Language learning is something that everyone can do. You're never too old or too young to learn a language!
In many countries it is quite normal for most people to be able to use several languages. These people are better able to move between countries for educational, professional or other reasons. Their linguistic skills are attractive to employers.
The European Commission wants everybody in the Union to share these benefits. In its 1995 White Paper “Teaching and Learning: towards the learning society”, it set the objective of all EU citizens being proficient in three European languages: their mother tongue plus two more.
Have a look at this map from a report of the Eurobarometer of Europeans and their Languages from 2006. Do the countries from Southern Europe have anything in common?
If you cannot see the map, click on it.