Presenting the results of a 2006 foreign-language skills study on 23 February 2007, Multilingualism Commissioner Leonard Orban urged EU companies to invest in language skills to dramatically improve their business opportunities.
The findings suggest that there is enormous potential for small businesses in Europe to increase their total exports if they invest more in languages and develop coherent language strategies, according to the Commission.
Recent research shows that companies that enhance their language skills can exploit better the business opportunities in the EU’s internal market, which, with nearly half a billion people, is the world’s largest.
While the report confirms the importance of English as the world’s business language, other languages are used extensively as intermediary languages. In particular, the analysis reveals that there is a need for a range of other languages if business relationships are to be built successfully. Those cited as being the most important include the main European languages, such as German, French and Spanish, but increasingly also other world languages such as Mandarin Chinese, Arabic and Russian.