Thursday

27th Feb 2020

Scandinavian pupils top the class in English

A comparative study, due to be published today, shows that young students from Scandinavian schools are top of the class when it comes to writing, reading and understanding English, according to AFP.

The report - which ranks 12,000 children aged 15-16 from Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Sweden, France and Spain - shows that Swedes and Finns are outperforming their European rivals.

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  • Swedes get top marks in English tests (Photo: European Commission)

But there is a very poor report for French pupils, whose level of English has dropped since 1996, both in writing the language and understanding it.

In 1996, France was still ahead of Spain, but has now slipped down to bottom of the class and its pupils are "clearly inferior to thoses in the other six countries", according to the report.

The results of the survey "allow us to ask some fundamental questions about English teaching in France", concludes the report.

'Fragmented' Slovakia goes to polls amid corruption woes

Saturday's elections in Slovakia could herald the rise of the far-right People's Party Our Slovakia, or the emergence of a populist anti-corruption candidate, in a country wracked by mistrust since the assassination two years ago of an investigative journalist.

German ex-commissioner Oettinger lands Orban job

Hungary's PM Viktor Orban appointed controversial former commissioner Guenther Oettinger to a government council in a way that might break EU rules. Oettinger claims he did not know about the appointment.

EU leaders face major clash on rule of law budget link

One major issue dividing member states in the ongoing budget negotiations is inserting a direct link between EU subsidies and the rule of law. While the biggest battle will be over figures, the rule of law conditionality also creates tension.

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Is Belgium heading for new elections?

Belgian coalition talks have hit a wall nine months after elections, posing the possibility of a new vote, which risks making the country even harder to govern.

Central Europe mayors join in direct EU funds plea

They call themselves the "Pact of Free Cities". The mayors of Budapest, Bratislava, Prague and Warsaw want EU funds to bypass their governments, in order to fight climate change and populism.

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German domestic turmoil prolongs EU leadership gap

A leadership contest is back on in German chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling CDU party - which could decide not only the centre-right's future but also Germany's European policy. Berlin has been absent from the EU and will likely remain so.

Five new post-Brexit MEPs to watch

Five MEPs to keep an eye on from the 27 new members who are joining the European Parliament this week, following the UK's departure from the EU.

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