Friday

26th Apr 2019

EU jurist backs German refusal of migrant benefits

  • The EU court: Welfare tourism has become one of the hottest topics in EU policy (Photo: katarina_dzurekova)

Unemployed EU migrants can be excluded from accessing social benefits in another EU country for the first three months of their stay, a top EU lawyer has said.

In a legal opinion published on Thursday (5 June), Advocate general Wathelet said that the three month ban imposed by Germany on accessing benefits was “consistent with the objective of maintaining the financial equilibrium of the social security system” of national governments.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The case is one of a series brought by Germany asking the Luxembourg court whether exclusion of certain EU citizens from accessing welfare benefits breaches EU law.

The case centers on a claim by Spaniard Joel Pena Cuevas, and his son, who arrived in Germany in June 2012. They were supported by a working Spanish woman, with whom they were living.

“Granting entitlement to social assistance to EU citizens who are not required to have sufficient means of subsistence could result in relocation en masse liable to create an unreasonable burden,” Wathelet added.

He also dismissed the premise that benefits were needed for claimants to find a job, commenting that they “are intended (at least predominantly) to guarantee the means necessary to lead a life in keeping with human dignity, and not (or only secondarily) to facilitate access to the labour market.”

However, Wathelet stated that migrants should be given an opportunity to demonstrate a “genuine link” with their new host country, before being automatically excluded. Whether they had worked in the past, should also be taken account of, he said.

The opinion follows a judgement last November by the ECJ, focusing on a Romanian national and her son, which said that EU nationals who move to another member state, don’t have a job, and aren’t seeking one, can be denied benefits.

Welfare tourism has become one of the hottest topics in EU policy.

UK prime minister David Cameron has vowed to make restricting access to benefits a priority in his bid to renegotiate his country’s membership of the 28 country bloc ahead of a planned ‘in/out’ referendum.

For its part, the German government introduced a bill last autumn which limits the period in which an EU citizen can stay in Germany and look for a job to six months, and could also limit access to child benefit for migrants.

A full ruling is likely to be made by the Court later this year.

EU court fine tunes migrant welfare rights

EU nationals who move to another country to look for a job are not entitled to social benefits, but they cannot automatically be denied them if they've aready worked in the country, an EU court advisor has said.

EU to tighten rules on social benefits

EU citizens working away from their home countries will face tougher hurdles if they need to claim benefits, under plans from the commission.

News in Brief

  1. Talks to merge Germany's two largest banks collapse
  2. EU and Japan back Iran nuclear deal despite US
  3. China addresses EU concerns on belt and road plan
  4. EU: Russian citizenship plan 'attacks' Ukraine sovereignty
  5. Deutsche Bank hands over Trump loan documents
  6. UN: Europe is badly prepared for new refugee crisis
  7. Macron to set out 'Yellow vest' counter measures
  8. Italy requests EU action plan for new Libya migrant wave

Opinion

Catalan independence trial is widening Spain's divides

What is really needed is not the theatre of a rebellion trial, but a forensic examination of whether public funds were misused, and a process of dialogue and negotiation on how the Catalan peoples' right to self-determination can be satisfied.

Orban hosts Weber in Budapest for EPP showdown

The future of the Viktor Orban's Fidesz party inside the European Parliament's centre-right EPP political group hangs in the balance. On Tuesday, Orban and EPP chief Manfred Weber meet in Budapest in a final effort to iron out differences.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Migration and climate are EU's top priorities, Macron says
  2. Greens commit to air quality 'super commissioner'
  3. Far-right Facebook networks removed before Spain election
  4. EU and Japan in delicate trade talks
  5. Closer EU-Caribbean ties mean greater prosperity for all
  6. Details of EU Brexit talks with Blair and Soros kept secret
  7. Weber vows to block Nord Stream 2 amid 'sue' threat
  8. 'Next Juncker' must fix EU's corporate power problem

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us