Friday

23rd Oct 2020

Ombudsman: EU entrance tests had language bias

  • A queue for the EU entrance exam in Brussels (Photo: EUobserver)

The EU ombudsman is to say the EU institutions' recruitment office, EPSO, has been guilty of "maladministration" over bias in favour of old EU languages. The decision could see failed candidates challenge results in court.

The opinion - due to be announced "shortly" and seen by Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza - relates to EU entrance exams between 2004 and mid to late-2006, when rules were changed to create a more level playing field.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Under the previous system, candidates had to show knowledge of one of the 11 languages of old EU member states, as opposed to any EU language including the tongues of the 10 new member countries that joined in 2004.

Candidates from new states also had to sit a part of their tests in English, German or French, in a situation that saw them compete against people from old EU countries who were writing in their native tongue.

"With these obligations...EPSO broke the rules," the ombudsman, Nikiforos Diamandouros plans to say, following complaints from a Polish civil service alumni organisation, SAKSAP.

"Any exams organised now definitely don't have a discriminatory character," a European Commission spokesman told the Polish newspaper. "Participants in old competitions might turn to the courts to question the results," he added.

Landing a job in one of the EU institutions is the holy grail for many job seekers from new EU countries, with a university graduate able to earn up to €5,000 a month tax free in Brussels compared to €500 in Poland.

The European Commission alone employs 25,000 people, of whom just over 700 are Poles. By contrast, between 15,000 and 30,000 Poles are believed to live in Brussels, many of whom do unskilled work, such as cleaning and childcare, or provide cheap labour for construction firms.

France vows tough retaliation for teacher's murder

Muslim NGOs targeted by the France's retaliatory response to the brutal murder of a schoolteacher claim the government is labelling "innocent Muslims as 'Islamists" just to be able to say that they are doing something".

Court verdict sees sun set on Greece's Golden Dawn

While the leaders of Greece's Golden Dawn facing lengthy jail terms, the atmosphere remains tense in Athens and some other parts of Greece. Depending on the exact sentencing, further clashes between anarchist-leftists and remnants of the extreme-right may ensue.

Massive MEP majority for better rule-of-law mechanism

A large majority of MEPs back an initiative to streamline the EU's tools on protecting rule of law and democracy and have effective sanctions. They also backed a tough stance on the rule of law conditionality in budget talks.

Orban move evicting Budapest university 'unlawful'

While the ECJ ruling says the Orban government's legislation breaks EU law, it does not change the facts on the ground, which has seen the university already leave Budapest for Vienna.

EU parliament vows not to cave in to budget pressure

The parliament's majorty dismisses the German EU presidency's proposal on the rule of law conditionality, which has emerged as the main political obstacle to agree on the next long-term EU budget.

News in Brief

  1. Commission to press Croatia on migrant 'abuse' at border
  2. Belarus opposition awarded 2020 Sakharov Prize
  3. Belgium's foreign minister in intensive care for Covid-19
  4. MEPs restrict CAP funding for bullfighting
  5. Coronavirus: Liège is 'the Lombardy of the second wave'
  6. UK to keep out EU nationals with criminal past
  7. Report: EU to restrict travel from Canada, Tunisia, Georgia
  8. Pope Francis supports same-sex civil unions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  3. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  6. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity

Latest News

  1. Nato and EU silent on Turkey, despite Armenia's appeal
  2. EU tells UK to decide on Brexit as deal 'within reach'
  3. EU farming deal attacked by Green groups
  4. France vows tough retaliation for teacher's murder
  5. All eyes on EU court for decision on religious slaughter
  6. 'Big majority' of citizens want EU funds linked to rule of law
  7. EU declares war on Malta and Cyprus passport sales
  8. EU Commission's Libya stance undercut by internal report

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us