• Germany's news in English
Germany can withhold welfare from foreigners: EU court
Photo: DPA

Germany can withhold welfare from foreigners: EU court

The Local · 25 Feb 2016, 15:03

Published: 25 Feb 2016 15:03 GMT+01:00

This exclusion can be applied universally to all EU citizens, meaning the German welfare centre will not need to consider each application for benefits individually, the EU’s highest court ruled.

The point of contention was a rule in the German social law which excludes all non-German EU citizens from picking up unemployment benefits or child support benefits during the first three months in Germany.

Judges considered the case of a Spanish family which moved to Germany in two stages. The father and his son moved to Germany in June 2012, a couple of months after the mother and daughter.

While the mother performed a job which legally obliged her to pay into social security, the father and son were both denied welfare payments because they hadn’t been in the country for three months.

The verdict does not concern refugees and is specifically aimed at preventing EU citizens from engaging in so-called “welfare tourism.”

Latest setback for foreign unemployed

The ruling followed a string of verdicts which have negatively affected the rights of unemployed EU citizens living abroad.

In December 2015, the German social court ruled that EU citizens would have to wait six months before they were entitled to receive jobless benefits.

And Labour Minister Andrea Nahles of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) has said that she wants to toughen the law even further, Die Welt reports.

Story continues below…

“It isn’t right that someone only needs to move inside the EU and then have access to another country’s welfare system despite having a functioning one in their own country,” she said.

In September 2015, meanwhile, the ECJ previously struck a blow against the rights of workers abroad when it ruled that foreigners living in Germany did not have an immediate right to welfare payments, even if they had already had a job there.

The ruling ruling meant that EU citizens living in Germany are only able to collect Hartz IV – an unemployment benefit of €399 a month – for a period of six months. Only after five years' residency in Germany will they be entitled to the same benefits as German citizens.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Europe needs deals to send migrants home: Merkel
Angela Merkal poses with Bulgaria's Prime minister Boyko Borissov (L) and Austrian chancellor Christian Kern (R) in Vienna. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP

Europe needs to secure more deals to send rejected migrants home, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told counterparts in Vienna.

Germany sees 'turning point' in birth rate decline
Children at a a kindergarten in Swabia. Photo: Nikolaus Lenau/Flickr

Is Germany's three-decade decline in birth rate now over?

Trump protesters rebuild and tear down 'Berlin Wall'
The 'Stop Trump' protest at the Brandenburg Gate. Photo: DPA.

US expats gathered at the Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate on Friday "rebuild" the Berlin Wall and protest US presidential candidate Donald Trump's own proposed wall-building.

Accusation of sexism within Merkel's party creates uproar
Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Chancellor Angela Merkel, two leading women in the CDU party. Photo: DPA.

A young politician from the ranks of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has caused a storm by suggesting that the party is institutionally sexist.

EasyJet 'in talks to buy German airline' to duck Brexit
Photo: DPA

EasyJet is in talks to acquire TUIfly, a board member of the German carrier said Friday, as the British no-frills airline looks for ways to keep flying freely within the EU after Britain quits the bloc.

Symbols of migrant plight to go on show in Bonn museum
Photo: DPA

A people smugglers' car, a dinghy and a life jacket are among items related to Europe's migration crisis due to go on display at a German museum.

Green party demand 'quick and easy' citizenship for Brits
Photo: DPA

The Green party has called for Brits living in Germany to be offered a painless path to obtaining dual citizenship as to "reassure them over the future".

Berlin the new London? 10m2 flat to rent for €750 a month
Photo: Immonet.de.

This shoebox apartment in the gentrified Bergmann-Kiez neighbourhood may be a sign that the tides are turning for Berlin’s comparatively cheap housing market.

Far-right AfD reach record high in national poll
AfD leader Frauke Petry. Photo: DPA.

The Alternative for Germany (AfD) was backed by 16 percent of respondents in a new poll, which was a new high for the upstart populist party.

Bautzen youth beat up pensioner in racist attack
Photo: DPA

In the Saxon town of Bautzen, which has become a byword for racism and anti-migrant sentiment, two youths have attacked a 72-year-old man, shouting 'foreigners out'.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd