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Article 45 - Freedom of movement and of residence
Key facts of the case:
Request for a preliminary ruling from the Raad van State.
Reference for a preliminary ruling – Citizenship of the Union – Directive 2004/38/EC – Right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States – Article 15 – End of a Union citizen’s temporary residence in the territory of the host Member State – Expulsion decision – Physical departure of that Union citizen from that territory – Temporal effects of that expulsion decision – Article 6 – Possibility for that Union citizen to enjoy a new right of residence on his or her return to that territory.
Outcome of the case:
On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules:
Article 15(1) 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/EEG, 75/35/EEC, 90/364/EEC, 90/365/EEC and 93/96/EEC must be interpreted as meaning that a decision to expel a Union citizen from the territory of the host Member State, adopted on the basis of that provision, on the ground that that Union citizen no longer enjoys a temporary right of residence in that territory under that directive, cannot be deemed to have been complied with in full merely because that Union citizen has physically left that territory within the period prescribed by that decision for his or her voluntary departure. In order to enjoy a new right of residence under Article 6(1) of that directive in the same territory, a Union citizen who has been the subject of such an expulsion decision must not only have physically left the territory of the host Member State, but must also have genuinely and effectively terminated his or her residence there, with the result that, upon his or her return to that territory, his or her residence cannot be regarded as constituting in fact a continuation of his or her previous residence in that territory. It is for the referring court to verify whether that is the case, having regard to all the specific circumstances characterising the particular situation of the Union citizen concerned. If it follows from such a verification that the Union citizen has not genuinely and effectively terminated his or her temporary residence in the territory of the host Member State, that Member State is not obliged to adopt a new expulsion decision on the basis of the same facts which gave rise to the expulsion decision already taken against that Union citizen, but may rely on that latter decision in order to oblige him or her to leave its territory.
86) In particular, as the Court has held on numerous occasions and as is apparent from recitals 1 and 2 of Directive 2004/38, citizenship of the Union confers on each Union citizen a primary and individual right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States, subject to the limitations and restrictions laid down by the Treaties and to the measures adopted for their implementation, freedom of movement for persons being, moreover, one of the fundamental freedoms of the internal market enshrined in Article 45 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (see, to that effect, judgment of 5 May 2011, McCarthy, C‑434/09, EU:C:2011:277, paragraph 27 and the case-law cited).