2011 05 International Law

Wednesday 1 June 2011

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In the European Court of Justice the most interesting case to be decided by the Court recently is Case C-34/09 Zambrano v Office national de l’emploi (8 March 2011), a case concerning the refusal to grant unemployment benefits under Belgian legislation. In issue was the effect on EU citizenship under Article 20 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) where a national of a member state remained within his/her own state. The case concerned a Belgian national child whose parents solely held the nationality of a non-member state. Unemployment benefit was sought by a parent who had worked without permission in Belgium. In the operative part of its judgment the Court held: Article 20 TFEU is to be interpreted as meaning that it precludes a Member State from refusing a third country national upon whom his minor children, who are European Union citizens, are dependent, a right of residence in the Member State of residence and nationality of those children, and from refusing to grant a work permit to that third country national, in so far as such decisions deprive those children of the genuine enjoyment of the substance of the rights attaching to the status of European Union citizen. The case has the potential to be very significant in social security law in the UK, even in cases where the Home Secretary has yet to recognise a right to reside (click here). See Welfare Benefit section for a detailed note of this case.

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