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Is Europe really falling out of love with English?

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By Chris Harris
Is Europe really falling out of love with English?

“Slowly but surely English is losing importance in Europe,” EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker claimed last year.

Some might see his comments as a cheap jab at London to try and get the upper hand in Brexit negotiations.

Others could claim he has a point – when Britain eventually leaves the European Union only Malta and Ireland will have English as their official languages.

The statistics, however, paint a different story.

Figures, released to coincide with the European Day of Languages, reveal 83.5 percent of EU primary school pupils were learning Shakespeare’s tongue in 2015, the latest period for which data was available.

English has also become increasingly popular. The proportion of youngsters learning the language jumped by six percent in the two years to 2015.

Percentage of primary-age children learning English as a foreign language