On 27 November 2012, Antonio Tizzano, Judge at the Court of Justice of the EU, read the judgement C-566/10 P Italy v Commission on law governing the institutions, in Luxembourg.
It deals with the publication in three languages of notices of EU competitions and the obligation to take the selection tests in one of those languages, which amount to discrimination on the ground of language.
In February and March 2007, the agency EPSO1, responsible for the recruitment procedures for EU officials, published notices of competitions for administrators and assistants in the field of information, communication and the media2. Those notices were published in English, French and German in the Official Journal of the European Union ('OJ'). With regard to the admission to and the taking of the admission tests, a thorough knowledge of one of the official languages of the EU as the main language and a satisfactory knowledge of English, French or German as the second – different – language were required. In addition, it was stipulated that only English, French or German were to be used for the invitations to the tests, the correspondence between EPSO and the candidates and the admission tests. The same conditions were stipulated in relation to the admission to the written tests and for the taking of those tests3.
In June and July 2007, EPSO published two amendments in the OJ, in all the language versions, referring back expressly to the full version of the notices already published in English, French and German, and laying down new closing dates for the submission of applications.
Italy brought proceedings before the General Court seeking annulment of those.
Consequently, the Court sets aside the judgment of the General Court. Giving final judgment on the case, it also annuls the notices of open competitions. By contrast, in order to respect the legitimate expectations of the selected candidates, the results of the competitions are not to be called into question.
To enable the institutions to secure the best candidates in terms of ability, efficiency and integrity, it would be preferable to allow candidates to sit the selection tests in their mother tongue or in the language of which they have the best command.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.