Freedom of movement for workers- access to employment
C-317/14 – Commission v Kingdom of Belgium, 5 February 2015
The European Court of Justice has ruled that Belgian Law which requires from candidates to local administration jobs who cannot prove that they were educated in the language concerned by the job, to obtain a certificate delivered by a Belgian body, infringes the EU rules on the free movement of workers.
The European Commission (EC) brought the case to the ECJ’s attention after the failure of a pre-litigation procedure that the EC triggered against Belgium.
The ECJ ruled that EU Member States can require evidence for linguistic knowledge to candidates for posts in local services. However, the ECJ considered that the means used by the Belgian authorities in this specific case were 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 equally applicable to nationals and foreigners, it in fact discriminates only against nationals from other Member States because the latter have additional expenses traveling to Belgium for the examination. Therefore, the ECJ ruled that Belgium infringed its obligations with regard to Article 45 of TFEU on free movement of workers.