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European Commission v. Italian Republic, Case C-621/16 P, CJEU (Grand Chamber), 26 March 2019

Type Judgment
Case number C-621/16


Annulment of competition notices of the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) due to the limitation in the choice of the second language in the selection procedure. Imposition in the choice of languages ​​to communicate with EPSO. Discrimination based on language.

Normative references

Statute of officials (and other agents) of the European Union.


1. The competition notices do not merely constitute confirmatory or executive acts of the General Provisions applicable to the competitions, as they define the "regulatory framework" of the competition according to the objective set by the authority and entail "binding legal effects as regards the language regime of the competitions ". Therefore, since the annulment appeals are available against the acts of the European institutions that aim to produce binding effects, it must be considered that the provisions of the competition notices relating to the linguistic regime can be independently challenged.

2. The institutions of the Union must have a margin of discretion such as to allow the determination of the capacity criteria required by the posts to be filled and, according to these, in the choice of the conditions and methods of organization of the competitions. However, this power satisfies a limit set by art. 1 of the Staff Regulations, which prohibits any discrimination based on language and provides that differences in treatment can only be admitted if there is a limitation objectively justified.

3. Imposing a choice of communication languages between candidates and EPSO, by not explaining the legitimate (objective) reason, constitutes direct discrimination based on language.