ENGLISH has become Europe’s language of choice with two thirds of the continent able to speak it.

A study has found that English is the first foreign language studied in secondary schools in every country outside Britain and Ireland.

The results of the survey are a particular blow to the French, who recently launched a failed bid for their language to be made the sole official language of the EU headquarters in Brussels, claiming their mother tongue was “more precise”.

However the report by Eurostat, the EU’s statistics body found that only 12 per cent of people wanted to be French speakers, compared to 66 per cent for English and 20 per cent for German.

“English is far ahead of any other as the first choice as a foreign language,” the report said.

“Behind English, people are choosing to learn German and Russian.”

Last month, Pascal Smet, a Flemish-speaking Belgian politician upset his country’s French speakers by calling for English to
become Europe’s “common language”.

“I note that the engine of European integration is sputtering. We simply do not speak the same tongue, hence my plea for a common language,” he said.

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