France has filed two claims with the European Court of Justice after accusing them of discrimination against non-English speakers.
The European Personnel Selection Office, which runs recruitment examinations for the 14,000 strong EU bureaucracy, has reportedly breached EU law by making candidates take tests only in English in two hiring sessions in 2022 and 2023.
According to EU laws, all 24 languages are equal, but English, French and German have long been the working languages.
President Macron has fought to keep the French language alive in Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg.
In his 2017 election, he said: “English is not destined to be the only foreign language Europeans speak.”
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Only French was allowed in events run by France during its 2022 turn in the six-month rotating presidency of the EU.
The language remains dominant in the Court of Justice, but since the entry of other European members in the 1990s, English has taken over for most communication.
According to reports, France hopes that the UK’s exit from the EU would diminish the power of English but this was not the case. The language acquired new legitimacy as a neutral vehicle since it was now only one of the native tongues of two small member states — Malta and Ireland.
A 2021 study for the Quai d’Orsay, as the foreign ministry is known, reported that 80 percent of commission documents were issued in English and only 5 percent in French.
The EU court is expected to rule next year on the French claim.
The European court this year upheld Italian and Spanish claims that the commission was breaking the law by imposing good knowledge of either English, French or German on job applicants. Advertisements now set the requirement as knowledge of any second EU language.
French critics have claimed that EU English is an inferior hybrid language.
Sylvie Guillaume, a Socialist MEP, lamented the rise of the dialect. “It worries me because I don’t really want us to end up speaking a language without subtlety on sensitive subjects,” she said.
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