Key facts of the case:
Reference for a preliminary ruling — Equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin — Directive 2000/43/EC — Article 3(1)(g) — Scope — Concept of ‘education’ — The award by a private foundation of scholarships aimed at promoting projects for research and studies abroad — Article 2(2)(b) — Indirect discrimination — Award of scholarships conditional on applicants having first passed the First State Law Examination (Erste Juristische Staatsprüfung)
Outcome of the case:
On those grounds, the Court (First Chamber) hereby rules:
Article 3(1)(g) of Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin must be interpreted as meaning that the award by a private foundation of scholarships to support research projects or studies abroad falls within the concept of ‘education’, within the meaning of that provision, where there is a sufficiently close link between the assigned financial payments and participation in those research projects or studies which, themselves, fall within that same concept of ‘education’. That is the case, in particular, where such financial payments are linked to the participation of potential candidates in such research projects or studies, and are designed to remove all or some of the potential financial barriers to participation, and where those payments are appropriate to achieve that aim.
Article 2(2)(b) of Directive 2000/43 must be interpreted as meaning that the fact that a private foundation established in a Member State restricts the award of scholarships to support research projects or legal studies abroad to candidates having successfully completed, in that Member State, a law examination, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, does not constitute indirect discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin within the meaning of that provision.
36) Consequently, as the Court has already held, in the light of the objective of Directive 2000/43 and the nature of the rights which it seeks to safeguard, and in view of the fact that that directive is merely an expression, within the area under consideration, of the principle of equality, which is one of the general principles of EU law, as recognised in Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the scope of that directive cannot be defined restrictively (judgments of 12 May 2011, Runevič-Vardyn and Wardyn, C‑391/09, EU:C:2011:291, paragraph 43, and of 16 July 2015, CHEZRazpredelenie Bulgaria, C‑83/14, EU:C:2015:480, paragraph 42).