EU recruitment service criticized for favoring old EU states' languages

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed May 23 16:26:31 UTC 2007

The EU institutions recruitment service has come under fire for allegedly
'favouring' languages from old EU member states.

In a report expected to be published later this week, European ombudsman
Nikiforos Diamandouros criticises the Brussels-based European Personnel
Selection Service (EPSO) over its former recruitment policy. The report
concerns entrance examinations for civil service posts in the various EU
institutions, including the commission and parliament, between 2004 and
2006. The rules have since been changed but in an open competition
published shortly after EU expansion in 2004, candidates were asked to
demonstrate a "thorough" knowledge of one of the 11 former official
languages of the EU and a "satisfactory" knowledge of another one.

Under the system, job applicants also had to sit part of their exams in
English, German or French. Since EU enlargement in 2004, the number of
official languages has risen to 23 to include those from the ten countries
which joined the EU three years ago. The Polish complainant said that
applicants with knowledge of an official language of one of the "old"
member states were granted a "privileged"  position, whereas those with
knowledge of a new member state language were not. In its reply to the
ombudsman, EPSO said that language skills constitute a "necessary
requirement" of the tasks to be performed by EU civil servants.

"Competitions are launched to meet the needs of the institutions and not
to create employment opportunities for EU citizens," it said. However, in
his report Strasbourg-based Diamandouros is critical of EPSO's former
recruitment policy, saying that its "failure to act in accordance with
applicable legal rules" amounted to maladministration. He says EPSO had
failed to provide a "satisfactory" explanation as to why thorough
knowledge of one of the old member state languages could be necessary for
the performance of candidates' future duties.

The ombudsman launched an investigation following a complaint from the
Association of Graduates of the Polish National School of Public
Administration. A spokeswoman for Diamandouros declined to officially
comment until his report is published. However, a European commission
source said, "We should stress that recruitment rules have now been


N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to its members
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner or sponsor of
the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who disagree with a
message are encouraged to post a rebuttal.


More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list