Language of document : ECLI:EU:F:2008:51


30 April 2008

Case F-16/07

Adriana Dragoman


Commission of the European Communities

(Civil service – Competition – Selection board – Principle of impartiality of the selection board – Article 11a of the Staff Regulations – Equal treatment of internal and external candidates – Exclusion of a candidate – Duty to state reasons – Scope – Respect for the secrecy of the deliberations of the selection board)

Application: brought under Articles 236 EC and 152 EA, in which Mrs Dragoman seeks, in particular, annulment of the decision of the selection board in open competition EPSO/AD/34/05 for the constitution of a reserve list for the recruitment of Romanian-speaking conference interpreters (AD 5) of 12 December 2006 not to include her on that reserve list.

Held: The action is dismissed. Each party is to bear its own costs.


1.      Officials – Competitions – Principle of impartiality of the selection board

(Staff Regulations, Art. 11a)

2.      Officials – Competitions – Conduct of a competition

(Staff Regulations, Annex III)

3.      Officials – Competitions – Selection board – Rejection of candidature – Duty to state reasons – Scope – Respect for the secrecy of the selection board’s deliberations

(Staff Regulations, Art. 25; Annex III, Art. 6)

1.      The principle of impartiality of a selection board in a competition constitutes an expression of the principle of equal treatment and is one of the guarantees afforded by the Community legal order.

However, an acquaintanceship between a member of a selection board and a candidate is not in itself sufficient to prove that that member has a ‘personal interest … and, in particular, family and financial interests’ within the meaning of Article 11a of the Staff Regulations, capable of calling his impartiality into question. The fact that a member of the selection board is personally acquainted with one of the candidates does not necessarily mean that that member will be prejudiced in favour of that candidate’s performance. Furthermore, since an oral test cannot, by its very nature, be anonymous, the fact that a candidate wore a service name badge and not a visitor’s name badge could not give the selection board any information that it was not entitled to know.

(see paras 41, 44, 46)

2.      A selection board in a competition enjoys wide discretion in determining the procedure for and detailed content of the oral tests, provided that it scrupulously observes the rules governing the organisation of those tests. Thus, in choosing to ask a candidate to attend at the start of the first interpretation test, which precedes the general oral test, in order to put him at ease, the selection board does not fail to observe the limits of that discretion.

(see paras 51, 57)


T-92/01 Girardot v Commission [2002] ECR-SC I‑A‑163 and II‑859, para. 24; T‑336/02 Christensen v Commission [2005] ECR‑SC I‑A‑75 and II‑341, para. 38

3.      The requirement that a decision adversely affecting a person should state the reasons on which it is based is intended to provide the person concerned with sufficient details to allow him to ascertain whether or not the decision is well founded and make it possible for the decision to be the subject of judicial review. As far as concerns decisions taken by a selection board in a competition, the obligation to state reasons must be reconciled with observance of the secrecy surrounding the proceedings of selection boards pursuant to Article 6 of Annex III to the Staff Regulations. That secrecy was introduced with a view to guaranteeing the independence of selection boards and the objectivity of their proceedings, by protecting them from all external interference and pressures, whether these come from the Community administration itself or the candidates concerned or third parties. Observance of this secrecy therefore precludes both disclosure of the attitudes adopted by individual members of selection boards and disclosure of any factors relating to individual or comparative assessments of candidates

That being so, the obligation to state the reasons on which decisions of a selection board in a competition are based must take account of the nature of the proceedings concerned, which involve as a rule at least two separate stages, the first being an examination of the applications in order to select the candidates admitted to the competition and the second being an examination of the abilities of the candidates for the posts to be filled in order to draw up a list of suitable candidates. The second stage of the selection board’s proceedings involves tasks that are primarily comparative in character and is accordingly covered by the secrecy inherent in those proceedings . The criteria for marking adopted by the selection board prior to the tests form an integral part of the comparative assessments which it makes of the candidates’ respective merits. Those criteria are therefore covered by the secrecy of the proceedings in the same way as the selection board’s assessments. The comparative assessments made by the selection board are reflected in the marks it allocates to the candidates. Having regard to the secrecy which must surround the proceedings of a selection board, communication of the marks obtained in the various tests constitutes an adequate statement of the reasons on which the board’s decisions are based, since the board is not required to identify the candidates’ answers which were considered unsatisfactory or to explain why they were considered unsatisfactory.

(see para. 63)


C-254/95 P Parliament v Innamorati [1996] ECR I‑3423, paras 23 to 31

T-33/00 Martínez Páramo and Others v Commission [2003] ECR‑SC I‑A‑105 and II‑541, paras 43 to 52