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14 april 2015

EU: A hypersensitive issue: The rights to reside of an unemployable person by Emanuela Matei

In the aftermath of Dano, the value of the Union citizenship should be categorically re-examined. The decision of the CJEU in case C-333/13 from 11-11-2014 concludes that the safeguards in article 24 of the Directive 2004/38 and in article 4 of the Regulation no. 883/2004 on the equal treatment of the Union citizens must be interpreted as not precluding legislation of a Member State under which nationals of other Member States are excluded from entitlement to certain ‘special non-contributory cash benefits’ within the meaning of Article 70(2) of Regulation No 883/2004, although those benefits are granted to nationals of the host Member State who are in the same situation, in so far as those nationals of other Member States do not have a right of residence under Directive 2004/38 in the host Member State.
Article 7 of the Directive 2004/38 read e contrario dictates that: unemployed people who have insufficient resources for themselves and their family members during their period of residence and lack comprehensive sickness insurance cover in the host Member State do not have the right of residence on the territory of that Member State for a period of longer than three months.

How can we make sense of the above mentioned statements?

First it must be understood that there is a right of free movement and a right to reside freely as stipulated in article 20 TFEU. In addition to these two interrelated rights, nationals of the member states enjoy the economic rights derived from articles 45, 49, 56 and 63 TFEU and the freedom of any Union citizen to seek employment in a different member state stipulated in article 15(2) Charter/chapter 6 of the Regulation no. 883/2004.
Hence it is clearly understood that an employable person with sufficient economic means doesn’t have to rely on article 20 TFEU in order to move freely to another member state and reside there as long as s/he wants. So, a legitimate question arises: what is the value of the rights enshrined in article 20 TFEU and in addition to that, what is the value of the principle of equal treatment in this context?
In order to answer this question, the derivable rights of the persons that do not fall within the scope of protection offered by articles 45, 49, 56 and 63 TFEU must be examined.

A person, who neither is employed or self-employed nor a capital or business owner, that’s to say an underprivileged person and yet a citizen of the Union, what kind of protection as regards residence rights can this person derive from the article 20 TFEU?

The answer given by Dano is that such a person does not have under Directive 2004/38 the right of residence for a period of longer than three months in the host Member State.
These two clarifications are crucial in order to maintain the fundamental status of the Union citizenship. The most important aspect is the explanation that the unprivileged person continues to have a right to reside and freely move outside the territory of the host Member State and this right includes the right to return to the territory of the host Member State after a short interruption. In other words the restrictions in Directive 2004/38 imply a disruption, a lack of continuity of the right to reside in a certain host Member State after three months of stay.
So the next legitimate question is:

What if, despite the fact that the Directive 2004/38 does not provide for any protection an unprivileged citizen of the Union resides in a member state during ten-fifteen years by cumulating a large number of three months legal residence periods?

In this case the person will be more connected with the host member state than to the home state at the level of social everyday experience. Since the right to social benefits is connected with some sort of physical presence on the territory, such a person would have lost the possibility to claim most benefits from the “home” country, whilst s/he would still lack protection from the “host” country, which de facto has become the “home-host” country.
In my view there must be a reality based examination of such issues as “stay” versus “residence” and “host state” versus “home state”, otherwise the value of the Union citizenship would be emptied of content. The directive 2004/38 offers the possibility to deny the factual reality by restarting the clock after three months with the only justification of avoiding an unreasonable burden for the state/local budget, which in fact is an undeniable economic justification that collides with the inner rationality of building an internal market free of frontiers.

 Continue for the rest of the article here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141116180518-180460783-a-hypersensitive-issue-the-rights-to-reside-of-an-unemployable-person










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