Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law


Free Movement of ‘Workers’?

The Status of Economically Inactive Citizens in EU Law

Keywords EU citizenship, economically inactive citizens, equal treatment, social benefits, Directive 2004/38
Authors Laura Gyeney
Author's information

Laura Gyeney
Laura Gyeney: associate professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; director, Institute for Minority Rights, Budapest.
  • Abstract

      Early in its case law on the free movement of EU citizens, the CJEU took a very expansive stance in its rulings on social benefits for inactive EU citizens, thereby promoting social inclusion and individual social rights, while furnishing the institution of EU citizenship with real substance. However, the CJEU’s jurisprudence took a restrictive turn following the Eastern enlargement and, even more so, after the 2008 recession, in response to national expectations. The strict approach adopted by the CJEU in Dano, which insists on a literal interpretation of the social provisions of Directive 2004/38/EC, seems increasingly difficult to maintain and, in some cases, leads to unfair results. In addition to providing an overview of the relevant case law, this article analyses two specific cases (Jobcenter Krefeld and CG) to examine whether and in what direction the CJEU may depart from its earlier restrictive practice in its more recent case law.

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