President Jacques Chirac of France stormed out of an EU summit meeting because one of his fellow countrymen dared to speak English - quelle horreur!
When Ernest-Antoine Seillière, the French head of the European business lobby Unice began addressing the EU's 25 leaders in English, Chirac interrupted him and asked why he was not using his mother tongue.Also in Germany leaders prefer to speak in German in international meetings although having good knowledge in English. This is a sharp contrast to the fact that the German version of American idol is full of local singers who sings mostly in English. The younger generation cherishes English songs.
"I'm going to speak in English because that is the language of business," Seillière replied.
With that, Chirac, 73, stood up and left the room, flanked by his finance minister, Thierry Breton, and foreign minister, Philippe Douste-Blazy. He said later: "You cannot build the world of the future on just one language and, hence, one culture."
English in some form or other is indeed a global phenomenon, but now a days big trading blocks are being established that bypass English speakers. In South America, the various economic partners have no need of English, neither do some Middle Eastern or East Asian trading groups.
Now, my question is, are the Europeans ready to face the challenging economic world linguistically?