Key facts of the case:
A French national worked for more than five years in UK before returning, for some months, to her State of origin. After her coming back to the UK she applied for “income support on the basis that she was pregnant” (see judgement, para 23). The entitlement to this support under national law requiring a right to permanent residence, in particular according to Directive 2004/38/EC, the question arose (and was referred to CJ subsequently) whether the applicant had actually obtained such a right.
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
The Court (Third Chamber) hereby rules:
Article 16(1) and (4) of Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States amending Regulation (EEC) No 1612/68 and repealing Directives 64/221/EEC, 68/360/EEC, 72/194/EEC, 73/148/EEC, 75/34/EEC, 75/35/EEC, 90/364/EEC, 90/365/EEC and 93/96/EEC must be interpreted as meaning that:
- continuous periods of five years’ residence completed before the date of transposition of Directive 2004/38, namely 30 April 2006, in accordance with earlier European Union law instruments, must be taken into account for the purposes of the acquisition of the right of permanent residence pursuant to Article 16(1) thereof, and
- absences from the host Member State of less than two consecutive years, which occurred before 30 April 2006 but following a continuous period of five years’ legal residence completed before that date do not affect the acquisition of the right of permanent residence pursuant to Article 16(1) thereof.