Parliamentary question - E-0941/2002(ASW)Parliamentary question

    Answer given by Mrs Diamantopoulou on behalf of the Commission

    The Commission is of the opinion that the phrase "native speaker" is not acceptable, under any circumstances, under Community law (see replies to the Honourable Member's Written Questions E-4100/00[1] and E-0779/01[2]). However, a requirement for "perfect knowledge" cannot be seen, as such, as illegitimate under Community law, provided that a very high level of knowledge of a particular language is necessary for the post concerned; the employer has to justify the need for this requirement. As the requirement for a perfect knowledge of a particular language is not, per se, contrary to Community law, the Commission does not intend to urge Member States to ban this requirement from job advertisements which require such a knowledge. However, the Commission recommends using a phrase such as "perfect or very good knowledge of a particular language" as a condition of access to posts for which a very high level of knowledge of that language is necessary.

    The Commission will continue to use its powers to fight against any discrimination caused by a requirement for "native speaker" knowledge in job advertisements.

    This also applies in its relations with its contractors.

    OJ C 229 E, 26/09/2002