Free Movement : Education Grant: Court Rejects German Condition

Article excerpt

Germany cannot make the receipt of a grant for an entire course of studies in another member state subject to the sole condition of uninterrupted residence of three years in its territory, ruled the EU Court of Justice, on 18 July (joined Cases C-523/11 and C-585/11). It held that such a condition is at odds with Union law since it is likely to exclude students sufficiently connected to German society through other social and economic ties.

In Germany, students can obtain a grant for studies in another member state for a period of one year. To be eligible for such a grant for more than one year, they have to show that they have permanently resided in Germany for at least three years before commencing their studies.

Two German courts turned to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling. The EU court notes that if a member state provides for a system of education or training grants that enables students to receive such grants in another member state, it has to ensure that the detailed rules for the award of the grants do not create an unjustified restriction of the right to move and reside within the territory of the member states.

The German government argued that this residence condition is justified because it guarantees that an education grant for a full course of studies abroad is paid only to students able to demonstrate a "sufficient degree of integration" into German society. …