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If everybody else speaks English, why do we need Europe?

Monday, 02 July 2012
By: Uta

The European Single Market is a significant element of UK trade and the recent economic crisis in Europe has heightened negative feelings towards Europe, and the UK's responsibilities towards the EU.

Trade on the European Single Market is estimated to be worth £3300 a year to every British household.  The UK government states that Britain’s focus is on boosting economic growth, keeping people in employment and creating new jobs. This means working with European partners and preparing the British workforce to compete globally in the 21st century, while promoting the single market and developing British trade links. 

With the widespread assumption that everyone else speaks English and there is no need to communicate in other languages, the balance of UK trade is still skewed towards countries which share English as a trading language. Whereas the majority of Europe makes languages as a compulsory subject the UK continues to view languages as an optional subject in mainstream education after the age of 14. 

Does the lack of a foreign language reduce the competitiveness of the British workforce across European borders, hamper our trade growth with non-English speaking countries and have an effect on British SMEs and social enterprises within the single market economy?


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