Guide

Doing business in another language

Overview of language use in Europe

Many businesses across the European Economic Area (EEA) can communicate very well in English, particularly at management level.

However, a Eurobarometer poll found that almost half of all European Union (EU) citizens only speak one language. For example, 59 per cent of Italians, 58 per cent of Portuguese, and 56 per cent of Spaniards speak only their mother tongue. This makes communication with those markets more difficult for English-speaking companies, so having language skills could help your business compete in EEA countries.

The free movement of people within the EEA has made it easier for workers with good language skills to travel to other member states to find employment. This provides employers with a larger number of prospective employees with language skills which can help businesses operate more successfully in other EEA countries.