EU job application process 'discriminatory': ECJ

Europe's top court has ruled that a language requirement for an EU driver job was discriminatory. Spain had challenged a requirement for applications to be submitted in English, French or German.

The EU's top court ruled on Tuesday that unequal treatment on the basis of language is not permitted when hiring workers for EU institutions. Spain had challenged a requirement to complete an application form in English, French or German for a job with the European Parliament. 

The ECJ ruling annulled a call for expressions of interest for the driver job, and voided a database of candidates. Applications had been submitted through the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) jobs portal. 

The Parliament had justified the language restriction because, it argued, newly hired workers would need to communicate effectively in their daily work, and English, German and French are the institution's most widely-spoken languages.

From 'Heisszeit' to 'Abwrackprämie': Germany's words of the year 2009-2018

2018: 'Heisszeit'

The term "Heisszeit," or warm age — as opposed to an "ice age," which sounds quite similar in German: "Eiszeit" — was chosen as the Word of the Year 2018, reflecting not only Germany's extreme summer this year, but climate change as as whole.

From 'Heisszeit' to 'Abwrackprämie': Germany's words of the year 2009-2018

2017: 'Jamaika-Aus'

"Jamaica coalition" refers to the symbolic colors of three parties in German politics: black for the conservative CDU/CSU, yellow for the liberal FDP and green for the Greens. In 2017, coalition talks kept Germany busy for weeks, but then came to an abrupt halt. This was "Jamaika-Aus," or Jamaica Out.

From 'Heisszeit' to 'Abwrackprämie': Germany's words of the year 2009-2018

2016: 'Postfaktisch'

During the US presidential election campaign, and after Donald Trump's victory in the Fall of 2016, the word "postfaktisch," or post-factual, came into common usage as it denoted the spread of fake news. Even Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) couldn't abstain from using it. It comes into play when public opinion is formed by emotions and resentments rather than objective facts.

From 'Heisszeit' to 'Abwrackprämie': Germany's words of the year 2009-2018

2015: 'Flüchtlinge'

"Flüchtlinge" — refugees. Undoubtedly, no other issue had a bigger impact in 2015. The closest runner-up was "Je suis Charlie," an expression with which people expressed their solidarity with the victims of the terrorist attack against the French satirical journal Charlie Hebdo. Number three was "Grexit," which referred to the possibly impending expulsion of Greece from the Eurozone.

From 'Heisszeit' to 'Abwrackprämie': Germany's words of the year 2009-2018

2014: 'Lichtgrenze'

The winning word in 2014 was "Lichtgrenze," or border of light, which refers to a light installation on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was followed by "Schwarze Null," black zero, describing government efforts to not incur new debts. Another favorite was "Götzseidank," alluding to "Gott sei Dank" (thank God) and the legendary goal of soccer star Mario Götze in Brazil.

From 'Heisszeit' to 'Abwrackprämie': Germany's words of the year 2009-2018

2013: 'GroKo'

"GroKo" is short for Grosse Koalition, a grand coalition of the CDU/CSU and the SPD. Recalling "Kroko," or crocodile, the word also expresses derision. The runner-up was "Protz-Bischof," or braggy bishop, referring to Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg who came under fire for his prestigious construction projects. The term was followed by "Armutseinwanderung," poverty-driven migration.

From 'Heisszeit' to 'Abwrackprämie': Germany's words of the year 2009-2018

2012: 'Rettungsroutine'

"Rettungsroutine," rescue routine, reflected the repetitive efforts to stabilize the European economy. "Kanzlerpräsidentin," chancellor-president, came second: It derided Merkel for acting as neutral as the German president. Third was "Bildungsabwendungsprämie," education-refusal-bonus, derogatorily used for non-working mothers who demand a bonus for not sending their kids to a kindergarten.

From 'Heisszeit' to 'Abwrackprämie': Germany's words of the year 2009-2018

2011: 'Stresstest'

According to the GfdS, "Stresstest," stress test, so superbly expressed the spirit prevailing in 2011 that it became part of everyday speech. It referred to stress surrounding banks, train stations, governments and nuclear power stations. "Stresstest" was followed by the verb "hebeln," to lever, associated with the expansion of euro saving efforts, as well as "Arabellion," or Arab Spring.

From 'Heisszeit' to 'Abwrackprämie': Germany's words of the year 2009-2018

2010: 'Wutbürger'

"Wutbürger," angry citizen, described the impression that political decisions were being made without asking the population first. It was followed by "Stuttgart 21," the heavily criticized reconstruction of Stuttgart's main station, and "Sarrazin-Gen", the gene of Thilo Sarrazin, a politician and author who holds highly controversial views on migrants.

From 'Heisszeit' to 'Abwrackprämie': Germany's words of the year 2009-2018

2009: 'Abwrackprämie'

You got an "Abwrackprämie," a wreck bonus, for turning in your old car to receive a new one at a reduced price. Close favorites were "kriegsähnliche Zustände," war-like conditions, referring to Germany's involvement in peace-keeping missions in Afghanistan. And finally, the "Schweinegrippe," swine flu, turned out to be less dangerous than thought, but continued to stir public hysteria.

However, the court ruled that differences of treatment based on language are, in principle, not allowed. 

An exception would be permissible if it "meets the actual needs of the service, is proportionate to those needs and is motivated by clear, objective and foreseeable criteria," the court added.

Read more: Gender neutral wording is making German ridiculous, asserts association 

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What is the EPSO?

It is the gateway for EU careers. It selects workers for job openings in all EU institutions and agencies, such as the European Parliament, European Commission and the Court of Justice.

The EU institutions rely on EPSO to ensure the best and brightest workers are hired for EU positions. Job applicants must undergo a series of EPSO skills assessments, many of which are only available in English, German and French.

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