internet.