The Court of Justice of the European Union gave a ruling on Tuesday 26 March on two cases regarding language regime in EU staff selection procedures. Ongoing competitions are not affected by the rulings and will continue normally.
In the case of Commission v Italy, the Court dismisses the Commission’s appeal to annul a previous judgement of the General Court. In the previous judgement, the General Court had annulled two notices of open competitions of EPSO on the grounds of unlawfully restricted choice of languages in the competition and communication between candidates and EPSO. The notices cover EPSO competitions AD/294/14 and AD/276/14. The rights of successful candidates in the competitions concerned and all other completed competitions are unaffected. Similarly, the judgement does not give unsuccessful candidates of already completed competitions a new right to appeal against their results.
In a case of Spain v Parliament, the Court annuls the call for expression of interest of the Parliament for establishing a database for drivers (contract agents), and declares that database void.
The Court reiterates that the Staff Regulations of officials prohibit any discrimination, including discrimination on the grounds of language. However, differences of treatment on grounds of language may be authorised if they are justified by a legitimate objective such as the interests of the service or needs relating to the duties of the recruited persons.
Communicating on EU Careers in 24 languages
The rulings addressed to the Commission concern two competitions held in 2014. Since then, EPSO has introduced several improvements and changes on the language regime of its competitions in order to secure equal treatment of candidates while taking into account the operational aspects of testing as well as the needs of the services. Today, EPSO’s website and most recently the EPSO account is available in 24 languages ensuring that all selection procedures and open vacancies are advertised in all these languages. Additionally, EPSO offers candidates and interested citizens the possibility to be in contact in any of the 24 languages.
EPSO and its stakeholders are currently analysing the judgements and will decide on further proceedings accordingly.
For more information, please visit the website of European Court of Justice.