About 74.5 per cent of Bulgarian primary school pupils are studying English as a foreign language, according to statistics released by EU statistics agency Eurostat on the eve of September 26, the European Day of Languages.
In all, 82.9 per cent of Bulgarian primary school pupils are learning a foreign language.
About 81.4 per cent were studying one foreign language and 1.5 per cent were studying two or more.
The second-most studied language among Bulgarian primary school pupils was Russian – but at some vast distance behind English, at 1.5 per cent, Eurostat said.
In 2015, almost 19 million primary school pupils (or 84 per cent of all the pupils at this level) in the EU were studying at least one foreign language, including a million (about five per cent) who were studying two foreign languages or more.
English was by far the most popular language, studied by 17.5 million pupils (83.5 per cent of the primary school population) in the EU. French (0.8 million or 4.8 per cent) came second, followed by German (almost 0.7 million or 3.9 per cent), Spanish (0.1 million or 0.6 per cent), Russian (54 000 or 0.3 per cent) and Italian (33 000 or 0.2 per cent).
All or nearly all pupils at primary level in 2015 attended foreign language classes in Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta and Austria (all 100 per cent), Croatia (99.9 per cent), Spain (99.4 per cent), and France (99.2 per cent), as well as in Italy (98.6 per cent), Romania (98.3 per cent) and Poland (97.6 per cent). At EU level, this share stood at 84.3 per cent.
In some EU countries, young pupils were studying two or more foreign languages, particularly in Luxembourg (83.7 per cent), followed at a distance by Estonia (30.7 per cent) and Greece (28.9 per cent).
In contrast, less than half of primary school pupils were studying a foreign language in 2015 in Portugal (35.4 per cent), Belgium (36.7 per cent), the Netherlands (42.9 per cent) and Slovenia (49.8 per cent).
English is the most common foreign language studied at primary level in every EU member state, except Belgium and Luxembourg, both multilingual countries.
The second most common foreign language gives a more varied picture, Eurostat said.
German, which is the most learnt foreign language in Luxembourg, was the second main foreign language studied by primary school pupils in eight other EU countries, with the highest shares of pupils recorded in Croatia (20.9 per cent) and Hungary (20.2 per cent).
French occupied this position on the EU level and in seven member states, with the largest proportions being notably recorded in Luxembourg (83.5 per cent), Greece (15.8 per cent) and Romania (15.2 per cent)./IBNA