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Brussels, 25 June 2009

Professional qualifications: Commission formally requests Greece to amend rules on language requirements for qualified EU teachers

The European Commission has formally requested Greece to amend its legislation requiring qualified EU teachers to have an excellent knowledge of the Greek language. This request takes the form of a reasoned opinion, the second phase of the infringement procedure as laid down in Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If there is no satisfactory reply within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.

The Commission considers that by imposing an excellent knowledge of the Greek language on foreign teachers Greece violates Article 53 of the Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications as well as Article 39 of the Treaty guaranteeing the free movement of workers.

Article 53 of Directive 2005/36/EC provides that persons benefiting from the recognition of professional qualification shall have a knowledge of languages necessary for practising the profession in the host Member State. The right of the Member States to require a certain level of knowledge of their national language is not unconditional and must be proportionate and necessary for the job in question. It must not be used as an excuse to exclude qualified professionals from other Member States. The general requirement for all foreign teachers to have an excellent knowledge of Greek independently of the framework in which they are exercising their profession and the scope of their teaching activities is considered disproportionate.

The same reasoning applies to the requirement in Greek legislation that the knowledge of the Greek language can only be attested by means of 5 types of specific certificates, 4 of which can only be obtained on Greek territory.

The latest information on infringement proceedings concerning all Member States can be found at:

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