CJEU - C 542/13 / Judgment Mohamed M’Bodj v État belge

Key facts of the case:
 
(Reference for a preliminary ruling — Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union — Article 19(2) — Directive 2004/83/EC –– Minimum standards for determining who qualifies for refugee status or subsidiary protection status — Person eligible for subsidiary protection — Article 15(b) — Torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of an applicant in the country of origin — Article 3 — More favourable standards — Applicant suffering from a serious illness — No appropriate treatment available in the country of origin — Article 28 — Social protection — Article 29 — Health care)
 
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
 
49. Since these proceedings are, for the parties to the main proceedings, a step in the action pending before the national court, the decision on costs is a matter for that court. Costs incurred in submitting observations to the Court, other than the costs of those parties, are not recoverable. 
 
On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules:
 
Articles 28 and 29 of Council Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection and the content of the protection granted, read in conjunction with Articles 2(e), 3, 15, and 18 of that directive, are to be interpreted as not requiring a Member State to grant the social welfare and health care benefits provided for in those measures to a third country national who has been granted leave to reside in the territory of that Member State under national legislation such as that at issue in the main proceedings, which allows a foreign national who suffers from an illness occasioning a real risk to his life or physical integrity or a real risk of inhuman or degrading treatment to reside in that Member State, where there is no appropriate treatment in that foreign national’s country of origin or in the third country in which he resided previously, unless such a foreign national is intentionally deprived of health care in that country. 
Paragraphs referring to EU Charter: 

 

38. The requirement to interpret Article 15(b) of Directive 2004/83 in a manner consistent with Article 19(2) of the Charter (see, to that effect, judgment in Abed El Karem El Kott and Others, C‑364/11, EU:C:2012:826, paragraph 43 and the case-law cited), to the effect that no person may be returned to a State in which there is a serious risk that that person will be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, and having due regard for Article 3 of the ECHR, to which Article 15(b), in essence, corresponds (judgment in Elgafaji, EU:C:2009:94, paragraph 28), is not such as to call that interpretation into question.

39. It should be noted in that regard that, according to the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights that, while non-nationals subject to a decision authorising their removal cannot, in principle, claim any entitlement to remain in the territory of a State in order to continue to benefit from medical, social or other forms of assistance and services provided by that State, a decision to remove a foreign national suffering from a serious physical or mental illness to a country where the facilities for the treatment of the illness are inferior to those available in that State may raise an issue under Article 3 ECHR in very exceptional cases, where the humanitarian grounds against removal are compelling (see, inter alia, European Court of Human Rights, judgment in N. v. the United Kingdom [GC], no. 26565/05, § 42, ECHR 2008).

40. None the less, the fact that a third country national suffering from a serious illness may not, under Article 3 ECHR as interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights, in highly exceptional cases, be removed to a country in which appropriate treatment is not available does not mean that that person should be granted leave to reside in a Member State by way of subsidiary protection under Directive 2004/83.