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CJEU: Economically inactive EU citizens who go to another EU State may be excluded from certain social benefits

In Germany, foreign nationals who enter national territory in order to obtain social assistance or whose right of residence arises solely out of the search for employment are excluded from benefits by way of basic provision (‘Grundsicherung’), which are intended in particular to cover the recipients’ subsistence costs.

Two Romanian nationals, Ms Dano and her son Florin, have brought proceedings before the Social Court, Leipzig (Germany), against Jobcenter Leipzig, which refused to grant them benefits by way of basic provision. 1 Ms Dano did not enter Germany in order to seek work there and, although she is requesting benefits by way of basic provision which are only for jobseekers, it is apparent from the case-file that she is not seeking employment. She has not been trained in a profession and, to date, has not worked in Germany or Romania. She and her son have been residing since at least November 2010 in Germany, where they live in the home of Ms Dano’s sister, who provides for them. Ms Dano receives, for her son, child benefit amounting to €184 per month and an advance on maintenance payments of €133 per month. Those benefits are not at issue in the present case.

In response to the questions asked by the Social Court, Leipzig, the Court of Justice has held in today’s judgment that, for the purpose of having access to certain social benefits (such as German benefits by way of basic provision), nationals of other Member States can claim equal treatment with nationals of the host Member State only if their residence complies with the conditions of the Directive on free movement of EU citizens.

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