Article 22 - Cultural, religious and linguistic diversity
Key facts of the case:
Actions for annulment — Rules on languages — Selection procedure for contract staff — Call for expressions of interest — Drivers — Function group I — Knowledge of languages — Restriction of the choice of language 2 of the selection procedure to English, French and German — Language of communication — Regulation No 1 — Staff Regulations — Conditions of Employment of Other Servants — Discrimination based on language — Justification — Interests of the service.
Outcome of the case:
On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby:
36) In accordance with Article 2 of Regulation No 1/58, which corresponds in substance to the fourth paragraph of Article 24 TFEU and Article 41(4) of the Charter, documents sent to the institutions of the European Union by a person subject to the jurisdiction of a Member State may be drafted in any one of the official languages referred to in Article 1 of that regulation selected by the sender, and the institution’s reply must be drafted in that language. As an essential component of respect for the linguistic diversity of the Union, the importance of which is recalled in the fourth subparagraph of Article 3(3) TEU and Article 22 of the Charter, the right for those persons to choose, from among the official languages of the Union, the language to be used in exchanges with the institutions, such as the European Parliament, is fundamental in nature.
37) However, as is apparent from the case-law of the Court, it cannot be inferred from the European Union’s obligation to respect linguistic diversity that there is a general principle of law entitling each person to have everything likely to affect his or her interests drafted in his or her language in all circumstances, and that the institutions are required, without any derogation being permissible, to use all the official languages in all situations (see, to that effect, judgments of 9 September 2003, Kik v OHIM, C‑361/01 P, EU:C:2003:434, paragraph 82; of 27 November 2012, Italy v Commission, C‑566/10 P, EU:C:2012:752, paragraph 88; and of 6 September 2017, Slovakia and Hungary v Council, C‑643/15 and C‑647/15, EU:C:2017:631, paragraph 203).