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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian 'Rules' Europe

BRUSSELS () -- English has outstripped all other languages in being understood by European Union citizens, but Russian is the most understood language across the continent, a survey released Thursday shows.

The poll, by the EU's statistics office Eurostat, shows one in three of the 15-nation bloc's citizens claim to speak English well enough to be understood. French can be understood by 15 percent of EU citizens and German by 9 percent.

But if the EU's 286 million citizens were added to Eastern Europe's 269 million, Russian would overtake all other languages as the most widely understood with 35 percent, to 28 for English.

The survey said citizens of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were the most polylingual. Portuguese, Greek and Finnish were considered the least useful European languages.