October 11, 2013
below is a parliamentary question submitted by a Danish MEP.
It raises an interesting legal question as to whether the Commission through its practices and particularly its financing practices, exerts a de facto veto over the European School. A power (if it exists at all) the Commission wields on an ad hoc basis which is an interesting set of behaviours worth examining under the TFEU.
One suspects this whole story has a lot left to unearth….
The structure of the European Schools is based on precisely defined responsibilities set out in a number of legal documents, which specify what influence each of the parties is to have and how their votes are to be weighted.
No individual body — including the Commission — is given a veto. The European School in Culham (UK) is being wound up, with its final phase in 2017. When the transitional arrangements were adopted, it was made quite clear what effect the closure would have on the pupils, and it was therefore decided to continue teaching in all languages until 2017.
However, the Commission has now changed tack and it has been announced that various aspects of the budget are no longer legal — including support for Danish teaching in the form of a Danish teacher at the European School in Culham. This means that Category c pupils are no longer offered teaching in Language 1 (Danish), thus removing the basis for these pupils’ school careers. And this in spite of the fact that the budget was adopted at a meeting of the Board of Governors — the European Schools’ highest authority — in April 2010, by 24 votes for, 4 absent and one against (the Commission). The Commission subsequently sent the schools a demand for repayment, in contravention of the decision taken by the Board of Governors in April 2010.
Does the Commission intend to persist with this discriminatory conduct against the small languages?
How does the Commission justify its decision to retroactively remove support for Danish, among others, when it had earlier undertaken to maintain the system up to 2017?
Does the Commission consider it has an unwritten veto on the Board of Governors?
Does the Commission consider that there is discrimination between the rights of different pupils when they are admitted to the European School?Author : Mélanie Bruneau