Key facts of the case:
- The main proceedings furnish an opportunity for the Court to develop its case-law on the circumstances in which an additional benefit reserved to nationals of a Member State are to be extended to all EU nationals resident in that Member State. The benefit in issue here (‘the additional benefit’) is awarded for winning medals at the Olympics and other European and international sporting events.
- The dispute is unusual because it arises not from the exercise of rights to free movement, but from the fact that the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic became two separate States prior to the accession of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic to the European Union on 1 May 2004. In consequence, a Czech national resident in Slovakia who is seeking payment of the additional benefit from the Slovakian social security authorities cannot be regarded as a migrant worker, given that he has lived for over 50 years within the borders of what is now the sovereign State of Slovakia.
- The Najvyšší súd Slovenskej republiky (Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic) asks whether such a person can, nevertheless, rely on Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the coordination of social security systems, and the entitlement to social security benefits and social advantages under Article 34 of the Charter to secure the additional benefit?
51 I therefore propose the following answer to the question referred by the Najvyšší súd Slovenskej republiky (Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic):
In the circumstances of the main proceedings, it is not possible to interpret Article 1(w), Article 4 and Article 5 of Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the coordination of social security systems, considered in conjunction with the right to social security benefits and social advantages, as enshrined in Article 34(1) and (2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, as precluding the application of a provision of national legislation pursuant to which the Slovak social security body is to take into consideration an applicant’s citizenship as a fundamental condition for the purposes of determining the right of national sports representatives to a benefit in addition to the old-age pension, even if another statutory requirement, namely the fact of having represented the legal predecessors of the State, including the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, is also part of that provision of national legislation.