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European Personnel Selection Office - State of Play

This report summarises the main developments at the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) since it decided to pause test delivery for open competitions on 16 October 2023. The pause occurred due to significant technical difficulties observed in the delivery of tests under EPSO’s new competition model adopted on 31 January 2023.

Since then, EPSO has been working hard to find a better online test delivery system, capable of responding to the expectations of the EU institutions that it works for, as well as of the thousands of candidates who participate in EPSO’s regular selection procedures.

This report covers the following topics:

  • Towards a better online test delivery system
  • CAST - ongoing test delivery
  • Delivery of reserve lists
  • Towards a full 24-language regime

Towards a better online test delivery system

Throughout 2023, and since the very first technical difficulties with test delivery emerged, our services have collaborated intensively with EPSO’s external contractor to address them. However, by October 2023, it became clear that the measures taken did not produce the required result.

At the end of February 2024, EPSO terminated unilaterally its test delivery contract, and reinforced its efforts to find a suitable gap solution as soon as possible. However, market prospecting to consider a wide range of alternative solutions for test delivery had already started much earlier. 

Mindful of the strategic decision made by its interinstitutional Management Board to move all selection procedures online (a decision first taken in January 2023, when the new competition model was approved, and reaffirmed again, unanimously, in February 2024), EPSO is currently working on:

  • A gap solution: a process has been launched with a view to finding a short-term solution. The objective is to ensure that testing can resume as soon as possible.
  • A long-term solution: EPSO has been working on a Call for Tender aimed at finding a long-term solution for test delivery, one that would address the main technical difficulties observed previously. EPSO is aware that no perfect system exists. The priority is to make sure that candidates can focus on the content of their selection tests and not on troubleshooting technical problems during their testing sessions.

CAST - ongoing test delivery

Despite the challenges encountered with test delivery during 2023, EPSO continued to deliver regular testing sessions and lists of successfully tested candidates under the Contract Agent Selection Tool (CAST). CAST responds to an important recruitment need of the EU institutions, and our services remain committed to keep organising regular selection procedures throughout 2024 and beyond.

Delivery of reserve lists for open competitions

EPSO has kept publishing regularly lists of successful candidates (reserve lists). Such lists are made available on EPSO’s website. Since 2022, EPSO has been publishing dedicated webpages where all the reserve lists of a given year are made available:

EPSO is confident that by the summer of 2024, it will have published all the reserve lists for competitions under the former competition model with an Assessment Centre. This includes the so-called ‘Green Deal’ competition, as well as the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) AD and AST level competitions.

With the resumption of test delivery later in 2024, EPSO is committed to publishing new reserve lists for the 2023 competition cycle towards the end of 2024 and beginning of 2025.

Moving towards a full 24-language regime

The move towards a full 24-language regime for open competitions run by EPSO has long been in preparation. EU institutions have expressed clearly that they value multilingualism and expect this to be reflected also in the open competitions that EPSO organises.

Legal aspects

The move towards a full 24-language regime for open competitions is also the logical consequence of several European Court of Justice rulings applicable to EPSO selection procedures.

On the whole, the Court has accepted the principle that restricting language options in a competition may be considered legal, but only on the condition that such restrictions are duly justified on objective and reasonable grounds, in the general interest of staff policy.

This being said, in all 18 language regime cases where Court rulings have been delivered so far, the Court has systematically rejected all attempts to justify a restricted language regime, and this irrespective of the exact ‘Language 2’ options being offered.

Taking all of the above into due consideration, EPSO’s Management Board took an informed decision with a view to ensuring that future open competitions would no longer be challenged legally on the possible use of ‘Language 2’ restrictions, no matter how justified these may have seemed in the eyes of the recruiting services concerned.

Public communication efforts on the 24-language regime

EPSO published on 30 November 2023, on behalf of its Management Board, a communication on its website where it was stated that “Institutions are committed to multilingualism in their daily work and in the selection procedures, in line with the provisions of the Staff Regulations and the case-law of the EU jurisdictions. EPSO has been requested to run its operations in full conformity with these principles”.

On 6 February 2024, EPSO published on its website a communiqué announcing and explaining the move towards a full 24-language regime for its selection procedures. The same information was published on all EPSO social media accounts:

On 19 February 2024, EPSO announced on all its social media accounts that it would re-open the Transport and the ‘Nuclear energy’ competitions in view of the decision to move towards a full 24-language regime.

At the same time, this information was also made available by EPSO on its dedicated webpage to upcoming selection procedures.

In the case of the Transport competition, the first one to have its application period reopened in view of the move towards a full 24-language regime, EPSO made sure that existing candidates would be informed comprehensively, and in due time, of the most important changes they should bear in mind. A detailed letter was sent by EPSO to all existing candidates via their EPSO Account on 20 February 2024. The same letter was published by EPSO on the dedicated webpage of the competition on 21 February 2024, and was sent by e-mail to all existing candidates on 26 February 2024. The competition was reopened for application on 1 March.

EPSO followed the same approach as regards the ‘Nuclear energy’ competition (Nuclear safeguards inspectors & Policy officers in the area of nuclear energy). The competition’s application period was reopened on 22 March 2024. Existing candidates were informed via their EPSO Account on 18 March 2024. A copy of the same detailed letter was sent by e-mail to all existing candidates and published on the dedicated webpages of this competition on 22 March 2024.

A pragmatic approach to languages

EPSO remains committed to communicating with prospective candidates openly about the day-to-day reality of the EU civil service, and this also includes the use of languages at work.

Although candidates will now be given a wider range of choices when it comes to the language of their selection tests, they will also continue to be informed consistently about the organisational culture of the different EU institutions and bodies that EPSO works for.

This type of pragmatic approach by EPSO via its outreach activities is aimed at ensuring that prospective candidates make informed choices when applying to EPSO’s open competitions. However, the final choice remains for the candidates themselves to make.

Uppdaterat den
02/04/2024 - 12:00