EU recruitment office ‘guilty of language bias’

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In a potential landmark announcement, EU Ombudsman Nikiforos Diamandouros is shortly to declare that the EU institutions’ recruitment office, EPSO, is guilty of bias in favour of English, French and German, acording to Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza

The Ombudsman’s opinion, which is expected soon according to popular Polish paper Gazeta Wyborcza, could have legal reprecussions, as candidates who failed to gain EU institution employment will be able to challenge their results in court. 

Nikiforos Diamandouros is to level a “maladministration” criticism at EPSO, the EU institutions’ recruitment office, concerning alleged bias in favour of old EU languages. 

The potential scandal relates to EU entrance exams sat between 2004 and mid to late-2006, when regulations were changed. Under the previous system, candidates had to show knowledge of one of the 11 languages of the old member states, as opposed to one of the 21 EU languages that were in place following the accession of the ten countries that joined in 2004. 

Polish civil service alumni organisation SAKSAP brought the complaint to the Ombudsman’s attention: “We wanted to protest against the inferior treatment that entrants from new EU states received, and presented several appropriate examples of competitions to the Ombudsman.”

Specifically, SAKSAP stated that prospective employees from accession states had to sit a part of their tests in English, German or French, which put them into “unfair competition” with entrants from older EU countries, who were able to answer the same questions, which were in their native language.

“With these obligations…EPSO broke the rules,” Diamandouros intends to announce, according to the Polish newspaper. 

“Our exams no longer have a discriminatory character,” a European Commission spokesman explained. “Participants from previous competitions might turn to the courts to question the results,” he added.

Of the European Commission’s 25,000 employees, only 700 are Poles, but around 15,000-30,000 Poles live in Brussels, many of whom do unskilled work, such as cleaning and childcare, or provide cheap labour for construction firms. 

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