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EU job application process 'discriminatory': ECJ

March 26, 2019

Europe's top court has ruled that a language requirement for an EU driver job was discriminatory. Spain had challenged a requirement for applications to be submitted in English, French or German.

European Court of Justice, Strasbourg
Image: Imago

The EU's top court ruled on Tuesday that unequal treatment on the basis of language is not permitted when hiring workers for EU institutions. Spain had challenged a requirement to complete an application form in English, French or German for a job with the European Parliament. 

The ECJ ruling annulled a call for expressions of interest for the driver job, and voided a database of candidates. Applications had been submitted through the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) jobs portal. 

The Parliament had justified the language restriction because, it argued, newly hired workers would need to communicate effectively in their daily work, and English, German and French are the institution's most widely-spoken languages.

However, the court ruled that differences of treatment based on language are, in principle, not allowed. 

An exception would be permissible if it "meets the actual needs of the service, is proportionate to those needs and is motivated by clear, objective and foreseeable criteria," the court added.

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What is the EPSO?

It is the gateway for EU careers. It selects workers for job openings in all EU institutions and agencies, such as the European Parliament, European Commission and the Court of Justice.

The EU institutions rely on EPSO to ensure the best and brightest workers are hired for EU positions. Job applicants must undergo a series of EPSO skills assessments, many of which are only available in English, German and French.

kw/rt (dpa, AFP)

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