Language of document : ECLI:EU:F:2014:92


14 May 2014

Case F‑17/13

Patricia Cocco


European Commission

(Civil service — Contract staff — Recruitment — Call for expressions of interest EPSO/CAST/02/2010)

Application:      under Article 270 TFEU, applicable to the EAEC Treaty pursuant to Article 106a thereof, in which Ms Cocco seeks annulment of the European Commission’s decision of 25 April 2012 rejecting her request to be employed as a member of the contract staff in function group III, as well as compensation for the harm she has suffered.

Held:      The decision of the European Commission of 25 April 2012 refusing to employ Ms Cocco as a member of the contract staff in function group III is annulled. The remainder of the action is dismissed. The European Commission is to bear its own costs and is ordered to pay the costs incurred by Ms Cocco.


Officials — Contract staff — Recruitment — Classification in grade — Account taken of professional experience — Discretion of the authority authorised to conclude contracts of employment — Interpretation of Union texts — Limits

(Conditions of Employment of Other Servants, Art. 82(2)(b))

Although the administration enjoys broad discretion in determining whether a candidate’s previous professional experience can be taken into account for the purposes of his recruitment as a member of the contract staff in function group III, that broad discretion must inter alia be exercised in compliance with all the relevant provisions.

In interpreting a provision of EU law it is necessary to consider not only its wording and its context but also the objects of the rules of which it forms part. Where the legislature and the administrative authority use two different terms in the same text having general application, reasons of consistency and legal certainty preclude those terms being given the same scope, especially where those terms have different meanings in ordinary usage. That is precisely the case of the adjectives ‘appropriate’ and ‘equivalent’. The usual meaning of the adjective ‘appropriate’ is ‘suited to a particular use’. The adjective ‘equivalent’, however, means ‘of the same value’ and therefore has a more restricted meaning.

In that regard, it should be noted that Article 82(2)(b) of the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants requires, where there is no diploma attesting a level of post-secondary education, either appropriate professional experience, if the candidate has a level of secondary education attested by a diploma giving access to post-secondary education, or professional training or professional experience of an equivalent level, if he does not.

Consequently, that provision is to be interpreted as meaning that a candidate for recruitment as a member of the contract staff in function group III must have three years of experience appropriate for the functions to be filled, although not necessarily equivalent to those functions.

(see paras 26, 30, 32-33, 37)


17 November 1983, 292/82 Merck, para. 12

28 October 2010, F‑6/09 Fares v Commission, paras. 38 and 39; 10 March 2011, F‑27/10 Begue and Others v Commission, para. 40; 25 September 2013, F‑158/12 Marques v Commission, paras 21 to 23

8 July 2010, T‑160/08 P Commission v Putterie-De-Beukelaer, para. 70