Monday

27th Feb 2017

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • 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.

Dutch plan global fund for safe abortion

The Dutch want to lead efforts to make up the shortfall in aid for safe abortions around the world, after Donald Trump announced the US would not fund such projects.

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.

Europeans still blaming women for rape

One in four Europeans think rape can be justified in certain circumstances, while one in five say violence against women is often provoked by the victim.

Column / Health Matters

The yin and yang of Chinese medicine

Can traditional Chinese medicine help the modern European patient? Malta thinks so, in a new agreement with China.

Visual Data

EU farming policy: The damage done by 20 years of inertia

The EU Commission will ask the public later this week how the common agricultural policy should be overhauled. Data from the past two decades reveals a catalogue of missed chances and failed reforms.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Brussels on March 6th
  2. EURORDISJoin Rare Disease Day and Help Advocate for More Research on Rare Diseases
  3. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStudents Who Are Considered Fit Get Better Grades in School
  4. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  5. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  6. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  7. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  8. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  9. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  10. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  11. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market