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June 2017

Juncker jape sparks english media storm

p6 European party web

The English language recently enjoyed some celebrity as seemingly every journalist in the English-speaking world was forced to write about its enduring importance.

The outpouring started as EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker chose to begin a speech with a platitude (in English) about the status of the English language after Brexit.

Speaking at the 7th State of the Union Conference in Florence, Italy, Juncker said he was torn between English and French. He said that ‘slowly but surely English is losing importance in Europe’. Since the French elections were to happen soon, he wanted people in France to understand what he was saying, he added, and he switched to French.

The English-speaking press didn’t pick up on the easy mockery of France’s English-speaking abilities and defended the lingo instead. ‘Even the French love Downton Abbey,’ said The Sun in a lengthy article about the importance of English that dragged Shakespeare, Dickens, the Bronte sisters and J.K. Rowling into the matter. Juncker’s words about the refugee crisis on the other hand didn’t have much impact – after all, he was speaking French.


Pic courtesy: European People’s Party

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