Friday

12th Aug 2022

German court confirms social rights for Bulgarians

EU citizens from Bulgaria and Romania are entitled to healthcare and social benefits in Germany even without a valid working permit, a German court has said in a ruling that may overturn welfare restrictions sought by the German government.

The case was filed by Lazarinka R., a 24-year old from Bulgaria who had come to Germany to live with her boyfriend - a Greek with German residency, who left her when she got pregnant - her lawyers told Spiegel magazine.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Bulgarians are entitled to German health care even if they work illegally (Photo: kton25)

She then filed for a working permit, but was rejected and subsequently refused pregnancy care.

Bulgarians and Romanians, as citizens from the EU's newest member states, are still subject to labour market restrictions in Germany and a number of other EU states, including the UK where the government is also considering restricting access to the national health system.

"The plaintiff's appeal was successful. She fulfilled all the requirements for a claim and was not excluded, as a Bulgarian citizen, from [social] benefits," the Federal Social Court, Germany's top appeal court for social security cases said in its ruling on Wednesday (30 January).

The ruling is final and can only be contested in the Constitutional Court, a spokeswoman for the Federal Social Court told this website.

According to fresh migration data, almost a million people came to Germany in 2011, 43 percent of whom were from new member states - Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.

Lazarinka R.'s case sets a precedent for similar cases where EU citizens were refused or advised not to seek welfare benefits in the absence of a legal status.

The German government has sought to limit welfare access for nationals from new member states, claiming that these countries were not signatories of a 1953 European Convention on Social and Medical Assistance. In a caveat to the so-called Hartz IV law underpinning basic medical and social assistance for the unemployed, the government has stipulated that the law is exempted from the European Convention and only applies to German nationals.

Draghi's grip on power finally unravels

Italy looked set to lose its highly-respected prime minister Mario Draghi on Thursday, after his attempt to relaunch his grand coalition government ended with right-wing parties joining the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) in deserting him.

Italy back in chaos, as Draghi quits over 5-Star snub

Italy was plunged into fresh political turmoil on Thursday as prime minister Mario Draghi announced his resignation after a key ally within his grand coalition government boycotted a parliamentary vote.

MEP accused of 'disrespecting' female moderator

Some 100 representatives of civil society organisations, including Transparency International EU and Oxfam, accuse German Green MEP Reinhard Bütikofer of disrespecting a moderator because she was a woman of colour and want him reprimanded.

Column

Albania's post-communist dream has lessons for Ukraine

Comparisons between post-communist Albania and current-day Ukraine are fascinating — and make many pertinent parallels. Ukrainians have a similar determination to belong to "the rest of Europe" as Albanians.

Opinion

Finally, the victims of Utøya got a memorial

A legal battle between locals on the one hand and the state and the labour youth organisation on the other side postponed the inception of the memorial in remembrance of the victims of Anders Behring Breivik.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Latest News

  1. Defying Russian bombs, Ukraine football starts new season
  2. Sweden to extradite man wanted by Turkey
  3. EU must beware Beijing's new charm offensive
  4. Forest fire near Bordeaux forces over 10,000 to flee
  5. Estonia and Latvia sever China club ties
  6. Russian coal embargo kicks in, as EU energy bills surge
  7. Only Western unity can stop Iran hostage-diplomacy
  8. Kosovo PM warns of renewed conflict with Serbia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us