In The Press

EU court judgment shows that Britain can deny benefits to EU jobseekers

26 March 2015

“Today's ruling is an important step in preventing free movement being used only to claim benefits.” – Lucy Thomas, Campaign Director of Business for New Europe

Today’s ruling by the European Court of Justice shows that free movement of people does not bestow an automatic right to claim benefits, according to Business for New Europe. The EU’s highest court ruled today that EU governments can deny EU migrants unemployment benefits even if they were previously employed in that country.
Lucy Thomas, Campaign Director of Business for New Europe, said:
“Today’s ruling is an important step in preventing free movement being used only to claim benefits. As BNE has long argued, the right to move around Europe to work, study or marry is an important part of EU membership, but that should not be misused. The ruling shows that most of the perceived problems associated with migration can be dealt with by our government, and do not need dramatic renegotiation of EU powers. 
“As one of the key parts of the UK reform agenda, this decision shows that Britain can win its push to make the EU work fairly for all. ”

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Notes to Editors
The ECJ's ruling makes it clear that:

1)      A national of one Member State who enters the territory of another Member State
and stays there (for less than three months or for more than three months) without the aim of seeking employment there may… legitimately be excluded from social assistance benefits, in order to maintain the financial equilibrium of the national social security system.
2)      Such exclusion is also legitimate, for the same reasons, in respect of a national of one Member State who moves to the territory of another Member State in order to seek employment there.
3)      If someone has stayed and worked in a second MS for more than three months, they may not be refused the benefits in question.

Read Business for New Europe’s report, Migration Matters: A practical approach, here:
See the ECJ press release here:
See David Cameron’s November 2014 immigration speech here:

Business for New Europe is an independent coalition of business leaders advocating a positive case for reform in Europe. Our Advisory Council includes Chairmen and CEOs of FTSE 100 companies and our Executive consists of experts in foreign and economic policy, including former heads of the UK diplomatic service and senior journalists.

We provide a platform for debate on European issues to business leaders and policy makers. We publish research, hold seminars and conferences and seek to ensure that a reasoned, pro-European voice is heard in the UK.

We are a not-for-profit organisation funded by donations from the private sector with offices in London and Brussels.

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