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EU case

Parliamentary questions

Written question E-0062/04 by Giorgio Calò (ELDR) and Antonio Di Pietro (ELDR) to the Commission, 20 January 2004

Answer given by Mrs Diamantopoulou on behalf of the Commission, 23 February 2004

Written question E-1301/04by Antonio Di Pietro (ELDR) and Giorgio Calò (ELDR) to the Commission, 20 April 2004
(Question which has lapsed pursuant to Rule 185 of Parliament's Rules of Procedure)

Written question E-1813/04 by Antonio Di Pietro (ALDE) to the Commission, 17 August 2004

Answer given by Mr. Dimas on behalf of the Commission, 14 September 2004


Complaint to the European Commission

Original complaint to the Commission

Annexes to the original complaint

  • A.
    Page
    "G02/Anlage A II d 1" of the Personalhanbuch of the Max-Planck Society, regarding the rules for the contractual treatment of German scientific personnel. It is stated that German doctoral students shall have a regular BAT IIa/2 contract.

  • B.
    Page
    "G02/Anlage B I d" of the Personalhanbuch of the Max-Planck Society, regarding the rules for the contractual treatment of foreign scientific personnel. It is stated that foreign doctoral student shall have a Stipendium.

  • C.
    Letter
    written by the representatives of the students of the Max-Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin to the president of the Max-Planck Society, Professor Peter Gruss. Among other issues the students raised the problem of different contractual conditions given on the basis of nationality.

  • D.
    Answer
    of Professor Gruss to the letter described at point C. Regarding the different treatment of foreign students, the president claims the existence of a rule set by the Bund- Länder-Kommission and states the impossibility of the Society to intervene.

  • E.
    Circular
    82/2002 of the Max-Planck Society. The Society invites the institute's directors to discuss and evaluate the possibility of granting regular contracts BAT IIa/2 to foreign doctoral students as well. This invitation seems to be in conflict with the statement of impossibility of the Society to intervene on the matter. New upper limits for the net payment of the Stipendia are set. Nevertheless, these new limits do not compensate for the lack of social security nor match the net wage paid with a regular contract.

  • F. (Part I, TOC, Part II, report)
    Report of the first national meeting of the network of PhD students at Max-Planck Institutes, held in April 2003 in Heidelberg. At page 5 the problem of different contractual conditions of doctoral students on the basis of nationality is addressed.

  • G.
    Answer
    of Prof. Gruss to the report described at point F, addressed to the spokesperson of the network in 2003. Regarding the discrimination of foreign doctoral students, Prof. Gruss repeats the impossibility to intervene.

  • H1.
    Article
    published by "The Scientist" and available on the internet at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/news/20040303/03/.
    H2.
    The central administration of the Max-Planck Society answered to the article and admitted the difference of treatment of the students on the basis of nationality.

  • I.
    Circular
    35/2004 of the Max-Planck Society. At the end, it states that regarding the possibility to give regular contracts also to foreign students and Stipendia also to German students, no decision has yet been taken.

  • J. (1. MPI Dortmund, 2. MPI Lindau)
    Copies of the web pages of two Max-Planck Institutes where a difference of treatment for doctoral students on the basis of nationality is explicitly stated.


Further exchanges with the European Commission


Reply of Mr. Cornelissen (European Commission, head of unit E/3 - Free Movement of Workers and Coordination of Social Security Schemes) to my complaint: on the basis of the information provided in my letter the services of the Commission consider that there is a violation of EC law on free movement of workers.


Letter of Mr. Cornelissen (European Commission) in which he informs me of the status of my complaint.


Letter of Mr. Cornelissen in which he informs me that the Commission would like to terminate the case. After the adoption of new rules by the Max Planck society, the services of the Commission consider that there is no more discrimination between German nationals and migrant workers.


My letter to Mr. Cornelissen, in which I request more time to prepare my reply.


My reply to Mr. Cornelissen, opposing the intention of the Commission to terminate the case. I asked the Commission:
  1. To request the Max-Planck Society to provide detailed data, including nationality of the student and type of contract, on the financial conditions granted to all the doctoral students hired after the adoption of the new rules.
  2. To request the Max-Planck Society to enclose in the new rules a statement to explicitly prohibit the institutes any discrimination based on nationality.
  3. To provide me a copy of all the records concerning my complaint, including the answer of the German Authorities which requested a very long evaluation of the Commission.

Annexes to the letter to the Commission opposing closure

  • 1.
    Copy
    of an article published after the adoption of the rules in “Max Planck Inside”, a section of “Max Planck Intern”, the internal magazine of the Max-Planck Society. Mr. Dirk Hartung, on behalf of the Gesamtbetriebsrat of the MPS, writes about the different payments based on nationality as a still on-going problem.

  • 2.
    In the final version of the article
    before publication (circulated internally to the Society) the Gesamtbetriebsrat clearly indicates that even for community students the possibility the equality of financial condition is not mandatory but remains an “option”.

  • 3.
    Copy
    of an article published by "The Scientist" in which Mrs. Nicola Von Hammerstein, from the general management of the MPS, told the magazine that after the adoption of the new rules she expected “at least some non-German students (…) to be awarded regular employment contracts in autumn. However, she said it was impossible to predict at that stage how many would eventually benefit”.

  • 4.
    My reply
    to Mrs. Von Hammerstein, published (with some cuts) by "The Scientist" [2005, 19(7):8].


Letter of Ms. Quintin (Director General, Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, EC) of 06/12/2005 in which I am informed that the documents I had requested cannot be made available to me.


My letter to the Commission, in which I motivate the need to access the documentation.


Letter of Mrs. Maria Angeles Benitez Salas (European Commission, head of unit SG-B-2 - Openness and professional ethics), in which she informs me of a delay in the Commission's reply.
I have never received this letter per mail, I got aware of its existence (and received a copy of it by email) after requesting information about the long delay.


Letter of Ms. Day (EC, Secretary General) in which I am ultimately denied access to the documents on my complaint.


Letter of Mr. Cornelissen in which he informs me that the services of the Commission consider the change in the guidelines also applied in practice and that therefore there is no longer discrimination between German and other EU nationals. They shall accordingly be proposing that the Commission terminate this case.

Petition to the Parliament