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CJEU Case C-133/15 / Judgment

H.C. Chavez-Vilchez and Others v Raad van bestuur van de Sociale verzekeringsbank and Others

Deciding Body type:
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding Body:
Court (Grand Chamber)
Type:
Decision
Decision date:
10/05/2017

Key facts of the case:

Reference for a preliminary ruling — Union citizenship — Article 20 TFEU — Access to social assistance and child benefit conditional on right of residence in a Member State — Third-country national responsible for the primary day-to-day care of her minor child, a national of that Member State — Obligation on the third-country national to establish that the other parent, a national of that Member State, is not capable of caring for the child — Refusal of residence possibly obliging the child to leave the territory of the Member State, or the territory of the European Union.

Outcome of the case:

On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules:

  • Article 20 TFEU must be interpreted as meaning that for the purposes of assessing whether a child who is a citizen of the European Union would be compelled to leave the territory of the European Union as a whole and thereby deprived of the genuine enjoyment of the substance of the rights conferred on him by that article if the child’s third-country national parent were refused a right of residence in the Member State concerned, the fact that the other parent, who is a Union citizen, is actually able and willing to assume sole responsibility for the primary day-to-day care of the child is a relevant factor, but it is not in itself a sufficient ground for a conclusion that there is not, between the third-country national parent and the child, such a relationship of dependency that the child would indeed be so compelled were there to be such a refusal of a right of residence. Such an assessment must take into account, in the best interests of the child concerned, all the specific circumstances, including the age of the child, the child’s physical and emotional development, the extent of his emotional ties both to the Union citizen parent and to the third-country national parent, and the risks which separation from the latter might entail for the child’s equilibrium.
  • Article 20 TFEU must be interpreted as not precluding a Member State from providing that the right of residence in its territory of a third-country national, who is a parent of a minor child that is a national of that Member State and who is responsible for the primary day-to-day care of that child, is subject to the requirement that the third-country national must provide evidence to prove that a refusal of a right of residence to the third-country national parent would deprive the child of the genuine enjoyment of the substance of the rights pertaining to the child’s status as a Union citizen, by obliging the child to leave the territory of the European Union, as a whole. It is however for the competent authorities of the Member State concerned to undertake, on the basis of the evidence provided by the third-country national, the necessary enquiries in order to be able to assess, in the light of all the specific circumstances, whether a refusal would have such consequences.