JUDGMENT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION CIVIL SERVICE TRIBUNAL

(First Chamber)

5 June 2012

Case F‑84/10

Efstratios Chatzidoukakis

v

European Commission

(Civil service — Officials — Remuneration — Family allowances — Education allowance — Conditions for granting — Deduction of an allowance of like nature paid from other sources)

Application: brought under Article 270 TFEU, applicable to the EAEC Treaty by virtue of Article 106a thereof, in which Mr Chatzidoukakis seeks, in particular, annulment of the Commission’s decision of 26 February 2010 reducing the education allowance granted to him and deducting the overpayment from his pay slips on the basis that his son receives financial assistance from a Member State by way of a grant.

Held: The action is dismissed. The applicant is ordered to pay the Commission’s costs.

Summary

Officials — Remuneration — Family allowances — Education allowance — Conditions for the application of the rule against overlapping referred to in Article 67(2) of the Staff Regulations where allowances of like nature are paid from other sources — Application to the financial benefit for students in Luxembourg — Lawfulness

(Staff Regulations, Art. 67(1)(c) and (2))

Only allowances which are comparable and have the same purpose are ‘of like nature’ for the purposes of the rule against overlapping laid down in Article 67(2) of the Staff Regulations concerning family allowances. The decisive criterion in classifying allowances as of like nature is the aim pursued by the allowances in question.

In that regard, the education allowance referred to in Article 67(1)(c) of the Staff Regulations and the financial benefit in Luxembourg in the form of grants and loans, which is intended to provide students with financial aid to enable them to finance their studies and living expenses while studying, serve similar purposes in that they are intended to contribute to the education costs of the official’s dependent child.

That finding is not invalidated by the fact that the recipients of the two benefits are not the same. The fact that the education allowance is paid to the official and the national benefit is paid to the child, or formally allocated to him, is not decisive for assessing whether those benefits are of like nature within the meaning of Article 67(2) of the Staff Regulations. The fact that the allowance under the Staff Regulations is added to the official’s salary and thus relates to an employment relationship, unlike the Luxembourg financial benefit, which is paid to the child, is also not decisive.

(see paras 29, 31, 32, 37-38)

See:

13 October 1977, 106/76 Gelders-Deboeck v Commission, para 16; 13 October 1977, 14/77 Emer-van den Branden v Commission, para 15; 18 December 2007, C‑135/06 P Weiβenfels v Parliament, para 89

10 May 1990, T‑117/89 Sens v Commission, para 14; 11 June 1996, T‑147/95 Pavan v Parliament, para 41

13 February 2007, F‑62/06 Guarneri v Commission, paras 39, 40 and 42