European Day of Languages - Eurostat Release

According to the data published on the occasion of the European Day of Languages by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, in 2014, more than 18 million primary school pupils (or 84% of all the pupils at this level) in the European Union (EU) were studying at least one foreign language, including nearly 1 million (around 5%) studying two foreign languages or more.

At primary level, English was by far the most popular language, studied by over 17 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 over 17 million pupils in the EU learning English as a foreign language (97% of all the pupils at this level) in 2014. French (5 million or 34% of the relevant population) came second, followed by German (3 million or 23%), Spanish (2 million or 13%), Russian (0.5 million or 3%) and Italian (0.2 million or 1%).

Currently there are 24 official languages recognised within the EU. In addition there are regional languages, minority languages, and languages spoken by migrant populations. Several EU Member States have more than one official language.