Review by Christos T. Panagopoulos
No less than 74 percent of the Romanians aged between 25 and 64 say that can speak at least one foreign language when the EU average is 66 percent, informs a Eurostat survey that was published in Brussels.
The proportion of Romanians saying they can speak one foreign language at least is much higher than that of Bulgarians (39%) or of Hungarians (37%), who are actually on the last places in the EU from this point of view, but it is also above the ones in Italy (60%), France (59%) or Spain (51%). First from this viewpoint come Luxembourg (99%, mostly German), Lithuania (97%, Russian), Latvia (95%, Russian), Denmark (94%, English) and Sweden (92%, English) and Romania is 14th.
The best-known language in Romania is English, which 17% of speakers say they can speak very well, 32%, well and 52%, reasonable, a proportion that is higher in Italy alone (64%). It is only Germans (16%), Frenchmen (13%) and Italians (10%) that say they can speak English very well in a lower proportion than Romanians.
In 2011, 83% of the children attending primary and lower secondary education and 94% of the students attending upper secondary education in the EU used to study English as the first foreign language. The second language studied in schools is French, 19% of the children attending primary and lower secondary education and 23% of the ones attending upper secondary education learn this language at school, followed by German (9% and 21%) and Spanish (6% and 18%).
In Romania 72% of the children attending primary and lower secondary education study English as the first foreign language and 51%, French. Practically it is only Luxembourg that is ahead of Romania at this age bracket, with 90% of the pupils studying French as the secondary language, but French is one of the three official languages in the Grand Duchy.
Percentages go up to 99 for English and 86 for French in the upper secondary education as the first and second foreign language. As in the case of the other kinds of education, the only state ahead of Romania when it comes to the proportion of pupils studying French as the second foreign language is Luxembourg (100%).