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17.4.

2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 92 E/207

In its opposition to the death penalty the Union does not distinguish between countries which are
democracies and those which are not: the goal is universal abolition. The Guidelines to the EU Policy
towards third countries on the death penalty (1) adopted in 1998 set out the basis for the Union’s policy
and indicate the actions  including general and specific démarches  which the Union will undertake
with respect to third countries. In addition to voicing its general opposition to the death penalty in fora
such as the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) and the UN General Assembly Third
Committee (including the tabling of the annual resolution in the UNCHR) the Union has also set out its
views on the death penalty in specific countries  for example, in its Human Rights in the World speech
at the UNCHR this year, the Union stated that it regretted the increase in the application of the death
penalty in Thailand.

The Commission is currently evaluating the proposals received under the recent Call for Proposals on
abolition of the death penalty under the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).
This will provide EUR 7 million for projects to promote abolition in countries which retain the death
penalty.

(1) http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/human_rights/adp/guide_en.htm.

(2003/C 92 E/267) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2764/02


by Bart Staes (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(1 October 2002)

Subject: Language discrimination  inquiry into the recruitment of native speakers

According to its answer to Written Question E-0941/02 (1), the European Commission acknowledges that
the phrase ‘native speaker’ ‘is not acceptable, under any circumstances’; under Community law. On the
other hand, the Commission does not want to prohibit the use of the term in job advertisements.
Furthermore, it wants to use its powers to fight against any discrimination ‘caused by a requirement
for’native speaker‘knowledge in job advertisements’. At the same time, it recommends using a phrase such
as ‘perfect or very good knowledge of a particular language’.

1. Is the Commission aware that the simple replacement of one phrase by another does nothing to
resolve the substantive problem?

2. Is it also aware that most employers looking for a native speaker  while not admitting it explicitly
 in fact only invite native speakers to apply?

3. Has the Commission already conducted an investigation into this phenomenon?

(a) If not, why not? Does it intend to make this form of discrimination into the subject of an
investigation?

(b) If so, what were the findings of the investigation, and what conclusions may be drawn therefrom with
regard to policy proposals?

(1) OJ C 229 E, 26.9.2002, p. 161.

Answer given by Mrs Diamantopoulou on behalf of the Commission

(11 November 2002)

The Commission is of the opinion that a ‘native speaker’ condition contained in recruitment
announcements is not acceptable under Community rules on free movement of workers, as it is unlawfully
discriminatory. Therefore the Commission considers that the use of this term in job advertisements is
prohibited by Community law. This has been explained, inter alia, in numerous replies to written
questions, to non-governmental organisations and to the Advisory Committee on Free Movement of
Workers (representatives of the Member States and the Social Partners).
C 92 E/208 Official Journal of the European Union EN 17.4.2003

However, a requirement for ‘perfect or a very good knowledge of a particular language’ cannot be seen, as
such, as illegitimate under Community law provided that a very high level of knowledge of a particular
language is necessary for the post concerned; the employer has to justify the need for this requirement.

There is a clear difference between a ‘native speaker’ condition and a requirement for ‘perfect or a very
good knowledge of a particular language’ provided that a very high level of knowledge of that language is
necessary for the post concerned and that the employer can justify the need for this requirement. If a
migrant worker considers that a private employer, although asking for a ‘perfect or very good knowledge
of a particular language’, is only looking for a native speaker and therefore violates Community law, the
national courts have to evaluate this case individually according to the facts.

The Commission uses its powers to fight against any discrimination caused by a requirement for ‘native
speaker’ knowledge in job advertisements. Within the limits of its powers, it is currently investigating such
job advertisements which have been published by one Member State’s public authorities. The investigations
have not been finalised; in view of the results, the Commission will then decide about the next steps to
take.

(2003/C 92 E/268) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2779/02


by Luigi Cocilovo (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(3 October 2002)

Subject: Application of Regulations (EEC) No 1408/71 and No 574/72 in the context of the Agreement
between the European Community and the Swiss Confederation

The Swiss Federal Law on insurance for old age, invalidity and survivors makes provision for paying the
children of pensioners an additional annuity or supplementary pension, rather than actual family
allowances.

Since 1 June 2002 the application of Regulations (EEC) No 1408/71 (1) and No 574/72 (2) was extended to
Switzerland by virtue of the Agreement of 21 June 1999 between the European Community and the Swiss
Confederation. Can the Commission say how the arrangements for the simultaneous receipt of the Swiss
pension benefiting children and the family allowances provided for them under the legislation of other
Member States have been or will be regulated?

Do the provisions of Chapter 3 (pensions) of Regulation No 1408/71 or Chapter 8 (benefits for dependent
children) apply? For example, how would the case of a pensioner resident in Italy, who completed the last
period of insurance in Switzerland and is entitled to a pension from Switzerland for his children and
family allowances from Italy be dealt with? How are the judgments of the Court of Justice applied in
determining any differential additional amount?

It is unlikely that this problem can be settled by reference to Council Regulation (EC) No 1399/1999 (3) of
29 April 1999, since it only deals with the rights of orphans.

(1) OJ L 149, 5.7.1971, p. 2.


(2) OJ L 74, 27.3.1972, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 164, 30.6.1999, p. 1.

Answer given by Mrs Diamantopoulou on behalf of the Commission

(30 October 2002)

The Commission wishes to inform the Honourable Member that the Community rules co-ordinating the
national social security systems, and in particular Regulations (EEC) No 1408/71 (1) and (EEC) No 574/
72 (2), provide for detailed rules concerning the payment of benefits for dependent children of pensioners
in its Chapter 8. Since the entry into force of the Agreement on Free Movement of Persons between the
Community and Switzerland on 1 June 2002, the following rules therefore also apply with regard to
Switzerland: