Key facts of the case:
- These references for a preliminary ruling concern the interpretation of Article 20 TFEU.
- The references have been made in proceedings, first, between Mr O and Ms S, who are third country nationals, and the Maahanmuuttovirasto (Immigration Office) (Case C‑356/11) and, secondly, between the Maahanmuuttovirasto and Ms L, also a third country national (Case C‑357/11), concerning the rejection of their applications for residence permits on the basis of family reunification.
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
Article 20 TFEU must be interpreted as not precluding a Member State from refusing to grant a third country national a residence permit on the basis of family reunification where that national seeks to reside with his spouse, who is also a third country national and resides lawfully in that Member State and is the mother of a child from a previous marriage who is a Union citizen, and with the child of their own marriage, who is also a third country national, provided that such a refusal does not entail, for the Union citizen concerned, the denial of the genuine enjoyment of the substance of the rights conferred by the status of citizen of the Union, that being for the referring court to ascertain.
Applications for residence permits on the basis of family reunification such as those at issue in the main proceedings are covered by Council Directive 2003/86/EC of 22 September 2003 on the right to family reunification. Article 7(1)(c) of that directive must be interpreted as meaning that, while Member States have the faculty of requiring proof that the sponsor has stable and regular resources which are sufficient to maintain himself and the members of his family, that faculty must be exercised in the light of Articles 7 and 24(2) and (3) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which require the Member States to examine applications for family reunification in the interests of the children concerned and also with a view to promoting family life, and avoiding any undermining of the objective and the effectiveness of that directive. It is for the referring court to ascertain whether the decisions refusing residence permits at issue in the main proceedings were taken in compliance with those requirements.