Skip to Content

EU Commission chief: ‘English is losing importance’

Jean-Claude Juncker believes not only the English language is “losing importance” within Europe following Britain’s decision to leave.

Published: May 29, 2017, 10:36 am


    Juncker spoke in Florence, Italy on 5 May and the European Commission president was applauded when he spoke French instead of English.

    His remarks sounded lucid and realistic for once. Juncker admitted that the EU was currently facing difficulties related to shrinking populations. “Europe does have some weaknesses which can partly explain the outcome of the referendum in the UK. There are some weaknesses which we perhaps sometimes overlook. We’re maybe scared of the truth sometimes, the truth which may emerge on the horizon.”

    The EU chief gave the keynote address to a State of the Union conference in the Italian city in French, because he noted jokingly that almost nobody understands his native Luxembourgish. “I agitated between English and French but I will express myself in French.”

    Juncker told his audience that Europe’s prospects for the future are diminishing, because it would “shrink” in importance. “Europe, as every other continent, needs to accept the fact that each and every policy is a result of the meeting between geography and politics.

    “We are losing our economic power and our economic clout. We’re currently down to 25 per cent of global GDP. In ten years’ time that percentage will shrink down to 15. We’ll be a smaller continent, our economies will shrink accordingly, we’ll face a demographic crisis.”

    He added: “There should be no doubt that it isn’t the EU which is abandoning the UK, it is the opposite in fact they are abandoning the EU and this is a difference which will be felt over the next few years.”

    Spoken by 12 percent of the EU population, French is the fourth most widely spoken mother tongue in the European Union, after German, Italian and English. It is also the third most widely known language of the Union, after English and German.


    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.


    German President launches fresh attack on AfD

    BerlinThe AfD rejected the criticism from Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier stating that the Alternative for Germany was not a bourgeois party. "A Federal President should not interfere in the party politics," said the AfD chairman Alexander Gauland.

    The city of Pescara celebrates its soldier-poet Gabriele D’Annunzio

    PescaraFrom September 7 to 15, Pescara, the capital city of Italian Abruzzo region, will celebrate la Festa della Rivoluzione – d’Annunzio torna a Pescara [Revolution festival – d’Annunzio returns to Pescara]. His legacy has inspired Italian sovereignists.

    Betrayal by Bannon

    A story of failures: How Steve Bannon tried to split the Vatican and dragged Matteo Salvini into his misfortune.

    Antwerp: Vlaams Belang leader denounces Islam from rooftops

    Antwerp Flemish Member of Parliament and Antwerp City Councilor Filip Dewinter climbed onto the roof of the Antwerp town hall to highlight the Flemish port city's demography.

    Italy’s new government green-lights NGO landings

    RomeThe new direction of the Italian Conte II Cabinet regarding migrants has been outlined, and it is a different route, if not the opposite, to the one taken in the last 14 months by Matteo Salvini.

    Arctic thaw could see rise in Sino-Russian cooperation

    Climate change and technological advances will soon see the Arctic opening up to new trade routes, and the region's growing economic potential as well as military infrastructure are demanding the attention of global powers.

    Yellow Vests: Renewed mobilization

    For the start of the new academic year, a few thousand Yellow Vests gathered in several major cities in France, marking an increase in mobilization after the summer. Clashes erupted in Montpellier and Rouen in particular.

    The New Dissident Podcast

    Mateusz Piskorski, first political prisoner of Poland, and Manuel Ochsenreiter, editor-in-chief of German ZUERST! newsmagazine will soon be launching their geopolitical podcast – with special guest Prof Alexander Dugin.

    Marseille: At least one woman injured after knife attack at elementary school

    MarseilleA class at a primary school in Marseille at the start of the 2019 school year was in a state of complete shock after a staff member was stabbed by a 17-year-old.

    Empty words: Celebrities who had promised to house migrants

    ParisFrench celebrities who had rushed forward to say that they would welcome illegal immigrants at home, have not done so.

    Go to archive