In the large EU countries a lot of people can speak English…pretty much everyone gets taught it.[/quote:d73c81e520]
It seems to me a quite high rate as well, but on the other hand, being taught a subject doesn’t mean you know it :). I come from a country where people who can speak English as second language are few; a lot of factors come into play regarding this matter, the first being necessity: if you don’t have to speak/write English why bother learning? It’s usually a business/academic language, where interaction with people from other countries it’s more likely to happen.
We wouldn’t have localisation companies otherwise.
I’d like also to notice another thing: how many native English speakers learn a second language?
My two cents.