Luxembourg, October 30, 2023
According to Politico.eu, France has initiated legal proceedings against the European Commission, asserting that the Commission’s recruitment procedures favor English speakers and promote an “English hegemony” within the institution.
In one of the lawsuits submitted to the EU General Court, France takes issue with the pervasive use of English in job postings and interviews at the Commission despite all official EU languages having equal legal status. As reported in a Politico article covering the case, advocates argue non-English applicants face a disadvantage when competing for roles.
French government representatives argue the Commission’s practices contravene EU regulations requiring EU agencies to ensure linguistic diversity. A spokesperson for the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs stated:
It is unacceptable that only individuals fluent in English can realistically aspire to fill senior leadership positions. The European Union was founded on the principle of bringing Europeans together across borders, not creating new divisions based on language ability.
The lawsuit maintains that while the EU Treaties recognize all official languages as equal, the Commission has failed to address the disproportionate influence of English in its day-to-day operations and talent acquisition processes. France is asking the Court to not only hear the case but also rule that the Commission’s over-reliance on English violates EU law and regulations concerning linguistic equality.
So far the Commission has declined to comment on the active legal proceedings, however, previously it has defended the widespread use of English by arguing it acts as a practical lingua franca that facilitates cross-border cooperation within the multi-lingual institution.
This lawsuits are an additional obstacle to EPSO in organizing its competitions for jobs in EU institutions. As a reminder, EPSO has been plagued in 2023 with technical issues related to rolling out of an ‘online only’ test proctoring platform.
France seeks to annul the competitions EPSO/AD/402/23, Administrators (AD 6) in the fields of microeconomics / macroeconomics, financial economics and industrial economics and Open Competition EPSO/AD/400/22, entitled ‘Administrators (AD 7) and experts (AD 9) in the
fields of defence industry and space’.
- Politico.eu, “EU defers major entry exam over English-only testing“, 10 November 2023