English-speaking site of German radio Deutsche Welle It is clear: English is establishing itself in Germany. For eighteen years now, English has been compulsory education in all primary schools (except in the border areas with France, where French is taught). At university, 10% of courses can be done entirely in English. However, Germany is not at the top of the best countries to immigrate to. “Language was a key factor in Germany’s low ranking in the Expat Insider 2023 survey by Munich-based expat network InterNations” explains it Deutsche Welle. In fact, except for Berlin, it is difficult to live in Germany while speaking English.
But things change. Unlike former chancellor Angela Merkel, who barely spoke English, her successor, Olaf Scholz, does not shy away from the task and seems to do it with a certain relish. Also, the Liberal Democratic Party, previously very aligned with the exclusive use of German and part of the governing coalition, is now pushing for the imposition of English. In fact, “Given the size of the German economy, which depends on exports and is home to major global corporations, English is the language of choice in a business context”.
The government has approved a bill aimed at expanding commercial courts in Germany and allowing them to handle cases in English. This is the case of a commercial court created in 2018 in the German financial capital of Frankfurt. More courts of this type have been set up within the European Union as an alternative to the Brexit United Kingdom.
The recently adopted law on qualified workers makes it easier for foreigners to find work in Germany, especially by recognizing their diplomas. But administrative procedures are often an obstacle because they are entirely in German. Their Anglicization, advocated by the Liberal Democratic Party in the administration and civil service, is sometimes greeted with skepticism because it requires training budgets. According to Ulrich Schilberbach, head of the German Civil Service Association (DPP), English is already widely spoken in government offices.
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