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54 vs 44 yes. Not that surprising considering that in a conversation people adapt their langugae to those they talk to, and a conversation is less stringently defined then being able to follow news.

Just over two fifths (44%) of Europeans say that they are able to understand at least one foreign language well enough to be able to follow the news on radio or television. English is the most widely understood, with a quarter (25%) of Europeans able to follow radio or television news in the language. French and German are mentioned by 7% of respondents each, while Spanish (5%), Russian (3%) and Italian (2%).

This is probably the relevant level to understand political speech.

In addition we have the native speakers:

In accordance with the EU population, the most widely spoken mother tongue is German (16%), followed by Italian and English (13% each), French (12%), then Spanish and Polish (8% each).

Adding up to:
English 38%
German 23%
French 19%
Italian 15%

As that is the proportion reached with each language (they overlap of course). However, the 25% that has english as a second language might not mind so much hearing mangled second-language english. After all, it is how our leaders speak.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 03:07:15 PM EST
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