More precisely, it’s the real reason why the European Union (EU) is so desperate for Britain to stay. If we left, only 27 official languages would remain. None of the EU countries would be able to use English any longer in any EU event. Meetings would take 10 times as long and be 20 times as costly.
Most politicians may not realise this, but the bureaucrats in Brussels most certainly do. Without English speakers, proportionately recruited from all the different countries of the EU, the officials would not have been able to pass half the regulations they have done.
The earliest officials — when the EU was merely six countries — must be kicking themselves that they didn’t make English its one and only official language. They might have got away with it on purely pragmatic grounds. If they had, the EU would be a bona fide nation-state like every other and not the fragmenting mess it is now with a third of its members re-establishing border controls.