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Date: Wed, 12 Nov 97 17:17:42 CST
From: MichaelP <>
Subject: Eurocourt approves afirmative action

European job ruling favours women

By Charles Bremner, London Times, 12 November 1997

BRUSSELS - STATES are entitled to give preference to the recruitment and promotion of women over men in their public services, the European Court of Justice ruled yesterday.

In a decision that delighted the Brussels Commission and women's rights groups, the court backed away from an earlier ruling that appeared to outlaw positive discrimination in the name of equal opportunities. National laws giving priority to women in public-sector promotions do not conflict with EU law provided male candidates are not excluded from consideration, the judges ruled. Fixing quotas on female recruitment was, however, unlawful.

The finding resulted from the case of a teacher in North Rhine-Westphalia who complained that a woman had been appointed to a post for which he was equally qualified on the ground that there were more men than women in similar posts.

Padraig Flynn, EU Commissioner for Social Affairs, welcomed the fact that the judges had recognised the need to counter deep-rooted prejudices and stereotypes.

"The mere fact that a male and female candidate are equally qualified does not mean that they have the same chances," the judges said.