Britons must be taught the "basics" of European culture to avoid awkward meetings with international neighbours, says a Kent councillor.
Kent county councillor Geoff Lymer (Con), who has worked on the mainland continent for 25 years, says he "cringes" when British people speak to European counterparts due to a lack of cultural understanding about their way of life.
"It is because of that lack of understanding that I have had French groups just throw their hands up in the air and walk out of meetings," Cllr Lymer said.
The West Dover councillor, who is also KCC's public health chairman, said that Britons tend to excessively "shake their hands" with their Europeans each time they meet.
His comments came amid a debate about KCC's planned membership of the Straits Committee post-Brexit, which will be comprised of a small group of European councils in the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Under the plan, joint schemes will be established related to the economy, tourism, climate change and culture, including an annual festival celebrating the history of France and England from 'cave men' to the present.
Several Kent and North France MPs last week signed a joint letter to French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Boris Johnson stressing the importance of "cross-border" trade between their two nations.
However, Cllr Lymer told KCC's economic development committee that existing cultural relations need to radically improve as he divulged his own experience as a former interpreter, working with the British while in Europe.
Speaking during a virtual public meeting three days ago, he said: "It is something we need to take seriously and not accept that because we are British and a bit quirky that all the other European countries must accept our way of behaving.
"We need to learn and understand the way that Europeans behave. I have been going around schools in my ward and explaining the importance of having at least one, if not two, additional languages."
Cllr Mark Dance (Con), who represents Whitstable and is the chairman of KCC's economic development panel, said KCC officers regularly "broker" overseas meetings.
The former KCC cabinet member, who has experience working with County Hall's international unit, said: "They will brief you about how we greet, how we chat and we have pre-meets."
County Hall has set aside around £100,000 from its own reserves for the Straits Committee, with a "joint vision" to be agreed in 2021 by KCC, France’s Pas de Calais, Belgium’s West Flanders and the Dutch Province of Zeeland.
Thanet member Cllr Rosalind Binks (Con) said that improving cross-border transport links should also be a priority for helping job prospects, citing her experiences of commuting 80 miles to London compared to 30 miles to France.
She said: "Young people are not enthused to consider France or Belgium as just another place of work.
"They are cutting out a large area of work possibilities. I suspect largely it is because of language and we have been woefully inadequate of teaching children languages other than English."