Brussels, 10 February 2005
The European network Eurydice has just published the first report, funded by the European Commission, setting out the key figures on language teaching in Europe. This report describes the state of affairs in 30 countries and highlights the increase in recent years in foreign language learning in primary education. Learning two foreign languages from a very early age was one of the recommendations of the Barcelona European Council in March 2002.
“In an enlarged and multilingual Europe, learning foreign languages from a very young age allows us to discover other cultures and better prepare for occupational mobility.” said Ján Figeľ , European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Multilingualism. “This report will contribute to the discussions and activities of the European Commission and the Member States in relation to the promotion of language learning and linguistic diversity."
The report used harmonised statistical data provided by Eurostat. The sources used come from the States studied, and the reference school year was 2002/2003. In general, the report concerns only languages which are considered foreign languages by central educational authorities. However, regional and/or minority languages are also covered in cases where curricula consider them to be alternatives to foreign languages.
The findings of the report include:
The full text of the report is available at the following address:
For further information:
 Eurydice, an information network on education founded in 1980 by the European Commission and the participating States, helps to increase understanding of education policies and systems. Since 1995 it has been an integral part of Socrates, the Community action programme in the field of education.
 The 25 Member States of the Union (for Belgium: results for the Flemish, French and German-speaking Communities; for the United Kingdom: England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland) + the three EFTA/EEA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) + Bulgaria and Romania.