While international human rights law enshrines family life as a cornerstone of society, when it intersects with migration, issues and problems arise in countries where migration is high on the political agenda. This is true in a number of EU states. Both EU law and European human rights commitments, however, require states to provide for family reunification subject to a margin of discretion to the state. While family reunification for refugees and beneficiaries of international protection has been at the top of some political agendas in Europe, this article looks at family reunification (generally known as family reunion) for another group—nationals of the Member States. In particular it poses two questions: do EU Member States accept their own nationals to come back to their home state with third country national family members they have acquired while abroad? Secondly, to what extent do EU Member States discriminate against their own nationals in comparison with the generous EU rules of family reunion for nationals of other Member States who have exercised a free movement right in their country. This article is based on reports by experts from all EU Member States in light of the 2014 judgment in O & B (C-456/12) by the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Sandra Mantu and Paul Minderhoud
This article examines the links between residence and social rights in the context of EU citizens’ mobility. It builds on national replies to a questionnaire concerning the implementation and application of Directive 2004/38 at the national level. Our focus is on how the EU28 are implementing the provisions on social assistance for economically inactive EU citizens, including five relevant European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgments in this area (Brey, Dano, Alimanovic, Garcia-Nieto and Commission v UK) and the provisions on permanent residence status. Based on the national replies we argue that asking for social benefits becomes a first step towards being considered by the administration as an unreasonable burden, which leads to the termination of EU residence rights. Our analysis shows that asserting and maintaining residence rights under Articles 7 and 16 of Directive 2004/38 is becoming problematic for certain categories of EU citizens and linked with the more restrictive position taken by some Member States in relation to accessing their national social assistance systems.