Published Monday, 27 February 2012
What is really surprising for me is the complete domination of English as a medium for communicating.
At every single talk that I attended, at the Ecofin press conference and also at the key briefing by Commissioner Olli Rehn on the EU's economic forecasts, not only were the addresses all in English but from memory all the questions put by journalists were also put in English.
The only times I had to communicate in French were asking for train tickets and enquiring from a porter where an event was being held.
It is striking how one can spend three days in the capital city of a major Continental country and not have to speak in either of its two official languages.
The foreign journalists who attended spoke so fluently that you could easily imagine that several had English as their first language.
And there I was struggling to put a few sentences together in French to ask the way.
The only thing that saves me from total humiliation on this score was the assurance that English is very easy to learn unlike Continental languages.
Or maybe someone was just trying to be kind.