This is sad news for the French language, five days before the celebration of the Elysée Treaty, sealing the Franco-German reconciliation. Fewer and fewer German pupils are learning French, the Federal Statistical Office noted on Tuesday.
For the 2021/22 school year, only 15.3% of German pupils had chosen to study French at school, the lowest level for twenty-six years. In 1995, they were 15.1%. French is largely overtaken by English, which attracted 82.4% of German pupils in 2021/22. Nevertheless, French remains in second place among the foreign languages taught in Germany: Latin holds third place (6.4%), followed by Spanish (5.9%).
The taste of French in cross-border regions
Unsurprisingly, the language of Molière is acclaimed in the border regions of France: in Saarland, more than half (51.2%) of pupils learn French at school, in Rhineland-Palatinate they are 25.8% and in Baden-Württemberg, 24.3%. On the other hand, in Mecklenburg-Pomerania (northeast), they are only 10.6%, in Saxony-Anhalt (east) 10.7% and North Rhine Westphalia (northwest) 11.5%.
Paris and Berlin are preparing to celebrate Sunday with great fanfare the 1963 Elysee Treaty which sealed reconciliation and opened an era of unprecedented cooperation between the two countries.