Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate for the US Presidency, did recently pronounce a speech on the symbolic location of the Brandemburg Gate, Berlin, which was considered by many as historical. The partnership between Europe and the US, the ever closer alliance between the two sides of the Atlantic after the Bush era and the fight on terror were the major issues. Some political commentators begin to consider whether there is consistency behind Obama's emerging global figure, probably the first global leader, or not. [The Economist, though, pointed out that "the listeners were mainly European, but the real audience was in America"] The thing is: could this speech have been delivered in Spain? Obama gathered some 300.000 people despite saying no word in German. Fully in English. The answer to the question is no. Why? According to a recent poll by Funcas (Association of Spanish Saving banks), only a 50% of Spaniards can speak a foreign language other than Spanish. Amongst them, the Andalusian people fall down to the last place: only 64% of them can speak a foreign language.
If Madrid and Spain as a country want to stand out as an international political actor and catch up with its remarkable and successful multinational companies, the language issue needs to be adressed soon.
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