English for everyone?

The Economist has an editorial on the economic and social consequences of the rise of English in Europe, noting “signs of a backlash” in cosmopolitan Brussels and elsewhere.

Perhaps Brussels should accept its fate as an international city, and switch to English, like some European Singapore (although with waffles, frites and dirty streets)? 

The piece notes the financial benefits to Britain of lower spending on language education and income from teaching English to others. It also points out how English crowds out the languages of neighboring countries, or even other linguistic communities within a given country, that may actually be more important for local and regional business in any particular place.

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