Discrimination Based On Nationality in violation of EU law
In a judgment of the Consiglio di Stato (Italy’s supreme court for administrative matters), three British lecturers David Petrie, Robert Hill and David Newbold have each been awarded €6,000 in damages + interest +€5,000 legal costs arising from being refused them access to compete for promoted posts in the University of Verona, where Petrie still works. BACKGROUND In 1995 Petrie, a graduate of University of Dundee and Hill and Newbold, both University of Oxford graduates, applied for a temporary promoted post, for teaching English language in the faculty where all three were employed. The University of Verona excluded their application (and other applications, 1994, 1996, 1997 and 2000) from selection procedures on the grounds that the 3 British graduates did not have the prerequisite qualifications. A Venice Administrative Tribunal on 12 April 1999, following guidance from the European Court of Justice (21 November 1997 Petrie, C-90/96) held this to be violation of Art. 5 of the EU Treaty which prohibits discrimination based on nationality. However, the Venice Regional Tribunal rejected their claim for damages arising from their illegal exclusion on the grounds that damage was unproven. The Consiglio di Stato (Italy’s Supreme Court for administrative matters) has now overturned that decision in its judgment deposited on 24 September 2010.
David Petrie who chairs the Association of Foreign Lecturers in Italy said today “Delighted as I am with this judgment – it is always welcome to see a principle established – it nevertheless raises a few questions. How come it takes 15 years to get any compensation? And can the damage be undone? What kind of people are sitting on faculty boards in Italian Universities, where repeated violation in open contempt of a binding judgement of the European Court of Justice is widespread?
“Our lawyers recently provided the European Commission with information showing that the Universities of Cagliari, Cassino, Ferrara, Florence, Genova, Messina, Palermo, Perugia, Siena, Urbino and Udine continue to advertise posts in a way that would exclude non-Italian applicants with qualifications obtained in their home countries. So what does that tell you about the swaggering barons in Italian universities? Where does this leave the so-called Bologna Process? It is a process systematically and institutionally thwarted in the country whose city bears its name.
“It’s a sham, a convenient, cynical mask on the thirty years of illegal discrimination based on nationality. In the foreign lecturers lettori cases, the Italian Republic is peerless among its European Union partners. It has been found to be illegitimately discriminating on the grounds of nationality a record 7 times in the European Court of Justice.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL DAVID PETRIE + 39 347 4297324
FOR A COPY OF THE RULING, EMAIL petried at sis.it