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Freedom of movement for workers – Access to employment
C-317/14 – Commission v Kingdom of Belgium, 5 February 2015
The Belgian Law requires to the candidates for posts in Belgian local services who cannot prove that they were educated in the language concerned by the posts to obtain a certificate deliver by a Belgian body after the organisation of an examination by that body. The European Commission considered this provision is not compatible with article 45 of the Treaty on the functioning of the EU (TFEU) on the free movement of workers. After the failure of the Pre-litigation procedure, the European Commission has brought an action for failure to fulfil obligations in the Treaty against Belgium.
The ECJ recognizes that EU Member States can require evidence for linguistic knowledge to candidates for posts in local services but the means used by the Belgian authorities is disproportionate to the objective pursued because they give only one possibility to the candidates to prove their linguistic level. Moreover, even if the measure is applicable equally to nationals and foreigners, it discriminates in fact only nationals from other Member States because these have additional expenses to travel to Belgium for the examination. Finally, with regard to the principle of freedom of movement for workers in the European Union, the ECJ considered by allowing the candidates to prove their language level by one specific certificate, issued only by one particular Belgian body following an examination conducted by that body in Belgium; Belgium infringed its obligations with regard the article 45 of TFEU on free movement of workers.
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