Previously, when registering for a generalist competition, candidates had to choose between English, French or German as their second language (language in which they would take the assessment centre tests). These three languages are generally considered to be the de facto working languages of a majority of the European Institutions. Following several complaints from Member States, the Court of Justice of the European Communities (CJEC) confirmed that this limited choice was not justified. EPSO’s new language rules are intended to give candidates a language environment that is simultaneously objective, clear, as open as possible, and economically viable.
The language arrangements are generally different for competitions for specialists and for linguists (see competition notice).